Essay by EssaySwap ContributorHigh School, 12th grade February 2008

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One of the most controversial questions surrounding William Shakespeare's tragedy, Hamlet, is whether or not Hamlet was insane or just acting. By looking at Hamlet and his actions throughout the play and comparing his actions to the definition of sanity, it will be shown that Hamlet was very sane.

Many have tried to determine sanity by proving him insane. However, this is difficult because Hamlet states he will act insane to exact revenge upon Claudius (1.5. 170-172). The reader is unsure whether Hamlet is acting or not when he seems to be insane.

Hamlet displays the ability to reason on several occasions. The first display occurs in act two scene two. Hamlet is unsure whether the ghost he saw was really his father. Hamlet questions the truthfulness of the ghost and his own inner desires. This shows that Hamlet is able to reason that the ghost may not have been his father and that he may have wanted it to be his father so much that it appeared to him that way.

Hamlet again displays the ability to reason in act three scene four. Hamlet reveals to his mother that he is aware of Claudius's attempt to send him to his death in England (3.4.207-212). This shows that Hamlet is aware of what is occurring around him and he has the ability to reason the actions of others and discover the secret plots against him.

Hamlet's final display of his ability to reason occurs in the final scene. Hamlet is talking about death with Horatio and the coming fight between Laertes and himself. Hamlet states that death will occur when it wants to. If it is meant to be than there is nothing you can do about it. This speech shows Hamlet's ability to reason and think about death.