Madness In Hamlet And Ophelia

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In Shakespeare’s play, Hamlet, the idea of characters mimicking or doubling each other is prevalent throughout the text. However, the role of doubling characters and foiling characters indicate two different meanings throughout the play. Doubling characters indicates that the characters are similar in the way that they act, whereas foiling is often when two characters contrast or differ greatly from one another. Two of the most important characters in the play, Hamlet and Ophelia, double one another with their madness; however, Shakespeare uses their madness to show how crazy Elsinore is. Madness is described as the state of being mentally ill or in the state of frenzied, chaotic activity, and is also when one cannot be trusted which, is shown multiple times throughout the play. While Hamlet and Ophelia both display madness, Hamlet uses his madness in order to find the truth whereas Ophelia is a victim of the madness happening in her life.
The kingdom of Elsinore, where Hamlet and his family lives, is a good example of Shakespeare demonstrating how madness affects all characters. Elsinore, is filled with untrustworthy characters such as King Claudius and Polonius. Polonius is considered untrustworthy in the play because he sends people to go spy on his son, Laertes. Polonius says to Reynaldo, one of his servants, “Before you visit him, to make inquire/ Of his behavior” (2.1 4-5). Polonius doesn’t trust Laertes to be on his own without dishonoring his family or ruining his

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