Hamlet Essay, Research Paper
Hamlet has mood swings as his mood changes openly throughout the play. Towards
certain people he acts certain ways. Hamlet appears to act mad when he hears of his
father’s murder. No one knows if his madness is a show like he says or real like it seems.
It seems as if there are two Hamlets in the play. One that is sensitive and an ideal prince
and the insane uncivilized Hamlet, who from an outburst of passion and rage slays
Polonius with no feeling of remorse and then talks about lugging his guts into another
room. This is why I say Hamlets madness is less than madness and more than pretend.
Hamlet says he is just acting mad when he states, “I am but mad north-north-west:
when the wind is southerly I know a hawk from a handsaw.” (II,ii,380-381). Admitting so
easily that he is only pretending to be mad, this would suggest that he is comfortable with
his madness. Hamlet also seems to be generally comfortable with acting crazy in this case.
It is puzzling that at this point Hamlet is comfortable with acting, but not with the role that
he said he would play earlier of killing Claudius. This brought on his madness in the first
Hamlet’s behavior throughout the play especially towards Ophelia is unsuitable.
She describes Hamlet’s extremely strange behavior when he came into her room wearing
sordid pants, unbuckled around his ankles. His face, pale as death, knees shaking with the
fear of hell, the actions of an insane person not those of a sane person pretending to be
insane just so they can take revenge on their father’s killer. Hamlet also does something
we wouldn’t expect. He jumps into the grave of Ophelia’s and fights with Laertes about
who loved her more. He professes “I lov’d Ophelia: forty thousand brothers Could not,
with all their quantity of love, Make up my sum.” ( V, i, 270-272], during the fight with
Laertes in Ophelia’s grave. Hamlet tells her that he never loved her when she returns his
letters and gifts, while she was still alive. Hamlet subtly hints his awareness of his
dissolving sanity as he tells Laertes that he killed Polonius in a fit of madness.
Hamlet has violent outbursts towards his mother. His outburst seems to be out of
jealousy. Jealousy towards his mother for remarrying claudius so soon after his father,
Hamlet SR’s death. Hamlet tells his mother “That I essentially am not in maddness, But
mad in craft:” ( III, IV, 187-188). He alone also sees his father’s ghost in his mother’s
chambers. Every time the ghost appeared someone else has also experienced his presence.
During the scene when Hamlet’s talking to his mother he finally shows his madness.
Hamlet’s mother does not see the ghost which makes it look like he’s seeing things or
making it up. “On him, on him. Look you how pale he glares! His form and cause
conjoin’d, preaching to stones, Would make them capable.” (III, IV, 125-127].
Throughout the play, there are also supporting factors to argue Hamlet’s sanity.
As these details compromise his madness to balance out his mental state. Hamlet tells
Horatio that he is going to act mad and if Horatio notices any strange behavior from
Hamlet it is because he is putting on an act. Hamlet’s madness is only apparent when he is
in the presence of certain characters. When Hamlet is around Polonius, Claudius,
Gertrude, Ophelia, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, he behaves unreasonably. When Hamlet
in the presence of Horatio, Bernado, Francisco, The Players, and Gravediggers, his actions
are sensible but not normal. So when it comes down to the point of madness Hamlet may
have been pretending at the beginning and thinks he still is pretending but really he is mad
and can’t stop himself. By Hamlet pretending to be insane, his insane actions cost him his
own life, the life of his mother, the life and love of Ophelia and the stability of the
kingdom. This is why I think that hamlet was really in sane because if he really loved
Ophelia and his mother he wouldn’t have went so far as to see them die as a result of his
actions, or the way he approached to handle things, like killing Claudius. Hamlet would
have had everything done and over with without giving up chances when he had
opportunities. “Now might I do it pat, now a’ is a-praying; And now I’ll do it, and so he
goes to heaven,” (III, iii73-74)
Shakespear, William. Hamlet. Don Mills