Essay, Research Paper: Hamlet Of Shakespeare

Shakespeare: Hamlet

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Shakespeare's tragic hero, Hamlet, and his sanity can arguably be discussed.
Many portions of the play supports his loss of control in his actions, while
other parts uphold his ability of dramatic art. The issue can be discussed both
ways and altogether provide significant support to either theory. There are
indications from Hamlet throughout the play of his mind's well being. Hamlet's
antic disposition may have caused him in certain times that he is in a roleplay.
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 in 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]. It seems as if there are two
Hamlets in the play, one that is sensitive and an ideal prince, and the insane
barbaric Hamlet who from an outburst of passion and rage slays Polonius with no
feeling of remorse, "Thou wretched, rash, intruding fool, farewell! / I
took thee for thy better. Take thy fortune;/ Thou find'st to be too busy is some
danger." [Act III. scene IV, lines 31-33] and then talks about lugging his
guts into another room. After Hamlet kills Polonius he will not tell anyone
where the body is. Instead he assumes his ironic matter which others take it as
madness. "Not where he eats, but where he is eaten. / A certain convocation
of politic worms are even at him." [Act IV, scene III, lines 20-21].
"If your messenger find him not there, seek him in the other place
yourself. But, indeed, if you find him not within this month, you shall nose him
as you go up the stairs into the lobby."[Act IV, scene III, lines 33-36].
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
277-279], 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]. 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 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]. Hamlet's madness in no way reflects Ophelia's true madness, his
actions contrast them. Hamlet's madness is only apparent when he is in the
presence of certain characters. When Hamlet is around Polonius, Claudius,
Gertrude, Ophelia, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, he behaves unreasonably. When
Hamlet in the presence of Horatio, Bernardo, Francisco, The Players, and Clowns,
his actions are sensible. Other characters confess that Hamlet's actions are
still unsure whether Hamlet's insanity is authentic or not. Claudius confesses
that Hamlet's actions although strange, do not appear to stem from madness.
"And I do doubt the hatch and the disclose/ Will be some danger; which for
to prevent,/ I have in quick determination [Act III, scene I, lines 169-171].
Polonius admits that Hamlet's actions and words have a method to them; there
appears to be a reason behind them, they are logical in nature. "Though
this be madness, yet there is method in't". [Act II, scene II, line 206]
Hamlet tells his mother "That I essentially am not in madness,/ But mad in
craft." [Act III, scene IV, lines 189-190]. Hamlet believes in his sanity
at all times, He never doubts his control over his sanity. He realizes his flaw
as a man of thoughts and not actions. His cold act of Polonius' murder is out of
rage and furious temper. He is sorry for it but has no great compassion towards
Polonius, for he already has enough grief over his father's death. Hamlet, a
tragic hero, meets his tragic end not because he was sane or insane. He ends
tragically because of his own tragic flaw, procrastination and grief. Whether he
sane or had lost control of his actions, both theories has its own support. The
support makes each theory a sensible decision either way. Hamlet as seen from
the beginning to end, a prince that was grieve stricken, until a prince of rage
and passion, has developed through the stages by his own sanity and madness.
Even if the madness was true or false, as Hamlet portrayed the role of a mad
man, he took it upon himself to be lost in his control of actions.
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