Themes Of Madness Of Hamlet English Literature Essay Free Essay

“ To be or non to be ” begins one of the most celebrated monologues of all clip by an writer that has stood the trial of clip, William Shakespeare in his drama, Hamlet. There are several different subjects that are relayed within Hamlet ‘s narrative. These subjects include decease, compulsion, and treachery, all of which contribute in some mode to promote Hamlet ‘s lunacy. In every subject, the audience can associate on a cosmopolitan degree both back in the twenty-four hours and in modern-day times as decease, compulsion and treachery are common entities, good known today and will go on to be known and understood until the terminal of clip. There are many overlapping subjects that all relate back to Hamlet ‘s lunacy, specifically including decease, compulsion, and treachery.

Nature of Hamlet

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The implicit in subject of lunacy is represented rather frequently in the drama. In the drama, Hamlet exhibits a enigmatic nature. Hamlet contradicts himself throughout out the drama. He endorses both of the virtuousnesss of moving a function and being true to one ‘s ego. He farther supports both of these conflicting indorsements with his actions. This ambiguity is demonstrated by his alleged lunacy, for he does act frantically, merely to go absolutely unagitated and rational an instant later. These incompatibilities are related with the internal quandary he faces. He struggles with the issue of avenging his male parent ‘s decease, vowing to kill Claudius and so endorsing out, several times.

In the first act Hamlet appears to be really straightforward in his actions and interior province. When questioned by Gertrude about his melancholic visual aspect Hamlet says, “ Seems, dame? Nay it is. I know non seems ” ( 1.2.76 ) . This is to state “ I am what I appear to be. ” Subsequently he makes a clear statement about his province when he commits himself to avenge. In this statement the drama makes an easy to follow displacement. This displacement consists of Hamlet giving up the function of a pupil and mourning boy. Hamlet says, ” I ‘ll pass over off all fiddling fond records, All proverbs of books, all signifiers, all force per unit areas past, That young person and observation copied at that place, And thy commandment all entirely shall populate Within the book and volume of my encephalon ( 1.5.99aˆ‘103 ) Hamlet is declaring that he will be committed to nil else but the retaliation of his male parents decease.


When Hamlet appears once more in act two, it seems that he has lost the strong belief that was present before. He has yet to take up the portion assigned to him by the shade. He spends the act walking about, reading, speaking with Polonius, Rosencrantz, Guildenstern, and the participants. It is non until the really terminal of the act that he even references retribution. If he had any of the strong belief shown earlier he would be soon working on his retribution. So alternatively of playing the portion of vindictive boy, or dropping the issue wholly, he hangs out in the center, feigning to be huffy. This is shown when he says to Rosencrantz and Guildenstern “ I know notaˆ‘lost all my hilarity, foregone all usage of exercising ” ( 2.2.298aˆ‘299 ) . Subsequently he tells them that he is merely shaming lunacy when he says, “ I am but huffy northaˆ‘northaˆ‘west, when the air current is southward, I know a hawk from a hand saw ” ( 2.2.380aˆ‘381 ) . Admiting so blatantly that he is merely feigning lunacy would connote that he is comfy with it. He besides seems to be by and large comfy with moving. This is evidenced when he says, “ there is nil either good or bad but believing makes it so ” ( 2.2.251aˆ‘252 ) . Hamlet is stating that behaviour forms world. Hamlet is prompted to retribution, once more, by the traveling address that is given by one of the participants. About this address he says,

“ What ‘s Hecuba to him, or he to Hecuba, That he should cry for her? What would he make Had he motor and cue for passion, That I have? ( 2.2.561aˆ‘564 ) In this congratulations of this participants ability to move, Hamlet is stating that if he were such an histrion he would hold killed Claudius by now. This nexus between retribution and moving that is present here is what Hamlet struggles with until really near the terminal.

