Sane in the Midst of Corruption; an essay on Shakespeare's Hamlet by: Katy

Essay by interestedmindHigh School, 12th grade November 2004

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Shakespeare had a way of capturing his audience with tragic plays filled with controversy. One of the most controversial and well known of these plays is Hamlet. This is a play that depicts a son (Prince Hamlet) on an expedition to avenge his father's death. Throughout the entirety of the story, Shakespeare emphasizes the opinions that those surrounding Hamlet take on. The belief of those closest to him is that, with the death of his father, he has gone mad and does not know how to cope with the rest of the world. The interpretation that the audience has in analyzing Hamlet, the play, is often defined by the impression he has in watching Hamlet's actions, as a spectator. Over the years it has been debated whether or not Hamlet's actions were actually the result of his going insane, or an outright plot against the man who, not only killed his father, but also stole the throne and bride his father once held dear.

This man was his uncle Claudius! In order to take a correct position on this topic, it is important to understand the definition of insanity. As defined by Encarta Dictionary: English (North America), an online dictionary, insanity is a "lack of reason or good sense." Hamlet's actions do not coincide with this definition and, in essence, make him a sound man of reason. Prince Hamlet's actions have to do with a depression problem in which he feigns madness in order to make his actions appear innocent. Every move that he makes is a well thought out and well delivered thrust at uncovering Claudius' treasonous crime. What Hamlet, unintentionally, accomplishes is the restoration of order to a society that got itself caught up in the "catch-22" of chaos.

Being perceived as a madman in...