A Taste of Madness

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Rodriguez 1
Nick Rodriguez
Ms. Sanchez
English IV
February 17, 2012

A Taste Of Madness

In the play known as Hamlet, written by William Shakespeare, the sane Hamlet occasionally switches between a state of sanity and insanity. When madness complements Hamlet's purpose, he puts on an act of extravagance. On the other hand, when sanity proves acceptable, Hamlet returns to his normal, logical self. Hamlet claims he is "mad north-north-west" (II.ii.376), meaning his sanity is uncontrollable and unpredictable. Hence, in order to achieve his short-term goals, Hamlet shifts between sanity and insanity, which ironically, stalls his chance at revenge.

First off, Hamlet leads into a realm of insanity in order to achieve his short-term goals. Hamlet does so by making use of his alleged insanity as a weapon. He does so by converting insanity into the arrangement of either words or actions. Furthermore, I see being strange that Hamlet shows characteristics of insanity strictly towards enemies or his enemy's allies. A situation in which this was evident, was when Hamlet verbally attacks Ophelia with words: "are you honest" (III.i.104), "are you fair" (III.i.106). Hamlet "speak[s] daggers" (III.ii.387) to Gertrude, because she is an obstacle to Hamlet. Also, Hamlet murders Polonius with such hate that Hamlet guarantees Polonius is "dead, for a ducat, dead" (III.iv.25). Hamlet gravely harms both Ophelia and Gertrude with his words of insanity. This happens while Polonius is sent to the grave with his actions of insanity. All three people, Ophelia, Gertrude, and Polonius, are Claudius' allies, and by hurting Claudius' allies, Hamlet is indirectly hurting Claudius. This is Hamlet's short-term goal: Rodriguez 2

to rid Claudius of allies. Besides using insanity to harm Claudius' allies, the mere presence of Hamlet's insanity troubles Claudius. Hamlet understands the potential of madness; madness blurs reality and shrouds truth,...
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