Analysis Of Hamlet's Antic Insanity In Hamlet

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Hamlet’s “antic disposition” is merely an act, and serves to mask his intentions of revenge from his peers; Hamlet does become somewhat unstable, though, and lapses into brief moments of true insanity. Following the first encounter with his father, Hamlet vows to put on an act of madness to hide his actions and thoughts from the King. Hamlet’s feigned madness begins with a half-naked appearance in Ophelia’s chambers, and escalates from that point onward. The effect of the “antic disposition” seems to wear off by Act IV though, as Hamlet’s actions cause Claudius to become suspicious of Hamlet. Hamlet seems to experience moments of true insanity at times, though, as seen when he rashly kills Polonius. In 2.1, following Hamlet’s decision…show more content…
Hamlet is overcome by emotion and becomes unstable, saying on line 264, “Yet I have in me something dangerous, which let thy wisdom fear. Hold off thy hand,” as he fights with Laertes. This emotional instability continues after the fight is broken up as Hamlet insists that he loved Ophelia much more than Laertes. Hamlet once again demonstrates true madness in the final scene of the play, the fight between himself and Laertes. After the scuffle between Hamlet and Laertes and the collapse of Gertrude, Laertes tells Hamlet that the dagger and the Queen were poisoned by King Claudius. Hamlet immediately injures the King and forces the remaining poison down his throat in a moment of insanity, before collapsing and dying himself. Though Hamlet’s “antic disposition” began after learning about the death of his father to obscure his investigation and revenge against his uncle Claudius, Hamlet retained his sanity and was able to think and speak rationally when alone, or with Horatio or his mother. In Acts IV and V, however, Hamlet becomes more mentally and emotionally unstable, and descends into moments of pure insanity, where his rationale is overcome by his
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