December 10, 2012
Lit 1st Period
A Play Becomes Reality
Anger and revenge can get into anyone’s head and make him or her mad and insane. Pretending to be mad and putting on an act will eventually lead one to actual madness. The play Hamlet by William Shakespeare provides a great example of how someone can transform from acting mad to becoming insane and letting one’s emotions take over. After seeing the ghost and learning about his father’s murder, Prince’s Hamlet’s act of madness soon turns into a reality, making Hamlet insane.
An attempt to play off insanity can work at first, but over time, a reality settles in. And when first being told about his father’s murder by the ghost, young Hamlet immediately decides to avenge this sinful act and kill Claudius, the murderer and new king. In order to do this, Hamlet must feign insanity and draw in attention. Beginning his plan, Hamlet tells Horatio and Marcellus about the ghost, the murder, and his act. “As I perchance hereafter shall think meet to put an antic disposition on” (Shakespeare 67). Not knowing how much pressure the vengeance will put on him, Hamlet decides that the fake madness will work. This plan, this fake madness, does not make Hamlet an actor, but rather an artist, according to T.S. Eliot. Eliot writes in 20th Century Interpretations of Hamlet, “The ordinary person puts these feelings to sleep; the artist keeps them alive by his ability to intensify the world of his emotions” (Eliot 26). This is the exact thing Hamlet does, and with a plan to act emotionally unbalanced set up, Hamlet begins to appear and act unhinged around people.
People soon start to notice how demented and nutty Hamlet appears while he carries out his operation . By dressing down and being leery when visiting Ophelia, he gets her attention. She describes Hamlet and his dementia to her father and exclaiming he had been “loosed out of hell” (Shakespeare 75). Hamlet wants people to think he is insane and...