Essay about Is Hamlet Mad or Mad in Craft?

1123 WordsMar 13, 20135 Pages
Is Hamlet Mad or Mad in Craft? Madness is defined as the state of being mentally ill or having extremely foolish behavior. It is a condition in which is difficult to identify whether it is true or not. In William Shakespeare's masterpiece, Hamlet, there is confusion as to whether or not his madness is real. The ghost of his father asks Hamlet to avenge his death. While he tries to accomplish this, he puts on an antic disposition. The antic disposition reoccurs throughout the play, but is merely an act. Hamlet is mad in craft because he admits that he is not mad several times, he behaves irrational only in front of certain individuals, and he has many feigned actions. From the very start, the ghost of Hamlet’s father tells him that…show more content…
He acts irrational only when he is around certain individuals. He acts irrational around Polonius, Claudius, Gertrude Rosencrantz, Guildenstern and Ophelia but remains calm and rational around Horatio, Marcellus, and the players. A big part of the play is when Hamlet lashes out at Ophelia and convinces her he has actually gone mad. “With a look so piteous in purport as if he had been loosed out of hell to speak of horrors...Then he let out a sigh so piteous and profound as it did seem to shatter all his bulk and end his being” (2.1.84-97). This single action brings tremendous tension and makes Polonius immediately believe that Hamlet has gone mad because of his love for his daughter. On the other hand, Hamlet can be rational just as much as a sane person. "Give him heedful note, for I mine eyes will rivet his face, and, after, we will both our judgments join in censure of his seeming” (3.2.83-86). Hamlet tells Horatio to watch Claudius during the play to see if he acts guilty. The fact that he thought this out in such an organized and clear way makes it hard to believe that he is mad because a madman would never be able to think like that. Hamlet also knows how to act properly around the players. An example of this is when he asks, "You could, for a need, study a speech of some dozen or sixteen lines, which I would set down and insert in 't, could you not?” (2.2.540-542). This question is understandable and
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