Essay, Research Paper: College Paper On Shakespeare


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After Hamlet has discovered the truth about his father, he goes through a very
traumatic period, which is interpreted as madness by readers and characters.
With the death of his father and the hasty, incestuous remarriage of his mother
to his uncle, Hamlet is thrown into a suicidal frame of mind in which "the
uses of this world"seem to him "weary, stale, flat, and
unprofitable." No man in his right state contemplates suicide and would
take his life due to human frailty. Ophelia tells us that before the events of
the play Hamlet was a model courtier, soldier and scholar, "The glass of
fashion and the mould of form,/ The observed of all observers." A modern
boy scout to say the least, but as the play unwinds, his actions and thoughts
catch him and slowly turn him insane. Not to say that he was a crazed madman out
of touch with reality as was Ophelia, but a man driven crazy by thought.
Hamlet's behavior throughout the play, especially towards Ophelia is
inconsistent. He jumps into Ophelia's grave, and fights with Laertes in her
grave. He professes "I loved Ophelia. Forty thousand brothers/Could not,
with all their quantity of love,/ Make up my sum" [Act V, scene I, lines
250-253], during the fight with Laertes in Ophelia's grave, but he tells her
that he never loved her, when she returns his letters and gifts, while she was
still alive. Hamlet subtly hints his awareness of his dissolving sanity as he
tells Laertes that he killed Polonius in a fit of madness [Act V, scene II,
lines 236-250] Once Ophelia meets Hamlet and speaks with him her love abandons
him. Hamlet realizes that his mother and step father are aware of this love and
might use this to end his threat. Hamlet must end their thoughts of using
Ophelia to rid him of his condition. To do this he must destroy all the current
feelings Ophelia has for him and he does so very well, perhaps too well. Either
his love for Ophelia was never as strong as he said, which I doubt, or he has
really gone insane by assuming every situation is going to happen and he
sacrifices her love for revenge. An honest man would not have done so. Hamlet
has violent outbursts towards his mother. His outburst seems to be out of
jealousy, as a victim to the Oedipus complex. He alone sees his father's ghost
in his mother's chambers. Every other time the ghost appeared someone else has
seen it. During this scene he finally shows his madness, because his mother does
not see the ghost. "On him, on him! Look you how pale he glares!/ his form
and cause conjoined, preaching to stones / Would make them Page 2 capable."
[Act III, scene IV, lines 126-128]. Throughout the play, there are also
supporting factors to argue Hamlet's sanity, as these details compromise his
madness, to balance out his mental state. Hamlet tells Horatio that he is going
to feign madness, and that if Horatio notices any strange behavior from Hamlet,
it is because he is putting on an act. [Act I, scene V, lines 166-180]. He knows
that he is not the same as he used to be and fears he is going insane, so by
telling his closes friend that he is just act, he covers his tracks. "It is
not, nor it cannot come to good./But break my heart, for I must hold my
tongue." All he can do in this frustrated state is to lash out with bitter
satire at the evils he sees and then relapse into suicidal melancholy. Hamlet
has mood swings as his mood changes abruptly throughout the play. Hamlet appears
to act mad when he hears of his father's murder. At the time he speaks wild and
whirling words: "Why, right; you are I' the right; And so, without more
circumstance at all, I hold it fit that we shake hands and part…" [Act I,
scene V, lines 127-134]. After Hamlet kills Polonius he will not tell anyone
where the body is. Instead he assumes his ironic matter, "Not where he
eats, but where he is eaten. / A certain convocation of political worms a e'en
at him." [Act IV, scene III, lines 20-21] In the two months after his
meeting with the ghost, he puzzles the court with his assumed madness but does
nothing concrete to effect or further his revenge. His inability to either
accept the goodness of all life or act to destroy its evils now begins to
trouble him as much as his outward hysteria. Hamlet appears to be insane, after
Polonius's death, in act IV scene II. In conclusion, Hamlet was a genius. In his
mind were thoughts and plans in which he always knew each persons next step
before they did it. Due to his procrastination and thoughts of revenge he became
so overwhelmed with every situation and plot that he entangled himself in his
own schemes and had to sacrifice his sanity. Only then did he truly become
insane and couldn't control the web that he was weaving. Even if the madness was
true or false, as Hamlet portrayed the role of a madman he took it upon himself
to be lost in his control of actions.
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