When Hamlet is reding the participant on how his lines should be read he says, “ Suit the action to the word, the word to the action ” ( 3.2.17aˆ‘18 ) . If Hamlet would follow his ain advice he would non hold a struggle. This shows that he is non consistent within himself. Hamlet is stating one should non separate between word and actions, but he does keep this separation. Yet when Hamlet speaks with Horatio he praises him for being nonsubjective, levelheaded, and for holding a consistent character. He is praising Horatio for being true to himself, non being an histrion. Hamlet says, ” Give me that adult male, That is non passion ‘s slave, and I will have on him, In my bosom ‘s nucleus, ay, in my bosom of bosom, As I do thee. ( 3.2.69aˆ‘72 )

Hamlet is stating this because he wants Horatio to watch the King at the drama. He is diffident of his uncle ‘s guilt, and he wants cogent evidence. He wants it from person who he thinks is honorable throughout. It comes back to moving and retribution or in this instance he has failed in his retribution and needs Horatio to hold with him. Hamlet says to Horatio, ” Observe mine uncle. If his occulted guilt, Do non itself unkernnel in one address, It is a dammed shade we have seen, ( 3.2.77aˆ‘80 ) Proof, nevertheless, does non hold any thing to make with the function Hamlet is supposed to play, but there is more to it than that. The interesting thing is that his uncle will be judged by how he acts during the drama. If the King is a good histrion, and does non demo his guilt, he will most likely non be killed. However, the King is non a good histrion and when he rises Hamlet responds with, “ What, frighten with false fire? ” ( 3.2.254 ) . It ‘s as if Hamlet is stating it ‘s merely a drama, it ‘s non existent. He does state something to this consequence a few lines before. “ Your stateliness, and we that have free psyches, it touches us non ” ( 3.2.229aˆ‘230 ) . This new cogent evidence thrusts Hamlet to utilize more words. He is once more to speak of violent death, and he says, “ Now I could imbibe hot blood ” ( 3.2.379 ) . He once more associates this with a function, that of Nero. “ The psyche of Nero enter this house bosom ” ( 3.2.383 ) . Later Hamlet once more negotiations himself out of character and does non kill the King. He puts it off until subsequently and says, ” When he is intoxicated asleep, or in his fury, At gambling, curse, or about some act, That has no gusto of redemption in it, Then trip him that his heels may kick at Eden, And that his psyche may be dammed and black ( 3.3.89aˆ‘94 )


Hamlet often thinks about self-destruction throughout the class of the drama. Hamlet ‘s position on his life can be seen in his “ To be or non to be ” address. “ Whether ‘t is nobler in the head to endure The slings and pointers of hideous luck, Or to take weaponries against a sea of problems, And, by opposing, stop them. To decease, to sleep- No more, and by a slumber to state we end The grief and the thousand natural dazes ” is merely the beginning of his poetry ( 3.1.59-64 ) . By adverting the ideas of enduring the “ slings ” and “ pointers ” that are of course life ‘s trials, followed by the consideration of confronting a “ sea of problems ” by life, it is evident that he desires to see decease. Hamlet hopes to avoid and non to be subjected to inevitable “ grief ” that is merely portion of life, and by wishing to non hold to digest hurting, exhibits his wish to decease. At the terminal, Hamlet has seemingly made the determination that he would instead decease, but if, and merely if he were non afraid of what would come after decease. In a mode of speech production, this besides reflected Hamlet ‘s depression in that he would invariably believe about decease. He was melancholic to state the least. The inquiry remains as to whether or non this is madness. In truth, it is possible that because he contemplates suicide in a really existent manner, it could perchance be thought of every bit lunacy as it is non a idea that any normal individual would of all time hold. Alternatively, a normal person may see issues in life that need to be dealt with alternatively of run off from which may hold been what Hamlet was making. Madness surrounds this possibility of decease because most persons will ne’er truly contemplate taking their ain life in any normal fortunes. In any event, Hamlet ‘s uncertainness is besides what drives Hamlet ‘s compulsions, which revolve around the treachery taking to the decease of his male parent.

