Contact Us
Sign In / Sign Up for FREE
Go to advanced search...

Hamlet Was Not Mad - Essay Example

Comments (0) Cite this document
In our world, we are forced to deal with the politics of power. Power comes in two basic forms and we need to be aware of each in order to make headway in the modern world. Power has traditionally come through the control of the purse strings. The one …
Download free paperFile format: .doc, available for editing
GRAB THE BEST PAPER91.7% of users find it useful
Hamlet Was Not Mad
Read TextPreview

Extract of sample "Hamlet Was Not Mad"

Topic: Teacher: Hamlet is not a Mad Character Hamlet, the protagonist of the play, Hamlet cannot be regarded as a madcharacter on the basis of his intellectual thoughts and better understanding of events and happenings revealed in the play. There is unquestionably a little view for the observation that Hamlet has in actuality gone mad. The manner, which Hamlet adopts to speak with Polonius, the two courtiers-Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, with Ophelia and with the King seems to confirm this view, as does Hamlet’s causeless murder of Polonius. However, all these facts do not prove Hamlet to be a mad person if kept in comparison with his thought patterns and his intellectual words. The reason for not considering Hamlet as a mad person is that Hamlet always talks in a manner that shows that his speech has logic and reasoning in it, which mad people do not show. In addition, his speeches in the whole play prove him as an intellectual person who understands everything with logic. All Hamlet’s speeches, when he is unaccompanied or when he is with Horatio whom he has taken into confidence are unquestionably the statements of a person who is not only rational but has an outstandingly influential understanding (Weitz126). All his soliloquies are not only articulate and commonsensical but have a deepness of contemplation, which disclose the speaker as a philosophical intellectual. His sweeping statements in the course of his soliloquies show his profound intelligence such as, “Frailty, thy name is woman!” (Act I, Scene II, 146) “That one may smile, and smile, and be a villain” (Act I, Scene V, 109) “…………….What is a man If his chief good and market of his time Be but to sleep and feed?” (Act IV, Scene IV, 33-35) No person who had even a little stroke of insanity could have spoken as Hamlet does in his soliloquies. These are certainly not speeches of a disordered mind, though they are indicative of a sensitive soul. Therefore, it cannot be said in any way that Hamlet is a mad character as none of his intellectual speeches prove this point. Hamlet is disturbed on the sudden death of his father and his mother’s hasty marriage due to which, he considers the world as an unprofitable place to live as he says: “How weary, stale, flat and unprofitable,  Seem to me all the uses of this world!” (Act I, Scene II, 133-134) Hamlet is highly speculative by nature and analyzes the situations in which, he is trapped due to which, he remains in a forlorn state. The circumstances that have affected Hamlet are responsible to disturbing him as a person. According to Macek (1997), “The play Hamlet Prince of Denmark features a title character who is not a victim of an Oedipus complex or is in any real way insane, rather Hamlet is a sane man dealing with his own insane circumstances who must deal directly with his love for his fallen father and his malice toward his incestuous mother.” Macek (1997) in his statement informs that it is not Hamlet who is insane; it is his circumstances, which he has to face. He considers his mother’s marriage as an incestuous act and is unable to forgive his mother while he loves his father immensely. The circumstances, which Hamlet has to face, made him sensitive and speculative. However, he has not lacked the control of his mind. Polonius, on hearing his daughter’s description of Hamlet’s visit to her, comes to the conclusion that Hamlet has lost his mind on account of his frustration in love as he says, “This is the very ecstasy of love ……………………………… That hath made him mad”. (Act II, Scene I, 99-107) However, the king, who is a very astute person, does not believe Hamlet to be mad for love or for any other reason. For example, he tells Polonius in the nunnery scene that, although what Hamlet had spoken, “………….lack’d form a little Was not like madness”. (Act III, Scene I, 163-164) The King, Claudius was not sure about Hamlet’s madness and considered him in sanity due to which, he claimed that Hamlet was not mad. Bradley in his account on Hamlet, says, “He (Claudius) is by no means certain even that Hamlet is mad at all”. (Bradley 1919, 56) This quote is again indicative of the fact that Hamlet was not mad at all as the King was not able to consider him mad. Even Rosencrantz and Guildenstern do not consider Hamlet to be insane. Guildenstern illustrates about Hamlet’s situation as a “crafty madness”, which means that Hamlet is merely trying to create an impression of madness. Shakespeare