The Theme Of Madness And Insanity In William Shakespeare's Hamlet

2162 Words9 Pages
l, Introduction
This papers goal will be to discuss whether Hamlet is feigning his insanity or if he uses it as a tool to reach his ends. The theme of madness is a common tool used in William Shakespeare's Hamlet. Most of it is centred about the protagonist young Hamlet himself. Beginning with the appearance of the ghost of Hamlet's father, from early on in the play, Hamlet and others are forced to question their grasp on reality, as well as their own possibility for believing in the existence of the Supernatural. And yet, Hamlet is not alone in his apparent struggle with insanity. Hamlet’s love-interest Ophelia too, suffers from a particular kind of madness after her father is murdered and it gets reinforced by Hamlet’s rejection and betrayal.
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(Act II, Scene 2, 206-8) Hamlet as a character appears to be paradoxical and surprising and is therefore confusing since he subverts the expectations of others and never reacts with a predictable response. Neither accordingly to his own emotions or to the expectations of other characters. Additionally it is worth noting that it is not merely Hamlet’s curious way of Speaking that alienates him from others. It is his almost obsessive pessimism that starts to affect all of his relationships and seems to become a vital part of his character. All in all Hamlet is a man full of faults and yet even these seemingly negative qualities such as indecisiveness, hate, brutality and obsession enhance Hamlet’s position as a tragic hero. The lesson that Shakespeare conveys through Hamlet is that human beings cannot be sorted into only good or bad and that their complexity should not be negated, but rather…show more content…
He never explicitly explains his own motives not even in his soliloquies. We have to keep in mind that the situation of the play is already developed before he comes on the stage and the full solution is reached only after his death. Hamlet's tendency for hesitation or passivity is reason for a lot of criticism, justified or not However, it comes into full maturity when it comes to the task given by the ghost of old Hamlet. The prince is constantly putting of the instruction for that he is not ready and not done thinking about it. For him it naturally poses as a moral struggle; it is not his private revenge that he has to carry out but he is merely the sword of a greater invisible power. It appears that his tragic erroris his inability to act and his tendency towards reflection that ultimately leads to his death. As it stands Hamlet is not someone who is lacking insight but rather someone who is caught between being and doing. “These inner conflict modern psychologists know as neurosis, and it is only by study of neurosis that one can learn the fundamental motives and instincts that move men.” (Philips 2009). Being the victim of a neurosis would certainly attest the theory of insanity, however it lacks
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