Compulsion and Betrayal

Hamlet ‘s compulsion revolves around the treachery his household has faced at the custodies of his uncle. Despite the fact that Hamlet appears to hold been given grounds that his uncle did, as a affair of fact, slay his male parent, it seems as though this alleged grounds is merely non plenty for Hamlet to be perfectly certain. “ Where wilt though lead me? Speak ; I ‘ll travel no farther ” Hamlet begins in Scene V ( Shakespeare ) Although this statement may be perceived as Hamlet trying to stand his land in hunt for replies as to what is go oning, the other side of this could besides be that he is slightly afraid of the ghost that is standing in forepart of him. During Shakespeare ‘s clip period, fright of shades was non unusual because it was believed that shades did so be as a manner of explicating sometimes what seemed to be supernatural things. The shade of Shakespeare ‘s Hamlet first appears in Act I and reveals truths to Hamlet, one of which is acknowledging that he is Hamlet ‘s murdered male parent. A conversation takes topographic point between Hamlet and the shade of his dead male parent where the shade openly accuses Claudius, Hamlet ‘s uncle, of holding been the liquidator by saying that “ The snake that did biting thy male parent ‘s life Now wears his Crown ” ( 1.5.39-40 ) . If the shade is so Hamlet ‘s male parent and is to be believed, theoretically, the shade ‘s accusal should be all of the cogent evidence that Hamlet needs, yet he continually searches for cogent evidence, all the piece replacing normal joys with his compulsion to cognize the absolute truth behind the treachery the resulted in the decease of his darling male parent. Finally, his compulsion with his male parent ‘s decease gets reinforced by an addition in separation from his household every bit good as his loved 1s.

Simply seeing a shade raises inquiries of lunacy because world says that there are no such things as shades, but yet, people still claim to see shades. In this peculiar instance, it can be thought that Hamlet descended into lunacy even farther as he attempted to come to footings with several factors that surrounded this peculiar event in the drama. The first factor that truly stands out is the fact that Hamlet sees a shade period. Not excessively many people will see such things unless they are possibly clinically and mentally disturbed. That is the first deduction that signals Hamlet ‘s lunacy. It continues even as others see what Hamlet sees. Even Hamlet ‘s friends, Horatio and Marcellus, see him after Hamlet has seen his male parent ‘s shade. Hamlet truly wants closing for the loss of his male parent and as such, desperately wants confidences as to what has been witnessed from his friends ‘ positions. While his friends fear the shade, Hamlet feels as though he must travel in order for the shade to speak to him. Is it madness that drives him to travel Forth and effort to pass on with the shade? Honestly, it can be looked at from either position. Simply believing that an person can even speak to a shade is slightly distressing. There would hold to be some kind of mental unwellness or obstruction at that place to believe that he genuinely was speaking to his male parent ‘s shade. At the same clip, possibly it was non madness as it could hold been because there are many different ways that an single learns to get by with what they are covering with. In this instance, Hamlet must larn to cover with the loss of his male parent and possibly seeing something like a ghost is in fact his get bying mechanism. That can non perchance be healthy, but for deficiency of better account, at least it is a manner to get by. On the other manus, it can even be questioned as to whether or non he may alternatively be sing a true mental unwellness like schizophrenic disorder. The lone ground that can be tossed out the window as an option is because his friends besides see the shade even if they are incognizant as to who or what it is supposed to stand for. Besides sing the fact that the lone individual that the shade negotiations to is Hamlet, it would look that possibly this was besides because Hamlet was the lone one willing to see and speak to the shade. Possibly that is besides a mark of lunacy as he allowed himself to pass on with person that truly should non be in any existent scientific mode. Since Hamlet seemed to be far past the thought true saneness, it would farther look that his speaking to a shade would merely add to the lunacy that is Hamlet.

As the drama progresses, Hamlet has become separate emotionally from his household and the adult female he one time proclaimed to love, Ophelia. He would instead force Ophelia off and promote her to travel to a nunnery because of the manner he has come to see adult females in general. He goes on to state her that he loved her one time, merely to state that Ophelia “ should non hold believed me, for virtuousness can non so inoculate our old stock but we shall enjoy of it. I loved you non ” ( 3.1.119-121 ) . How hurtful that was to the just Ophelia and did nil but do her want for the Hamlet she one time knew. Clinical depression exhibits withdrawal from loved 1s, as Hamlet has done here with Ophelia. Hamlet even finds it necessary to be coarse towards Ophelia as it would hold been impossible for him to go on to love her while at the same time trying to revenge Hamlet pulled off from the adult female he had one time proclaimed to love and still continued to contemplate his male parent ‘s decease every bit good as his ain.

