Most of society would agree that anyone who kills his childhood friends and uncle has lost his mind, but sometimes, without giving it a second thought, they overlook the motivation and purpose behind the actions which would disprove the underlying assumption of insanity. Shakespearean scholars have always pondered the question of whether Prince Hamlet of Denmark feigns insanity or truly goes mad because of the circumstances. His dead father, King Hamlet, appears to him as a ghost and informs him that his brother and current king, Claudius, murdered him using poison. He asks his son to avenge his death and kill Claudius but leave his wife Gertrude, who married Claudius, out of the whole scheme. Prince Hamlet goes off on a quest for revenge,
Polonius is a deceitful person and is always spying on Hamlet to see what is the cause for his madness. “Gertrude: What wilt thou do? Thou wilt not murder me?/Help, help, ho!/Polonius: (from behind the arras) What, ho? Help, help, help!/Hamlet: How now, a rat? Dead for a ducat, dead. (He by thrusting a rapier through the arras.)/Polonius: (from behind the arras) Oh, I am slain./Gertrude: O me, what hast thou done?/Hamlet: Nay, I know not. Is it the king?.” (III, IV, 26-32). Hamlet did not mean to kill Polonius because he did not see who was behind the arras. Hamlet thought the man who yelled for help was King Claudius, but he let his emotions cloud his judgement and accidentally stabbed Polonius. This is the death that Hamlet is most responsible for because he directly killed
The first instance Hamlet acts impulsive is in Act 3, scene 4. Hamlet heard a noise from behind his mother's curtains, and assumed that Claudius was hiding and listening in on their conversation. The King is usually the only one allowed in the Queen's bedroom, therefore the intruder would have most likely been Claudius. He also figured that this would be a convenient opportunity to kill Claudius because he wasn't sure when he would be able to do it. He could just do it without thinking, and be done with the whole situation. This shows how instinctive he is because he doesn't even check to see who it is behind the curtain. Resulting in him stabbing Polonius rashly. Even though this murder was more of an accident Hamlet did not show any real type of sympathy towards the situation. Hamlet owned up to what had happened with little to no shame. All his anger and hostility came rushing out and he couldn't control himself.
We can clearly see that Hamlet is deranged based on what he says to his mother. Before the murder of Polonius, Hamlet and Gertrude were having an argument, Hamlet says he will set a mirror up in front of her, then slice her open so that she can see her own internal organs. It is hard to believe a person who talks like this is sane. Another example is that he does not tell anyone where he hid Polonius' body. The reasons behind this action
As the scene begins Polonius and Gertrude are discussing how they will be spying on Hamlet: “I’ll warrant you. Fear me not. Withdraw, I hear him coming” (3.4.9-10). Polonius goes to hide behind the arras as Hamlet comes in. Both Gertrude and Polonius are conspiring against Hamlet together. Gertrude is behind her own mask as Polonius is spying behind the curtain; Hamlet cannot get behind these barriers resulting in his frustration. This frustation is what plays a major role
The most captivating part of this scene was when Hamlet, accidently killed Polonius. It happened so fast that I do not believe Hamlet could have stopped it if he wanted to, puls the fact that Polonius was hidding behind a curtain in the Queen’s room, Hamlet could have though that he was an intruder, and in self defense killed the old man, or maybe not, because clearly after he stabbed Polonius unknowingly, he wished that it was king Clauding, there showing that Hamlet was in a mood of violence, and might have killed someone eventually. Also the fact that he apologized to the dead body, after he found out that it was Polonius showed that he felt guilty, and obviously that he did not want to kill him. He was so angry that his actions were faster
Hamlet’s supposed insanity was due to two motives. The main motive for his act was his plan to seek revenge for the murder of his father. Hamlet deliberately began to be distant and unstable in order to deceive those around him. He intended those around him to see him as vulnerable, therefore causing many people to underestimate his intelligence, and this underestimation gave Hamlet the opportunity to continue on and pursue his plan without the immediate suspicion of his family or peers. This idea receives support through the idea of the author of “Mechanics of Madness in Hamlet”, Shweta Bali, who claims that Hamlet used his false insanity as “ a tool or veneer to act irrationally and assert his
Although his sanity is questionable in earlier scenes, the impulsive murder of Polonius is the first act that unquestionably proves Hamlet’s insanity. Hamlet tells is mother Gertrude that he has killed Polonious, and that it was well deserved. Yet, he does understand that these will come with great consequences from the heavens.
