Hamlet's Madness

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorHigh School, 12th grade January 2002

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Hamlet is one of the greatest works of Shakespeare. Of all the themes in this play madness is perhaps one of the most important themes. Madness can be defined as a state of mental illness, extreme excitement or immense rage. Was hamlet mad? It is hard for the readers to reach a final conclusion about hamlet's madness because of his fluctuating moods. Hamlet feigned his madness so that it would provide him with a shelter and make it easier for him to take revenge. Also, his words and soliloquies did not reflect any sort of madness. Moreover, The readers and the characters generally misinterpret hamlets style of talking circuitously as his madness. Hamlet is faking to be mad to achieve his goal of taking revenge from the king Hamlet puts on a mask of madness for a purpose, which was, that it gave him a chance to work on his plan of taking revenge and also provide him with a valid excuse.

After the Ghost's first appearance to Hamlet, he decides that when he finds it suitable or advantageous to him, he will act as if he is mad. He says to horatio "As I perchance hereafter shall think meet, to put an antic disposition on."� (I.v.173). This clearly indicates that from this point onwards; hamlet has decided to act as if he was mad and is not actually mad. This strategy gives Hamlet a chance to find proof of Claudius's guilt and to consider his revenge scheme. As mentioned by one of the critics about hamlets madness- When he is alone we have the truth of him, but it is madness, which is on public exhibition. And a very "antic disposition"� he will at times display-for he must, if is to claim the madman's privilege and security-till at last...