never planned to characterize Hamlet as a mad character as whatever speeches, he allowed Hamlet to deliver negate him as a mad person and reveal his intellect upon his readers. He purposely made Hamlet as a feigner of insanity, and when Hamlet was interested to show actual insanity, he fashioned actual insanity and displayed it before Ophelia with such truth and expertise that she had no doubt on his madness as she says, “O, what a noble mind is here o'erthrown!” (Act III, Scene I, 150) Hamlet is not mad at all, he is totally good at mind. “There is plenty of eccentricity in him, plenty of fantastic thinking and feeling, plenty of the wandering imagination and plenty of wild phrases” (Weitz 152). Nevertheless, these features do not represent insanity. He always is fully aware of what he is going to do or act; he always observes his situation unmistakably; he always has logics for his point, which he delivers with articulation and reason and he always comprehends his people, their doings and himself as it is said, “Hamlet has no way of unambiguously understanding what anyone says to him.” (Leverenz 1978, 293) He has a clear mind and he understands everything. His madness is crafted as he himself says, “……….I essentially am not in madness, But mad in craft…………….” (Act III, Scene IV, 187-188) Hamlet pretends to be mad as a measure of self-protection. The ghost’s disclosure demonstrates before him the hazards to his own life and on his persistent survival depends his carrying out of the vengeance that the ghost enforced upon him (Aquirre 169). Having knowledge of the reality, Hamlet must catch his father’s executioner without betraying his knowledge till his appointed task is accomplished. Therefore, he makes his mind up to keep up an “antic disposition” as a shade below which, he can gaze at the king and wait for his occasion of vengeance. “He (Shakespeare) chose the story of a hero who is forced to feign madness in order to follow the winding paths that lead him to the completion of his act” (Lacan, et al 1977, 20) Hamlet adopts to portray himself as a mad character to betray Claudius and for getting to the end of his action that was to take revenge for his father’s murder. Hamlet regards his mother as a guilty character as she married Claudius very soon after Hamlet’s father’s death due to which, Hamlet considered this act as incestuous. According to T. S. Eliot (1972), Hamlet’s bears the burden of his mother’s guilt, which causes problems for him in order to take any action; it is his mother’s degenerative act, which was intolerable for him (144). It was this guilt due to which, he did not take revenge from Claudius soon after the revelation of the truth of his assassination plan against Hamlet’s father. He posed to be mad to take refuge in a physical condition in which, he can make the king to do something that provides him a chance to take revenge. As a son, he cannot take support of his mother because she was guilty in his eyes. Therefore, he feigned to be mad but in actuality, he was not mad. After going through all the facts related to Hamlet and his physical condition, it is quite clear that Hamlet cannot be proved as a mad character. Hamlet was fully sane, which is quite evident from his intellectual speeches and his actions, which he performs in the play. However, he feigned to be mad in order to get a chance to take revenge of his father’s murder. Claudius and other characters of the play doubted about Hamlet’s madness and considered him fully sane. Hamlet’s logical and rational speeches and doings point towards his clear and comprehensive mind. Works Cited Aguirre, Manuel. "Life, Crown, and Queen: Gertrude and the Theme of Sovereignty." Review of English Studies 47(186) (May 1996): 163-74. Bradley, A. C. “Lecture IV: Hamlet”. Shakespearean Tragedy. London: Macmillan, 1919. Also available at Eliot, T. S. “Hamlet and His Problems”. Selected Essays. London: Faber and Faber Limited, 1972. Also available at Lacan, Jacques; Miller, Jacques-Alain and Hulbert, James. Desire and Interpretation of Desire in Hamlet. Yale French Studies 55/56, (1977): 11-52. Also available at Leverenz, David. The Women in Hamlet: An Interpersonal View. Signs 4 (2), (1978): 291-308. Also available at Macek, J. C. Ill Will: A Psychoanalytic Approach to Hamlet. 1997. Accessed on 11th March 2011 from Shakespeare, William (Writer) and Branagh, Kenneth (Director). Hamlet (Film). Internet Movie Database, 1996. Available at Shakespeare, William. Hamlet. Sydney: Sydney University Press, 1998. Weitz, Morris. Hamlet and the Philosophy of Literary Criticism. Chicago: University of Chicago, 1964. Read More
Cite this document
  • APA
  • MLA
(“Hamlet Was Not Mad Essay Example | Topics and Well Written Essays - 250 words”, n.d.)
Retrieved from
(Hamlet Was Not Mad Essay Example | Topics and Well Written Essays - 250 Words)
“Hamlet Was Not Mad Essay Example | Topics and Well Written Essays - 250 Words”, n.d.
  • Cited: 0 times
Comments (0)
Click to create a comment or rate a document


