Hamlet's Madness

Essay by RoddaHigh School, 12th grade February 1997

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Hamlet's Madness

`What is madness? Is someone mad merely because they are different, and do they in return see the same about the world? The dictionary defines madness as,

"1. the state of being mad; insanity.

2. senseless folly.

3. frenzy; rage.

4. intense excitement or hilarity."

Though is there a difference between madness and wrath or rage? Was Hamlet mad, or was it one big act in order to give reason for his irrational actions and to keep his vengeful motives confidential?

In Shakespeare's tragedy, Hamlet, these questions are continually asked and some are answered. Hamlet, the protagonist, has lost his father by murder, and is urged to seek vengeance by his father who appears to him as a ghost. This raises the first bit of suspicion of madness. Hamlet talks with his father and is told,

Hamlet: If thou didst ever thy dear father love-

Revenge his foul and most unnatural murder.

Most would say that the fact that he saw the ghost of his dead father would be enough to warrant that he is insane. The only fact that hinders this observation is the fact that others saw the ghost as well and were even the ones who told young Hamlet of his appearance.

Many may see Hamlet being insane only by the worldly view of him being different. Though towards the end of the play in Act III, Gertrude calls her son to her chambers to discuss the reasoning of his putting on a play so closely related to the death of his father. She tells him how upset Claudius is and is weary of Hamlet's recent actions. At this Hamlet explodes on his mother and threatens to kill her. Gertrude cries for help, and Pilonius answers this cry. Hamlet runs...