Sanity, Insanity, Madness? - William Shakespeare's Hamlet is Sane

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Sanity, Insanity, Madness? - William Shakespeare's Hamlet is Sane

In William Shakespeare's Hamlet, the lead character, Prince Hamlet of Denmark, has been interpreted in numerous ways. Throughout the play Hamlet takes on different personas, making it hard define him as only one character type. Often when critics analyze the character of Hamlet, they question his sanity because of his ambiguity soon after he sees his father's ghost. What does it mean to be insane? The definition of the word "insane" says that the person must "exhibit serious and debilitating mental disorders." does Hamlet truly go insane, is his father's ghost just a figment of his tormented imagination, or is Hamlet a smart actor who meticulously planned to avenge his
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The ghost of Hamlet's father explains to Hamlet that his brother, Claudius, murdered him and that if Hamlet does not resolve the crimes of his death he will be stuck in purgatory. The three other men do not hear what is said between Hamlet and the ghost, but they do witness the conversation. Therefore, Hamlet is not insane for claiming to have seen the ghost of his father. Upon seeing the ghost and hearing these truths, Hamlet begins to devise a plan to avenge his father's death; he returns to Elsinore acting insane and overwhelmed with grief as a front for the knowledge he has obtained.

Can we say Hamlet is insane because of the way he acts when the group of thespians come to Elsinore to perform? No, Hamlet gives them a list of guidelines on how to be a good player or theatrical performer. He uses these guidelines himself to "play" the other characters around him and to attempt exposing Claudius' crimes. He "plays" the other characters in the sense that he puts on a dramatic performance for them, and they believe him. Hamlet plays the other characters by acting as though he is insane.

The first of the guidelines that Hamlet gives them is that a play should be more "caviary to the general," meaning that the play should not necessarily please everyone, just the general multitude. Hamlet follows this rule by keeping the events of his performance within the walls of Elsinore. The graveyard scene that occurrs after Ophelia's
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