A Critical Analysis of Shakespeare's Hamlet

Only available on StudyMode
  • Download(s) : 1802
  • Published : October 8, 1999
Open Document
Text Preview
A Critical Analysis of Shakespeare's Hamlet

Dave Beaston

Hamlet. Is he an insane madman or a revengeful, scheming, genius? There are many conflicting ideas and theories on this subject, and hopefully this paper may be of some assistance in clearing up the confusion. The paper is divided into three separate analytic sections beginning with the beginning of Hamlet's so called madness, and why it may have occurred. Next, is an analysis of why Hamlet delays revenging his father's death. To conclude the paper, Hamlet's incestuous acts towards his mother are discussed, in William Shakespeare's Hamlet.

In the first act Hamlet seems to be in a perfectly sane state of mind throughout all five scenes. It is in the second scene where the audience begins to see a change in his character. Ophelia meets with Polonius and recalls the meeting she had previously with Hamlet. She tells her father that Hamlet came to her disheveled and in a shaken state of mind, speaking of "horrors." (Act 2 Scene 2 line 94). Her father immediately believes that he is "Mad for thy love?" (Act 2 Scene 2 line 95). Opelia answers a question posed by Polonius by which she replied that she had told Hamlet that she could not see or communicate with him any more. Her father makes reference to Hamlet's madness once again by proclaiming that what his daughter said, "... hath made him (Hamlet) mad." (Act 2 Scene 2 line 123).

The argument of whether Hamlet is insane because of his love for Ophelia is often debated, but a more confusing and complex situation is the struggle within Hamlet's mind. His personal struggle is revealed to the audience in scene one of the third act. In this scene Hamlet recites his famous "To be or not to be- that is the question:" (Act 3 Scene 1 line 64) speech. Here the the audience truly realizes that Hamlet is torn two ways in his life. To be or not to be, essentially is Hamlet debating on whether he should toil the pains of living in such...
tracking img