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The Theme Of Insanity In Shakespeare's Hamlet

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“Much madness is divinest Sense-- To a discerning Eye--; “ a thought-provoking quote, applicable to many tragedies, real and make-belief, including the story of Hamlet, the tragic hero destined to kill his murderous Uncle at the expense of himself. Throughout William Shakespeare’s cynically introspective play Hamlet, the author brings to life a world of madness and anxiety full of tortured soliloquies and ideals about mortality and betrayal. A question that is often debated when discussing his story; was Hamlet mad? Throughout the play there is an abundance of evidence supporting both sanity and insanity. However, instead of simply choosing a side, I intend to rather focus on how his seemingly insane behavior could be deemed reasonable. I will discuss the initial evidence of his madness, how these actions may…show more content…
This feeling of instability is later reinforced in his “to be or not to be speech,” where he pondered his own existence and death again. Later, in Act 2, the author emphasizes Hamlet’s descent from reality in his interactions with Rosencrantz and Guildenstern. Among these interactions is the very famous line, “I am but mad north-north-west. When the wind is southerly, I know a hawk from a handsaw.”In this phrase, Shakespeare not only created the illusion of Hamlet’s insanity, but he also employed a silliness and wit that is identifiable to Hamlet’s personality. This silliness is seen again in Act 4. After Hamlet killed Polonius and hid his body, when asked where Polonius resided, Hamlet responded with “At supper.. Not where he is eating, but where he is eaten.” The author gave Hamlet a familiar cheekiness by having him respond with “at supper,” although, this time the cheekiness took a very dark turn. This phrase is almost disturbingly calm and carefree, given that Hamlet had just committed murder, that wit and sense of humor is again evident. However, it is exactly this intelligent dark humor that solidifies his “antic disposition.” As Hamlet calmly
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