Interpreting The Conception Of Insanity In Shakespeare's Hamlet

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GALATÉA DODD
INDEPENDENT STUDY
STAGE 2 ENGLISH STUDIES
Throughout William Shakespeare's play The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark and Herman Koch's novel The Dinner the conception of insanity is explored through techniques of character and setting; the central theme of insanity is expressed through the physical form of prominent protagonists. The way in which supporting characters interact with the protagonists varies with the different environments they advance from. Both Shakespeare and Koch show the manifestation of insanity through the setting the protagonists are placed in. To further reinforce the theme by creating contrasts from the protagonists, Shakespeare uses supporting characters whereas Koch presents antagonists. A central …show more content…

In Shakespeare's play, the climax of the story adds depth to Hamlet’s personality, although the intense moments of death occur at this moment, it is Hamlet’s deeper self that the reader is interested in. Because of Hamlet’s complex structure of self, the reader is constantly trying to decipher what Hamlet is thinking and what outcome he hopes his actions will achieve. Part of this character's nature stems from the unique structure that Shakespeare presents in the play. Such as putting the climax in the middle of the play, and including a play within the original play. The play within a play is an additional representation of Hamlet’s complexity, as throughout the reader interprets the character as having many layers of thought. This eventually causes for Hamlet’s confusion and ultimate downfall into insanity. The structure of Shakespeare's play also adds to Hamlet’s insane nature by holding off certain events that had been anticipated, such as Hamlet’s countless opportunities to kill Claudius. The character’s madness adds to the unique structure of the play, his insanity does not fully present itself at a certain point in the although he does show signs of unclear thoughts in Act II, Scene i. The structural technique of Hamlet’s descend into

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