Was Prince Hamlet Incapable of Action

The major factor that hinders quick action is the fact that Claudius is married to his mother Gertrude soon after the death of his father.
Psychoanalytic readings of the play identify his predicament as the outcome of ‘Oedipus complex’, derived from the Greek play by Sophocles, and referring to a state where the son undergoes a phase in which his subconscious mind fosters a libidinal drive towards the mother. This possessiveness may even lead to a secret wish to kill the father and go to bed with the mother. Though this condition makes it easier for the prince to hate and eliminate the person who has occupied the place of his father, he is also burdened with the clashes between his original cause for revenge and hi...
6 Pages(1500 words)Essay

The Concept of Revenge in Hamlet versus the Concept of Revenge in the Book The Oresteia

... the play. Murder after murder was the result of every move each character portrayed. After learning that her father, Polonius was killed, Ophelia went mad and got drowned and died. Hamlet, who had escaped from the asylum, hid in the graveyard and saw a funeral procession in which he discovered that it was Ophelia who died. Obviously, Hamlet felt grief upon the scene but Laertes was hurt the most. He blamed Hamlet for the death of Polonius and Ophelia and challenged him in fencing. Treacherously, the end of the sword was stained with poison as conspired by Claudius and Laertes so that sooner, Hamlet would die. And if Hamlet wins, a poisonous drink on a victory cup was waiting for Hamlet. Though Hamlet won, he refused to drink it. Queen...
10 Pages(2500 words)Assignment

Is Hamlet Primarily a Tragedy of Revenge

In his attempt to take revenge upon his uncle Claudius, Hamlet blinded his morals and intelligence which lead to the untimely death of the character and to the tragic elements of the play. It is important to recognize that the revenge theme is acted upon throughout the play and it is one of the most pertinent concerns of the playwright. Revenge has been one of the dominant themes in the play which presents three major characters of various contexts, Fortinbras, Laertes, and Hamlet, as seeking to take vengeance on the deaths of their fathers. Shakespeare’s Hamlet should be comprehended as a play that exhibits the struggles of various people and their inner demons which lead these characters to the path of revenge. Under the i...
7 Pages(1750 words)Research Paper

Interpretation of Hamlet

It is evidently clear from the discussion that Hamlet becomes the object of counter-revenge, Laertes seeking requital for the murder of his father. By the last act of the play, after his adventures at sea, Hamlet is utterly convinced of the rightness of his cause and necessity of killing Claudius, whom he describes as cancer in society. He himself sees as a humble instrument of heaven, and to fail his duty in removing that cancer would be at the peril of his own soul. Hamlet ends in Victory and failure. The possibility that a man has been picked out to do a deed which society condemns but which a higher, divine authority sanctions is balanced against the possibility that Ghost led Hamlet into delusion an...

