Was Hamlet crazy?

Essay by infinitegrooveHigh School, 12th gradeA+, April 2003

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Throughout literature, authors have developed characters with varying mental states. In the play Hamlet by William Shakespeare, the main character, Prince Hamlet, is depicted a young man on the brink of insanity. Whether or not Hamlet is truly mad is a mystery, but there are numerous instances supporting and disputing his madness.

Throughout the play, many characters find themselves questioning the sanity of Prince Hamlet. Ever since the death of his father, Hamlet has become increasingly melancholic. Still dressed in black clothes, Hamlet has not yet ceased mourning his late father. In the height of his grief, his mother decides to marry the new King, Claudius. This propels Hamlet even further into depression, which may have been the catalyst to his mental breakdown. "The root of it is a warped reaction, including rejection, to the death of his father and of his mother's hasty remarriage (Delville)." Other character's, such as Polonius, view Hamlet's madness as a result of his unrequited love for Ophelia.

"Polonius sees Hamlet's conduct as a result of disappointed love (Delville)." Although, no one seems to be able to get inside Hamlet's head, Claudius believes that his madness is attributed to some harmful temperament. "There's something in his soul/O'er which his melancholy sits on brood (Act 3, Scene 1)." Overall, Hamlet's spontaneous actions and speeches lead many character's to believe that he is indeed insane.

On the contrary, many scholars believe that Hamlet was in perfectly good mental health throughout the entire play. Possibly, Hamlet simply uses this so called "insanity" as a shield, under which he is able to do whatever he pleases without anyone thinking twice about it. "It allows him the freedom to transgress the court's rules of etiquette and obedience (Delville)." Many of Hamlet's actions are ignored based on the...