Essay by davinawhale November 2014

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In Shakespeare'sHamlet, there has been an unanswered question to whether Hamlet has truly gone mad or if he's put on an antic disposition. I believe that Hamlet has not gone mad and he is fully sane. Although at times it may appear that his behaviour is abnormal or crazy, Hamlet is simply a man dealing with the impossible. Hamlet's sadness and anger is completely understandable considering the situation he is in. To assume that Hamlet has a mental illness just weeks after his father's murder, is an unfair judgement.

One of the signs that Hamlet is not insane is that he admits that he might be. When talking with Rozencrants and Guildenstern, Hamlet tells them "I am but mad north-north-west. When the wind is southerly, I know a hawk from a handsaw" (II, ii, 368-369). Hamlet realizing that he may be insane is a good indication that he is not, as people who are insane believe that they're not.

This shows that Hamlet is aware of what's acceptable socially. Hamlet recognizes that his behaviour can be strange or even viewed as crazy.

Another indication that Hamlet has not gone mad is that he planned his strange behaviour as part of his revenge. After seeing the ghost of his father and hearing the ghost's instructions, Hamlet informs Marcellus and Horatio of his plan "Here, as before, never, so help you mercy, how strange or odd some'er I bear myself - as perchance hereafter shall think meet to put an antic disposition on" (I, v, 176-180). Hamlet tells them that his plan is to act mad in order to make his revenge against King Claudius possible. Perhaps by acting mad the King won't realize that he is a threat of any kind. Hamlet's actions are not as crazy as they...