The Madness Of Hamlet And Ophelia

1296 Words6 Pages
Ryan Deng Emery AP English Literature Period 6 11 December 2015 The Madness of Hamlet and Ophelia Psychotic behavior is prevalent in Shakespeare’s Hamlet as two of his characters, Hamlet and Ophelia, exhibit madness during the play. The play commences after Claudius killed King Hamlet, leaving him in purgatory. Hamlet, after discovering this fact, feigns madness, which he calls an “antic disposition” (1.5.192) in his plot for revenge to ultimately free his father. Ophelia, on the other hand, succumbs to madness after the death of her father Polonius and Hamlet’s rejection of her love. Both experience deaths within their families, which lead to a loss of identity because their identities are greatly shaped by their familial…show more content…
Shakespeare’s use of a hyperbole illustrates the profound influence that King Hamlet had on his son’s life, as Hamlet expresses immense respect for his father shown through his initial unconditional obedience to the orders given by the Ghost, who is King Hamlet. Without King Hamlet’s presence, Hamlet’s mind is filled with only trivial matters, devoid of substance, revealing his initial loss of identity after his father’s death. Soon after, Claudius marries Gertrude and takes the throne of Denmark. He demands Hamlet to “think of [him]/ As of a father” (1.2.110,111), and Hamlet becomes depressed, claiming “my father’s brother, [is] but no more like his father,/ than I to Hercules” (1.2.153). Hamlet’s allusion and comparison of himself, as a mortal, to the half-god Hercules demonstrates the immense contrast in character between the noble King Hamlet and the evil usurper Claudius. Hamlet grieves that he must honor the malevolent Claudius as his father, giving him the same unqualified respect he gave to King Hamlet due to the necessity of obeying Claudius, who wields the power of King. Hamlet therefore decides to put on an antic disposition to rid himself of his newfound identity associated with the wicked Claudius, as others, such as Polonius later in the play, will attribute Hamlet’s actions to be caused by a lack of control which lowers their suspicion of Hamlet and lessens the difficulty of killing Claudius. Hamlet, motivated by
Open Document