Questioning the Sanity of Hamlet in Shakespeare's Hamlet, Prince of Denmark

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In William Shakespeare’s tragedy, Hamlet, Prince of Denmark, we, as readers, increasingly question the sanity of the protagonist, Hamlet, as the play continues. His seemingly psychotic banter with the other characters of the play begins to convince us that Hamlet is, indeed, insane. Hamlet, however, states, “How strange or odd soe’er I bear myself, as I perchance hereafter shall think meet to put an antic disposition on” (1.5.171). He specifically tells Horatio and Marcellus that he will be acting mad, as a front. Hamlet has an exceptional grasp on mental philosophy and the uses and effects of logic, more so than the other characters of the play. Because of this, Hamlet appears insane to others, but in fact remains true to his…show more content…
In William Shakespeare’s tragedy, Hamlet, Prince of Denmark, we, as readers, increasingly question the sanity of the protagonist, Hamlet, as the play continues. His seemingly psychotic banter with the other characters of the play begins to convince us that Hamlet is, indeed, insane. Hamlet, however, states, “How strange or odd soe’er I bear myself, as I perchance hereafter shall think meet to put an antic disposition on” (1.5.171). He specifically tells Horatio and Marcellus that he will be acting mad, as a front. Hamlet has an exceptional grasp on mental philosophy and the uses and effects of logic, more so than the other characters of the play. Because of this, Hamlet appears insane to others, but in fact remains true to his original statement of simply using an “antic disposition.” Hamlet is grounded in logic throughout the entire play. His logic is more blatant than the average man’s, therefore confusing some of the other characters. Rather than stating something profound in response to when Polonius asks what Hamlet is reading, he says only the most obvious and elementary of answers possible, “words, words, words” (2.2.192). This trend between Polonius and Hamlet continues. “What is the matter my lord?” asks Polonius. Hamlet answers, “Between who?” (2.2.193-194). Tenney Davis responds to this by saying that Hamlet feigned his insanity convincingly by taking things too literally, which manifested in a desire to “split hairs” (Davis 630). Hamlet was always

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