Hamlet : In his Mind's Eye

Essay by keioniHigh School, 11th gradeA+, December 1996

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Hamlet: In His Right Mind's Eye

Crazy, or not crazy- That is the question. The matter of Hamlet's so called madness, has been an item of debate since the first performance, and will probably be a continuing argument well into the future. I believe Hamlet was not crazy, because he proves to be in complete control of his psyche in several parts of the play. These three reasons are the main points of argument for Hamlet's sanity. His behaviors is only erratic in front of certain people, he shows logic and reasoning in his plotting, and finally, actually admits to several people to be only "acting" mad. These are hardly the actions of a madman.

First of all, the fact that Hamlet's irrational behavior emerges only in front of certain individuals shows he was only acting. He acts insane in front of Polonius, Claudius, Gertrude and Ophelia, while remaining perfectly normal in front of Horatio, Marcellus, the players and the gravedigger.

Hamlet convinces Ophelia of his madness by going into her room "with a look so piteous in purport as if he had been loosed out of hell to speak of horrors,"(2.1.92)and grabbed her and examined her face. Then he let out "a sigh so piteous and profound as it did seem to shatter all his bulk and end his being."(2.1.106) After that incident, Polonius believes, that Hamlet's madness "is the very ecstasy of love."(2.1.115) Claudius is convinced, however, that that is not the case. He believes that something else is troubling Hamlet. "Love? His affections do not that way tend; Nor what he spake, though it lacked form a little, was not like madness. there's something in his soul o'er which his melancholy sits on brood" (3.1.176) After Hamlet kills Polonius, Gertrude becomes completely convinced that Hamlet is "Mad...