Tragedies may have different plots yet, they all have similar elements. Manipulation is one of those elements, where characters end up with different fates. Hamlet feigned madness, Agamemnon was victimized, and J. Alfred Prufrock manipulated us. One thing that is common, about all three tragedies, is that they ended up in a bad place.
Because Hamlet can see reality so clearly, the growing obsession forces Hamlet to act irrationally when he is confronting other individuals. For example, when talking to Gertrude in the castle bedroom, Hamlet can no longer control his actions, which spur from his emotions, while he refers to Gertrude’s association with Claudius as a matter of “kill[ing] a king” and while he slays Polonius, who is hiding behind a curtain (Scene 4, pg 86-87). Hamlet’s obsession with murdering his father’s killer coincides with the confirmed revelation of Claudius’ actions and Polonius’ death by demonstrating that the prince can no longer remain objective in his goal, which ironically, was his father’s advice. Despite Polonius consistently acting as the “rat” (pg. 87) that Hamlet refers to, and has been aware of, the prince cannot help but allow his irrationality to grip him tightly. As a result, Hamlet can only think in black and white, rather than consider future possibilities. Therefore, the death simply symbolizes that an order can result in horrific consequences, if the follower is
He exclaims to Polonius, “Nor what he spake, though it lacked form a little, / Was not like madness. There’s something in his soul / O’er which his melancholy sits on brood” (3. 1. 177-179). Claudius implies that he thinks Hamlet is ‘brooding’ something behind this madness and is not falling for it. Claudius’s suspicions are confirmed by Hamlet’s rash behavior during the play. Instead of letting the actors say their lines while Horatio watched the King’s expression, Hamlet decides to commentate the play. He says, “ O, but she’ll keep her word,” and, “He poisons him i’th’ garden for his estate.” (3. 2. 255, 287). Hamlet gives himself away with these comments, because he is directly speaking out about Claudius’s crime and his mother’s unfaithfulness. These comments not only affirm Claudius’s previous suspicion of Hamlet’s motives, but cause Claudius to form a hoax of his own to get rid of Hamlet and his ‘madness’ for good. Claudius decides to send his nephew to England because he recognizes that Hamlet isn’t mentally crazy just revenge crazy.
Before the “Queen’s Closet” scene, Claudius is telling Rosencrantz and Guildenstern that he is sending Hamlet to England because he thinks Hamlet’s insanity is risky. Polonius also tells the king that he is going to spy on Hamlet and Gertrude. Polonius tells Gertrude to tell Hamlet off and stop acting crazy. After the scene Gertrude lies for Hamlet and tells Claudius that when he stabbed Polonius through the curtain he yelled “rat rat!” Hamlet also goes away with Polonius’s body and hides it.
William Shakespeare is one of the most recognized playwrights of all time. Shakespeare wrote numerous poems, sonnets, and plays. One of his most famous pieces is Hamlet, which is one of the most recognized plays of today's world. Insanity is a major theme in the play, and can be found in this quotation where Claudius is describing Ophelia. “...poor Ophelia / Divided from herself and her fair judgement, / Without the which we are pictures or mere beasts” (4.5.91-93).
Shakespeare is famous for his portrayal of the human condition at its rawest, most intimate levels, and it is in this same vein that Hamlet demands the reader to consider a highly intuitive abstraction: madness. What is madness? Countless men and women have attempted to pinpoint it, often to the detriment of those both truthfully and falsely labelled under that unfortunate tag. In the debate over what truly constitutes “madness” in Hamlet, particularly as it relates to the mental state of Shakespeare’s eponymous lead, it is very important to take into account both sides of this debate, to comprehend the possible lapses of judgement and wit in Hamlet’s character which could be seen as indicative of a slipping mind: erraticism, incoherent speech,
Is Hamlet a madman or a revenge-seeking genius? This essay is divided into three analytic sections beginning with Hamlet’s madness, and a possibility of why it occurred. Then, an analysis of Hamlet procrastination avenging his father¹s death. Then, Hamlet¹s incestuous acts with his mother are explained, in William Shakespeare’s Hamlet.