Method in Hamlet’s Madness

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In this tragedy, Shakespeare explores the ways in which Hamlet express his emotions of rage and grief. Madness can be an infectious disease that has the ability to spread like a viral disease, if it’s not removed from the root of the problem. It starts very slowly and unassuming with an idea and before you know it after a while infects another, and it keeps doing this repeatedly until the madness has contaminated everyone. At any given moment during the play, the most accurate assessment of Hamlet’s state of mind probably lies somewhere between sanity and insanity.

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Hamlet certainly displays a high degree of mania and instability throughout much of the play, but his “madness” is perhaps too purposeful and pointed for us to conclude that he actually loses his mind. His language is erratic and wild, but beneath his mad-sounding words often lays acute observations that show the sane mind working bitterly beneath the surface. Most likely, Hamlet’s decision to feign madness is a sane one, taken to confuse his enemies and hide his intentions Hamlet devises the plan to end the marriage of Claudius, the new king/ his murderous uncle, who he believes has killed his father to become the new king, and married Queen Gertrude Hamlet’s mother. The change in Hamlet’s behavior is hard to deny that his mental soundness had taken a dramatic turn for the worst throughout the course of the play from good to evil. Prime example of his feeling beginning to change is when his worried mother asks why his grief ??seems … so particular’ (1.2.75) with him, Hamlet ignores her main point (why does he grieve more intensely than other bereaved sons?) and snatches at the idea of ??seeming’: Seems, madam? nay, it is, I know not ??seems.’ ’Tis not alone my inky cloak, [good] mother, Nor customary suits of solemn black, Nor windy suspiration of forc’d breath, No, nor the fruitful river in the eye, Nor the dejected havior of the visage, Together with all forms, moods, [shapes] of grief, That can [denote] me truly. These indeed seem.

In the beginning, he is seen as the grieving prince and a well-respected young man, and then his father’s ghost, who in my thoughts presence had change Hamlet persona from that point on, tells him that his uncle murdered him. Hamlet then becomes furious and vows to have revenge on Claudius. Ophelia, the girl that Hamlet is supposed to love, starts to get the backlash of his malice; she is no longer treated in a loving manor. Hamlet even goes so far as to tell her, “You should not have believed me, for virtue cannot so inoculate our old stock but we shall relish of it. I loved you not” (Hamlet, 116-118). I believe Hamlet is not speaking from his heart but from the deep dark place he has begun to reside in and it seems he is unable to leave. It becomes to be obvious after his display of emotions at her funeral proves that he did actually love her, he told everyone, “I loved Ophelia; Forty thousand brothers could not with all their quantities of love make up my sum; what wilt thou do for her.” (Hamlet, 270). Hamlet also turns from a normal person into an evil man; this even affects his physical upkeep as he walks around dirty with his clothes disheveled. Another example is that For they are actions that a man might play, But I have that within which passes show, These but the trappings and the suits of woe.’ (1.2.7686)

Hamlet embodies the fact that the fruits of revenge can be disastrous and short lived since his revenge mission finally led to his own downfall. Hamlet is blinded by his own feelings of being looked over for the throne by the deceitfulness and murderous nature of his uncle. Hamlet’s outward displays of emotion are untrustworthy, Hamlet reasons, because a person could ??play’ or mimic them. Indeed, even his own sincere demonstrations of sadness are compromised because it would be easy to feign them. So while Hamlet’s mourning clothes, sighs and tears ??seem’ to express his grief, Hamlet insists they are not significant: his inner feelings are his true meaning. This relationship between ??mad’ and ??madness’, ??performance’ and ??reality’ preoccupies Hamlet throughout the play. When he discovers that his uncle has murdered his father, Hamlet interprets the news as a lesson in deceitful appearances: ??meet it is I set it down / that one may smile, and smile, and be a villain!’ (1.5.10708). However, the tragedy complicates any easy moral distinctions between acting and authenticity. Hamlet himself, despite his petulant outburst against ??seeming’, cannot escape the human impulse to perform. Not only does he successfully adopt an ??antic disposition’ (1.5.172) to deflect attention from his revenge plot, but his endless soliloquizing makes him all the more theatrical, even as he meditates on ??that within which passes show’.

At the very moment Hamlet insists that his mourning is authentic and internal, he seems deliberately to parade his grief for all to see. The possession of evil can also bring out the thoughtless, mad, and foolish monster in a man and ruin his reputation and life. Prince Hamlet lacks control of his anger even in front of his best friends, as well as Horatio, his best friend of all. ) His friends can clearly see that he is losing his mind. It looks as if; even the poor gravedigger from town knows that Hamlet has gone mad. Once Hamlet confronts him, the gravedigger doesn’t recognize Hamlet, and he says, “Hamlet is mad and sent to England why, because ??a was mad. A shall recover his wits there, or if ??a do not, ’tis no great matter there Twill not be seen in him there. There the men are as mad as he.” (Hamlet, 150-155) The clown, or gravedigger, was talking about the mental state of Hamlet with Hamlet right in front of him. Hamlet was starting to show the signs of his intended act of insanity was becoming is normal behavior and becoming harder to convince the people of Denmark that he was surrendering to the madness within his own mind. Hamlet was within his rights to have the feelings of betrayal of the death of his father King Hamlet and the premature marriage of Queen Gertrude to his uncle Claudius, especially since he murder the king out jealousy and want to have the political power that the crown held in Denmark. The problem was Hamlet allowed his grief, frustration, bitterness to fester into a deep dark place that grew into madness.

The Merriam Webster Definition of Mad (Entry 1 of 4) 1 : arising from, indicative of, or marked by mental disorder ?”not used technically 2a : completely unrestrained by reason and judgment : unable to think in a clear or sensible way driven mad by the pain mad with jealousy b : incapable of being explained or accounted for a mad decision 3 informal : intensely angry or displeased 4 : carried away by enthusiasm or desire : extremely or excessively fond of or enthusiastic about something Definition of madness 1 : the quality or state of being mad: such as a : a state of severe mental illness ?”not used technically fortifications against an inner darkness, the threat of madness that crouched above him throughout his life.?” Robert F. Moss b : behavior or thinking that is very foolish or dangerous : extreme folly an idea that is pure/sheer madness c : ecstasy, enthusiasm d : intense anger : rage Although, the two definitions are so what similar the differences of being mad and/or madness is the depth of how serve a person is in the current state of mind.

In the case of Prince Hamlet it is my feeling that he start his journey being upset and mad at all of the current events that were taking place, it was the length of time he obsessed and planning his revenge on King Claudius and everyone else he felt caused the premature death of his father king Hamlet deserves to die. Hamlet single handily drove himself into the state of madness and like dominos its affect was a rippling one that one started could not be pulled back or stopped until the last one dropped.

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Method in Hamlet's Madness. (2021, Mar 10). Retrieved August 20, 2022 , from

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