Gertrude's Madness In Hamlet

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In William Shakespeare’s Hamlet, Hamlet’s father, King Hamlet, dies and his uncle, Claudius, takes the throne. Claudius does this by marrying his brother’s widowed wife, Gertrude. This disturbs Hamlet, and he is told by a Ghost of his father that Claudius murdered him. The Ghost pleads Hamlet to avenge him by killing Claudius. After this meeting, he explains how he will begin to behave differently. Therefore, he begins to act mad as a part of his plan. However, he reaches a threshold where his “acting” spirals into a legitimate madness. Hamlet shows signs of madness through his bizarre behavior and concerning dialogue: fueled by his emotional instability.
Hamlet displays very impulsive and strange behavior that clearly shows his madness. For example, at the play, Hamlet is lecturing the actors on how they should perform. He stresses they must, “Speak the speech, [he] pray you, as [he] pronounced / it to you, trippingly on the tongue...for in the very torrent, tempest, and, as [he] may say, / whirlwind of your passion, [they] must acquire and / beget a temperance that may give it smoothness”(III.II.1-2, 6-8). Hamlet’s conversations with the actors are unnecessary and ironic.
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Throughout the conversation he urges her to, “Get thee to a nunnery. Why wouldst thou be / a breeder of sinners? I am myself indifferent honest, / but yet I could accuse me of such things that it / were better my mother had not borne me”(III.I.131-134). It is very strange how he insists she goes to a “nunnery” multiple times. This is because he wants her to cleanse her sins. In addition, he takes a dark turn when he explains it would have been better if he was never born. This negative self-talk is very common with Hamlet, and it shows his uneasy mental state. His constant contradictions whether he loves her or not, repeated use of “get thee to a nunnery”, and his denial of giving her anything all display mad

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