The Destructive Nature of Depression on the Mind in Shakespeare’s “Hamlet”
Depression destroys a person’s ability to maintain concentration and is most often linked with feelings of hopelessness. From the moment the audience meets Hamlet, this deep depression is easily seen to surround him. Depression is not only responsible for Hamlet’s madness but also his improper downfall. Shakespeare’s dynamic character is trapped in a cycle of depression and madness; stemming from his father’s murder and his mother’s marriage to his Uncle and now King, Claudius. William Shakespeare’s Hamlet emphasizes Hamlet’s depression leading to madness and his ultimate destruction through negative thinking, jumping to conclusions and a fascination with death.
Upon meeting the ghost and learning about his father’s murder, Hamlet is sent into a sea of emotions. The appearance of his father’s ghost and its demand for revenge places Hamlet under high expectations and a lot of pressure. As Hamlet’s depression worsens his thoughts and lack of revenge push him to constantly attack and ridicule himself. “Yet I, a dull and muddy-mettled rascal, peak, like John-a-dreams, unpregnant of my cause… Am I a coward?” (2. 2. 542-547) Hamlet is disgusted with himself; he feels lazy and acts like he has no purpose for revenge. This negativity creates further frustration and essentially a as Gertrude Morin puts it, “cognitive logic error that leads to and reinforces the depressive’s negative view” (4). This not only worsens Hamlet’s depression but again, is responsible for leading him into madness and his own death.
Jumping to conclusions can have positive and negative effects on a person’s life. Within Hamlet’s circumstance, he overanalyzes the negativities in life and completely overlooks the positives. These quick conclusions are due to his depression and place another setback on his stability of mind. As Hamlet jumps to conclusions, he becomes more and more discontent with himself and with the...
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