The decease of Hamlet ‘s male parent is besides brooding of the types of dramas that were written of the clip which were morality dramas. The drama contains many elements that are evocative of the Dark Ages such as the thought of the state being diseased like a physical being which reminds the audience of the pestilence that had run rampant during mediaeval times. It is interesting that the wellness of the state and the wellbeing of the household are so closely related in such a mode that the state really reflects the household. This brings forth the dark ages to the audience because the people held the royal household mostly responsible for the pestilence and felt as though the royal household could hold done more for the people as opposed to merely acquiring off. Denmark is invariably described as a physical individual that has been made ailment by the moral corruptness within the household. In composing Hamlet, Shakespeare wrote what was common for that clip which was a morality drama. Clearly, morality played a important portion in the full piece as Hamlet struggled with the thought of decease. After the male monarch ‘s decease, Hamlet is obsessed with decease and looks at decease from several different points of position. Then once more, decease was a common constituent of life during the dark ages what with the pestilence holding run its class through Europe. With all of the environing devastation, contemplating decease was normal, but for Hamlet, it took a somewhat different turn.

Real Madness or Not?

Some might reason that Hamlet ‘s lunacy was existent or non, but in truth, it was a genuinely black clip in Hamlet ‘s life. His male parent had passed off and his uncle had merely married his widowed female parent. This was so followed by the visual aspect of the shade of his dead male parent with instructions for retaliation, and so as if that were non plenty, Ophelia ‘s male parent had made it impossible for Hamlet to see her. It is no admiration that Hamlet had episodes of lunacy throughout the drama and appeared to lose touch with world a figure of times. In all world, Hamlet ne’er to the full lost touch with world and as such did finally halt exhibiting his insanity after his statement with Laertes in the cemetery. Even in sing the retaliation that was plotted against Claudius required some kind of world clasp in order to be after something efficaciously for it to truly work. Once Hamlet saw his shade of a male parent, his exclusive intent in life was to bring out the truth about the affair and revenge his male parent should it be deemed necessary. From that position, lunacy seemed to be the perfect vas to pull strings the manner that the people worked around him. In fact, lunacy allowed him to confound Polonius into believing that Ophelia was the root of his lunacy so much in fact that Polonius went to the male monarch and queen who besides seem inclined to believe that Ophelia could in fact be the cause of Hamlet ‘s lunacy. For Hamlet to transport this on efficaciously, he would hold had to retain some kind of connexion to world in order to pull strings those that would otherwise uncertainty whether or non he really knew what he was speaking about. Hamlet was a superb adult male so!

Final Ideas

It would look that being a good histrion is overriding to survival in this drama. Polonius could non lodge to the function of advisor and was seeking to convert the King that Hamlet was in love with his girl. This leads him to descry on Hamlet, and because he could non make that right either, is killed. Ophelia could non manage the function of mourning for her male parent, goes huffy and dies as a consequence. The King could non cover up his guilt, so Hamlet has the cogent evidence he needs to spur him on. Overall, Hamlet, who if he would hold acted as the shade instructed him to in the first topographic point, alternatively of somersault flopping about, would hold killed Claudius outright. Had Hamlet been genuinely comfy with moving, Claudius would hold been the lone causality.

Depending on how Hamlet is examined, it would look that there are both existent and non rather so existent turns of lunacy. Give the clip in his life, it would be more likely that Hamlet would in fact be a victim of lunacy while still retaining some of his ability to maintain in touch with world to some extent. This fond regard is what kept Hamlet from traveling wholly over the border, but finally, his lunacy is what caused the narrative to take the way that it did because his lunacy led to his compulsion which bled over into several different other subjects within the drama.

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