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Hamlet's Antic Disposition
Actors and actresses have a special gift of bringing characters they play to life. Somehow they play their roles so well that audiences forget that they are simply actors on screen. Similarly, in Hamlet, a play written by William Shakespeare, Prince Hamlet of Denmark, plays the role of a madman so convincingly that various characters in the play start to believe in his antic disposition. Although his state of mind is questioned, Hamlet only feigns madness. Like any actor doing his job, Hamlet's role as a madman comes and goes. It appears at his convenience. Hamlet is also able to distinguish right from wrong despite his immoral actions. His madness differs from Ophelia's sincere insanity, such as his purpose and benefit from acting insane. Examples and quotations from the play will be used to support the theory that Hamlet's madness is feigned.
Throughout the play, Hamlet's feigned madness comes and goes. In other words, he chooses when and when not to act insane. Whenever he is with Polonius, Claudius, or even Ophelia, he puts on an act of madness. However, while he is with Horatio or by himself, he is sane. For instance, when Polonius, one of Claudius's spies, tries conversing with him and asks, "What do you read, my lord?" (2.2 205-06) Hamlet purposely answers his question literally and replies, "Words, words, words" (2.2. 207). However, when he is with Horatio, his most trusted friend, Hamlet is completely sane. He reveals to him his plans for proving Claudius is guilty by putting on a play and tells him to "Observe mine uncle" (3.2 82). Not only does he reveal his secret, yet logical, plan to him, but he also tells him, "I must be idle," (3.2 92) meaning he must act...