Jeffery Dahmer: Criminally Insane In William Shakespeare's Hamlet

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In 1992 a notorious serial killer and sex offender named Jeffery Dahmer was put on trial for the the sixteen brutal murders he had committed in Wisconsin. Along with murder, his convictions included cannibalism, necrophilia, and preservation of body parts. During the trial he had many doctors and experts argue whether he was criminally insane or whether he was sane and knew what he was doing during the time of the murders. Although he was diagnosed with multiple personality disorders, Dahmer was found to be legally sane and able to stand trial. In William Shakespeare’s Hamlet, the protagonist acts insane, but there is evidence that it is nothing more than a sham. Hamlet, the protagonist, acts insane to a selected group of people, specifically nobles. Some of the nobles see through this act and have a hunch that he…show more content…
The fact that he only acts this way around nobles, like his mother, father, and Polonius for example, conveys the idea that he knows what he is doing. An instance where this happens occurs when Hamlet is speaking to Rosencrantz and Guildenstern after they had just arrived to Denmark. He starts off speaking about beggars’ bodies and monarchs, which has no correlation to the conversation. He states, “For by my fay, I cannot reason,” (2.2.259). By this he meant that he seems to be losing his mind a bit. Similarly, in an additional conversation Hamlet has with Guildenstern he mentions his mental state again. Guildenstern goes to Hamlet to tell him that his mother wants to have a word with him. He asks Hamlet to stop fooling around and Hamlet says that he cannot. “Make you a wholesome answer.” Hamlet says, “My wit’s deceased,” (3.2.299). By saying this he means that his mind is confused. Altogether these examples of interactions that Hamlet has with nobility and high-ranking people demonstrates that he only pretends to be mad when there is someone of significance

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