10 Pages(2500 words)Term Paper

Hamlet Assignment #2

... HAMLET QUEEN GERTRUDE (IV, iii, 87-90) “O Hamlet, speak no more. Thou turn’st my eyes into my soul, And there I see such black and grained spots As will not leave their tinct” Why did you choose this quote? Why do you think this quote is representative of your character?  Just a few days after the death of Hamlet’s father, his mother ‘Queen Gertrude’ marries Hamlet’s uncle. Hamlet gets very annoyed by the decision and rushed to his mother for some of the answers he needed from her. Hamlet starts to describe the difference of character between that of this father to that of his uncle. He said his father was a strong vise person but his uncle ‘Claudius” was a wicked man, having a lust for power. But Queen Gertrude was not ready...
2 Pages(500 words)Assignment

Hamlet Critical Perspectives

This was almost a requirement, because England was under fire from many nations, including Rome and the Catholic church, due to Henry VIII (her father) breaking with the Vatican during his reign. Yet by the start of the seventeenth century, the queen was in her late sixties and to quote the French ambassador De Maisse “She kept the front of her dress open, and one could see the whole of her bosom…and… Her bosom is somewhat wrinkled”. As such Doctor Lavery draws the comparison of her and the elderly Gertrude, with whom Hamlet cannot hide his disgust when she marries Claudius (Lavery).

Another contemporary viewpoint that Lavery believes Shakespeare used as a main theme for the play was revenge,...
7 Pages(1750 words)Essay

The Theme of Death in Shakespeares Hamlet

The play goes ahead to question whether kings do possess a heaven’s free pass. The theme of death in Shakespeare’s Hamlet, therefore, has an influence on the lives of living human beings (Bloom 45).
In Hamlet’s mind, the idea of death did not seem awful. However, despite the fact that he became obsessed with the notion, the afterlife uncertainty frightened Hamlet from committing suicide. Hamlet’s turning point took place at the scene of the graveyard in the fifth act of the play. It was before Hamlet became revolted and shocked by the living’s moral corruption. However, when he saw the skull of Yorick whom he loved and respected propelling, he realized that death does eliminate the differences th...
8 Pages(2000 words)Literature review

The Nexus Between Hamlet and Ophelia

Focusing on the Shakespearean play, Hamlet, which has a violent tragic ending, we will closely analyze the Ophelia/Hamlet nexus and how their relationship also ends in tragedy (or micro-tragedy, as it is a tragedy on a smaller scale inside a bigger tragedy) and makes an impact on the readers
The tragedy of Hamlet has drama, suspense and of course romance to make it the play of all plays. Most readers focus on Hamlet’s inner struggle. His quest to find his father’s killer and of course his promise to avenge him is a great part of the main plot. However, his inclination to avenge his father’s killer also tragically destructs the lives of the main characters of the play, including the life of Hamlet’s lo...
6 Pages(1500 words)Coursework

Influence of Humanism on Shakespeare's Hamlet

... to Grudin, humanism “implied not only such qualities as are associated with the modern word humanity—understanding, benevolence, compassion, mercy—but also such more aggressive characteristics as fortitude, judgment, prudence, eloquence, and even love of honour” (, par.3). As a scholar, renaissance humanism was more than imposing strict rules of practice, but instilling prudence, strong sense of human virtues and renew/reforming the existing ideas of their cultures, politics, religion and social aspect among others. From the Hamlet play, Shakespeare develops his major themes of revenge, madness and power but employs humanistic figures and ideas in the plots to make sense of the human nature in world. He is keen to use...
9 Pages(2250 words)Term Paper

Why Does Hamlet Hesitate to Take Revenge

... Why does Hamlet hesitate to take revenge? Introduction Hamlet hesitates deliberately to Kill King Claudius, who succeeds King Hamlet thereby inheriting his throne. The hesitation thus becomes an integral theme in the play as the author develops a number of systematic conflicts from Hamlet’s hesitation. Hamlet on the other hand gives a number of reasons for his hesitation. He gets a number of perfect chances to kill the king but always give excuses for not killing a feature that shows his characters and his relations with the other characters. Hamlet’s hesitations turn to inaction when he later gets perfect opportunities to kill the king. Hamlet’s indecision to carry out the revenge is Shakespeare’s way of proving that revenge is wrong...
6 Pages(1500 words)Essay
sponsored ads
We use cookies to create the best experience for you. Keep on browsing if you are OK with that, or find out how to manage cookies.

Let us find you another Essay on topic Hamlet Was Not Mad for FREE!

Contact Us