The Motif Of Madness In Shakespeare's Hamlet

380 Words2 Pages
If up until now our discussion portrayed Hamlet´s intellect and his brilliant manipulation of the other characters, now it is time to focus on his maniacal behavior and its justification. The Motif of Madness is simple as well as complicated: Hamlet knows his father was killed by Claudius, and he has to obtain retribution, “revenge his foul and most unnatural murder” (1.5.25). Yet, the King´s crime must at all cost be kept a secret in order for his plan to function, so Hamlet believes that he has no other choice but to keep his resettlement to himself as a mean to an end: to vindicate his father´s killing (”but break, my heart, for I must hold my tongue” (1.2.158)). Thus, Hamlet is assuming his “antic disposition” consciously and of set purpose, and by doing so he becomes a hero, the avenger of his father´s murder,…show more content…
Hamlet denies it.
Who does it, then? His madness. If’t be so,
Hamlet is of the faction that is wronged.
His madness is poor Hamlet’s enemy.”(5.2.180-85)

The mental instability that Hamlet manifests lies not in his own consciousness, but in the pragmatic way of thinking that he adopts, and that ultimately poisons his faculty of reason: " I essentially am not in madness/ But mad in craft." (3.4.176-77). Thus Hamlet´s trap depends on his genius interpretation of insanity, and for that he has to palpably play the madman, which he does with the utmost brilliance ,and that afterwards makes it difficult to believe he was ever sane. Unmasking the scheming murder of his father is not an easy task, this much we have established, but the real problems appear when Hamlet “thinking too precisely on the event” (4.4.40-41), loses sight of reality, and crosses that thin line between right and wrong, between who is innocent and who must pay the consequences of his father´s death.
But the problem
Open Document