Hamlet Madness

Hamlet Madness “Hamlets Unknown Madness” The marriage of the king and queen within two months of the death of Hamlets father had left Hamlet disillusioned, confused, and suspicious of Claudius, the King of Denmark. In Act I, Scene V, Hamlets belief in his fathers “real ghost” had him in an outrage and, he thus vows to avenge his fathers death. Ophelia encountered Hamlet in her private chambers and observed that he was disturbed. She was very disturbed and afraid because, “Lord Hamlet, with his doublet all unbracd; no hat upon his head; his stockings fould ungartred, and down-gyved to his ankle; pale as his shirt; his knees knocking each other..” (1409). Hamlet truly loves Ophelia, but at that particular moment, he did not want to express his feelings to her.

Ophelia tells her dad, Polonius, about her meeting with Hamlet and Polonius concludes that Hamlet is nothing but a love struck fool who has gone mad. Polonius wanted to assure the king and queen that he knows, “the very cause of Hamlets lunacy” (1411). The king and queen were skeptical to believe Polonius story of Hamlets lust and lunacy for Ophelia. Polonius effort to damage Hamlets reputation will not end there. Polonius approached the king and queen with a letter that can prove his theory of Hamlets madness. Polonius said, “therefore, since brevity is the soul of wit, and tediousness the limbs and outward flourishes, I will be brief: your noble son is mad ” (1412).

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Even though the king heard Hamlets letter cited by Polonius, he conspired to find a solution for Hamlets madness in his own fashion. The king had Guilderstern and Rosencrantz act as spies so that they could either find or gain information toward Hamlets madness. After Hamlets request to the players to act out the Murder of Gonzago, Claudius was beginning to feel the wrath of his offense. Claudius said, “O, my offence is rank, it smells to heaven; it hath the primal eldest curse upont, a brothers murder, pray can I not, though inclination be as sharp as will..” (1439). This is when Hamlets agonizing struggles became difficult.

Hamlet could have taken his revenge while Claudius was praying, but Hamlet was confused and couldnt avenge his fathers death while Claudius was purging his soul. Hamlet said, “why, this is hire and salary, not revenge..But in our circumstances and course of thought, tis heavy with him: and I then revengd, to take him in the purging of his soul, when he is fit and seasoned for his passage” (1440)? The king knows his guilt and when he prays he states, “my words fly up, my thoughts remain below: words without thoughts never to heaven go” (1440). It is in Act III, Scene IV, that we see Hamlet approach his mother Gertrude and question the way she had offended his father in which she married Hamlets uncle soon after her husbands death. The sneaky and witty Polonius was behind the curtain but Hamlet did not know it. While questioning his mother about the death of his father, he heard a voice coming from behind the curtain: Hamlet turned with sword in hand and stabbed the person behind the curtain.

He said, “How now! A rat? Dead, for a ducat, dead” (1441)! At first, Hamlet thought he killed the king, but instead he killed Polonius in which he felt was better, “thou wretched, rash, intruding fool, farewell! I took thee for thy better: take thy fortune..(1441) Hamlet struggled throughout the play. Although he is an intelligent man, the madness that descended upon him with his supernatural observation of the ghost of his father leads to his death. Furthermore, toward the end of the play, I get a clear understanding that he had fulfilled the revenge of his father. From the unwary death of Ophelia, the poison drink that took Gertrudes life, the vengeful dual of death between Laertes and Hamlet, we see Hamlets unknown madness of revenge when Hamlet kills the king of Denmark.

Hamlet Madness

Hamlet is mad, feigns madness or his pretense turns into real madness. Outline
arguments for all three and discuss. 1.Hamlet begins with guards whose main
importance in the play is to give credibility to the ghost. If Hamlet were to
see his fathers ghost in private, the argument for his madness would greatly
improve. Yet, not one, but three men together witness the ghost before even
thinking to notify Hamlet. As Horatio says, being the only of the guards to play
a significant role in the rest of the play, “Before my God, I might not
this believe / Without the sensible and true avouch / Of mine own eyes.

(I.i.56-8)” Horatio, who appears frequently throughout the play, acts as an
unquestionably sane alibi to Hamlet again when framing the King with his
reaction to the play. That Hamlet speaks to the ghost alone detracts somewhat
from its credibility, but all the men are witness to the ghost demanding they
speak alone. Horatio offers an insightful warning: What if it tempts you toward
the flood, my lord, Or to the dreadful summit of the cliff That beetles oer
his base into the sea, And there assume some other horrible form Which might
deprive your sovereignty of reason, And draw you into madness? Think of it.

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(I.iv.69-74) Horatios comment may be where Hamlet gets the idea to use a plea
of insanity to work out his plan. The important fact is that the ghost does not
change form, but rather remains as the King and speaks to Hamlet rationally.

There is also good reason for the ghost not to want the guards to know what he
tells Hamlet, as the play could not proceed as it does if the guards were to
hear what Hamlet did. It is the ghost of Hamlets father who tells him,
“but howsomever thou pursues this act, / Taint not thy mind.

(I.v.84-5)” Later, when Hamlet sees the ghost again in his mothers room,
her amazement at his madness is quite convincing. Yet one must take into
consideration the careful planning of the ghosts credibility earlier in the
play. After his first meeting with the ghost, Hamlet greets his friends
cheerfully and acts as if the news is good rather than the devastation it really
is. Horatio: What news, my lord? Hamlet: O, wonderful! Horatio: Good my lord,
tell it. Hamlet: No, you will reveal it. (I.v.118-21) This is the first glimpse
of Hamlets ability and inclination to manipulate his behavior to achieve
effect. Clearly Hamlet is not feeling cheerful at this moment, but if he lets
the guards know the severity of the news, they might suspect its nature. Another
instance of Hamlets behavior manipulation is his meeting with Ophelia while
his uncle and Polonius are hiding behind a curtain. Hamlets affection for
Ophelia has already been established in I.iii., and his complete rejection of
her and what has transpired between them is clearly a hoax. Hamlet somehow
suspects the eavesdroppers, just as he guesses that Guildenstern and Rosencrantz
are sent by the King and Queen to question him and investigate the cause of his
supposed madness in II.ii. Hamlets actions in the play after meeting the
ghost lead everyone except Horatio to believe he is crazy, yet that madness is
continuously checked by an ever-present consciousness of action which never lets
him lose control. For example, Hamlet questions his conduct in his soliloquy at
the end of II.ii, but after careful consideration decides to go with his
instinct and prove to himself without a doubt the Kings guilt before
proceeding rashly. Even after the Kings guilt is proven with Horatio as
witness, Hamlet again reflects and uses his better judgement in the soliloquy at
the end of III.ii. before seeing his mother. He recognizes his passionate
feelings, but tells himself to “speak daggers to her, but use none,”
as his fathers ghost instructed. Again, when in the Kings chamber, Hamlet
could perform the murder, but decides not to in his better judgement to ensure
that he doesnt go to heaven by dying while praying. As Hamlet tells
Guildenstern in II.ii., “I am but mad north-north-west: when the wind is
southerly I know a hawk from a handsaw.” This statement reveals out-right
Hamlets intent to fool people with his odd behavior. This is after Polonius
enlightened comment earlier in the same scene, “though this be madness, yet
there is method int.”
Shakespeare

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