Hamlets Sanity Essay, Research Paper
Hamlet is not insane. He is a loyal subject, he has a true sense of right and wrong, and at heart is a good person. These points are proven in several passages of the play. He is called “valiant”, “sweet and gentle”, and his mother begs him to return to his former self. We know the seeing of the ghost is not a reason to call him insane. This is because; he is not the first to see it. Also he sees the ghost while in the presence of others. Now he is the only one to hear it speak, or so we think. Horatio may have heard it by his statement “O day and night, but this is wondrous strange”. Also by the fact that during the swearing on the sword, the ghost remarks “Swear by his sword” and no mention of whether or not the others heard it or not.
Others perceive hamlet as “mad” according to his actions. Actions such as his deteriorating appearance (…with his doublet all unbraced…), his indecision (“To be, or not to be…”), and confusion. When all the while Hamlet is just trying to cope with all that has transpired. The death of his father, the all too soon remarriage of his mother to his uncle. All of these events shook Hamlet’s faith in the way of things (”…’tis an unweeded garden that grows to seed; things rank and gross in nature…”). I do believe I would act much the same.
As the events unfold we see Hamlet growing more and more crafty in the way he deals with these problems. He tasks the players to enact a play which has the same qualities / events in how Claudius killed Hamlet’s father. Hamlet then instructs Horatio to watch the kings’ reaction to the play. This shows a cunning, sly and sane mind. The ability to set a trap does not prove sanity but, for the reasoning of it does.
Hamlets “mad” actions can be explained away. His boarding of the pirate ship alone, since he knows he is on his way to England to die, what has he to lose? His seemingly arbitrary killing of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern is justified in the fact that they plotted with the King to destroy him. His killing of Polonius, although not justifiable in the fact he thought him to be Claudius (“…I took thee for thy better”). The fight with Laertes in the grave of Ophelia, is explained that Laertes attacked Hamlet first. Hamlet does not want a confrontation as of yet (“…take thy fingers from my throat”).
We see as time goes on and the treachery against Hamlet increases, so does Hamlets anger and desire to right the wrongs. He becomes more cunning, asking Ophelia where her father is, knowing she will lie and NOT say “Watching us”. He starts to realize that he must now fight fire with fire. He is much sterner with Ophelia, “Get the to a nunnery”, as well as with his mother (“…as kill a king, and marry his brother.”), (“This was your husband. Look what now follows…”). We see him become decidedly bloodthirsty, (…my thoughts be bloody or be nothing worth!”). I think the end of act 4 scene 4 is where Hamlet finally decides on his course of action. I believe this is where he can stand the injustices no longer.
The conclusion of this play is more justification to prove Hamlet sane. At the end all of the plotting and treachery he perceived is brought to life. The killing of his father by his uncle, and the plot against his life by the king through Laertes proves his suspicions correct. Moreover, does not only Hamlet see this, but the whole of the court present. The court sees the use of poison, which the Queen inadvertently takes as well as the poison on the sword of Laertes. Had Hamlet only been more decisive and direct, and had killed Claudius much sooner, the Queen, Ophelia, Laertes, Polonius, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern would not have died.