Shakespeare's tragic hero, Hamlet, and his sanity can arguably be discussed.

Essay by nate43518 October 2003

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"Hamlet's Madness"

Shakespeare's tragic hero, Hamlet, and his sanity can arguably be discussed. Many portions of the play support his loss of control in his actions, while other parts uphold his ability of dramatic art. The issue can be discussed both ways and altogether provide significant support to either theory. There are also indications from Hamlet throughout the play of his mind's well being.

Hamlet has mood swings as his mood changes abruptly throughout the play. Hamlet appears to act mad when he hears of his father's murder. He says, "Why, right; you are I' the right; And so, without more circumstance at all, I hold it fit that we shake hands and part." [Act I, scene V, lines 127-134] It seems as if there are two Hamlets in the play, one that is sensitive, and one that is an ideal prince. When he is insane and barbaric, he has an outburst of rage and slays Polonius, with no feeling of remorse.

Hamlet says, "Thou wretched, rash, intruding fool, farewell; I took thee for thy better. Take thy fortune; Thou find'st to be too busy is some danger." [Act III. scene IV, lines 31-33]

Hamlet's behavior throughout the play, especially toward Ophelia is inconsistent. He jumps into Ophelia's grave, and fights with Laertes in her grave. He professes, "I loved Ophelia; Forty thousand brothers; Could not, with all their quantity of love, make up my sum. [Act V, Scene I, lines 250-253].

Hamlet has violent outbursts towards his mother. His outburst seems to be out of jealousy, as a victim to the Oedipus complex. He alone sees his father's ghost in his mother's chambers. Every other time the ghost appeared someone else has seen it. During this scene he finally shows his madness, because his mother does...