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The Tragedy of Hamlet Essay

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The Tragedy of Hamlet

In life the border between sanity and madness is thin and undefined. At best it is a gray area, fuzzy and unclear. Yet it is this area that Shakespeare so deftly depicts in
The Tragedy of Hamlet. The gray environment he weaves eventually renders it almost impossible to tell the sane from the insane, the ability to reason ultimately becomes the audience's sole determiner of a character's mental condition. Thus, Shakespeare is able to successfully tie his thoughts on reason and emotion to a character's sanity. In the play
Hamlet, by Shakespeare, the main character fits the description for being a tragic hero. A tragic hero is a character who has experienced life more fully, whether by heroic action
or
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Hamlet is rational enough to realize that the
"undiscovered country from whose born/ No traveler returns" (3.1.79-80) may hold far worse realities for him than his present earthly uncertainties. The prince's composure and cool reason prevent him from taking his own life, or as he puts it, "the native hue of resolution/ Is sicklied o'er with the pale cast of thought" (3.1.84-85). This view, that Shakespeare believed that suicide was only a legitimate option to the insane, is supported by evidence that he did not intend Hamlet to be insane. The most compelling evidence is found in the way Hamlet switches between being rational and acting mad, according to who he was talking to. For example in scene two Hamlet acts quite mad for Polonius. The old advisor even remarks upon Hamlet possessing "a happiness that often madness hits on, which reason and/ sanity could not so prosperously be delivered of" (2.2.211-213). Then, only moments later, Hamlet switches gears to deliver his "What a piece of work is man!" (2.2.297-314) speech, to Rosencrantz and
Guildenstern. Likewise, his "To be or not to be..." (3.1.56-90) soliloquy, a rational and coherent speech on death, is directly followed by the famous "Nunnery Scene" (3.1.153).
Also, the
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