Hamlet's Digression Into Insanity

Essay by deshongeHigh School, 11th gradeA+, February 2007

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If a sane person decides to feign complete insanity in an attempt to manipulate those around him, is it possible to know if at some point he stops pretending and starts actually being crazy? In William Shakespeare's Hamlet, the way others interpret Hamlet's behavior is different from the way Hamlet himself views it. Through his antisocial behavior, he believes that he can create an intricate web through which he can orchestrate the lives of those around him and eventually achieve his goal of avenging his late father. In actuality, he becomes ensnared in his own insane web and is left to deal with his own internal struggle of whether he can actually kill his uncle or not, alone. Hamlet's acting so engrosses him that his state of mind unconsciously shifts toward irrationality through his severing ties with others, recognizing his transition, and finally letting go.

Throughout the course of the play Hamlet turns against everyone in order to follow the orders of revenge from his father's ghost.

He furiously severs his ties of love with Ophelia once she appears to be working against him. Destroying his relationship Hamlet said, "You should not have believed me, for virtue cannot so (inoculate) our old stock but we shall relish of it. I loved you not." [Act III, scene I, lines 127-129]. Either his love for Ophelia was never strong as he said, which seems doubtful, or he has really gone insane and sacrifices her love for revenge.

Even in Act I Hamlet knows that he is not the same as he used to be and fears he is going insane. He hints to his closest friend that his insanity is just an act, but is still forced to withhold the entire truth from him. Hamlet is forced to isolate...