Hamlet: Hamlet's Sanity


“Great wits are sure to madness near allied, and thin partitions do
their bounds divide.” Though John Dryden's quote was not made in regard to
William Shakespeare's Hamlet, it relates very well to the argument of
whether or not Hamlet went insane. When a character such as Hamlet is under
scrutiny, it can sometimes be difficult to determine what state he is in at
particular moments in the play. Nonetheless, Hamlet merely pretends to be
insane so that he can calculate his moves according to the situation at
hand.
There are many situations throughout the play that are enough to
bring Hamlet to insanity. Take, for example, Act IV, scene II, after
Polonius's death. Hamlet's day has been ...

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p. 129).
Hamlet reveals to his friends and his mother of his plans to
pretend act insane. He tells Horatio that he is going to "feign madness,"
and that if Horatio notices any strange behavior from Hamlet, it is because
he is putting on an act. (I, v). Hamlet also tells his mother that he is
not mad, "but mad in craft." (III, iv). In addition to his confessions,
Hamlet's madness only manifests itself when he is in the presence of
certain characters. When Hamlet is around Polonius, Claudius, Gertrude,
Ophelia, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, he behaves irrationally. When Hamlet
is around Horatio, Bernardo, Francisco, The Players and the Gravediggers,
he behaves rationally (Bevington, p. 59).
Some of the characters themselves come to realize that Hamlet is
not mad. Claudius confesses that Hamlet's "actions although strange, do not
appear to stem from madness." (III, i). In addition, Polonius admits that
Hamlet's actions and words have a "method" to them; there appears to be ...

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Added: 3/10/2006 12:30:24 PM
Category: Arts
Type: Premium Paper
Words: 665
Pages: 3

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