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By marlee20000 May 07, 2013 541 Words
In William Shakespeare’s, Hamlet, there are many situations that are enough to bring the character Hamlet to insanity. Although, there are arguments to whether or not he was actually insane. When a character such as Hamlet is under inspection, it can sometimes be difficult to determine what state he is in at particular moments in the play. In Ace IV, scene II, Hamlet’s day has been hectic. After Polonius’s death, he finally determines that Claudius has killed his father. The chance to kill Claudius challenges him, and he comes really close to convincing Gertrude that Claudius killed his father. Hamlet accidentally kills Polonius and finally, the ghost of his father comes to visit him. At this point, these situations create many reasons why Hamlet is believed to be insane. Hamlet reveals to his friends and to his mother his plans to pretend to be insane. He tells Horatio that he is going to “feign madness” and that if Horatio notices a strange behavior from him, it’s because he is putting on an act. In addition to his confessions, Hamlet’s madness only establishes itself when he is in the presence of certain characters. When Hamlet is around Polonius, Claudius, Gertrude, Ophelia, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, he behaves crazily. When he is around Horatio, Bernardo, Francisco, the Players and the Gravediggers, he behaves sensibly. Some of the characters come to realize the Hamlet isn’t crazy. Claudius admits that even though Hamlet’s actions were strange, they didn’t come from the fact that he was crazy. Also, Polonius admits that Hamlet’s actions had a reason for coming about, and that they are logical in nature. Hamlet is also able to make smart remarks to Rosencrantz and Guildenstern by comparing them to sponges. “When he needs what you have gleaned, it is but squeezing you and, sponge, you shall be dry again.” This is very random, like many of his actions were, but the comparison makes sense. Rosencrantz and Guildenstern ‘soak up’ all of the kings favors, only to become ‘dry’ again after they ‘mop up’ the King’s mess, which was spying on Hamlet, and getting Polonius’s body. Later, with Claudius, Hamlet says how humble a king can be by saying, “A man may fish with the worm that hath eat of a king, and eat of the fish that hath fed of that worm.” This also makes sense, but it isn’t random like the comparison to sponges. When Hamlet confronts Claudius, and the king asks where Polonius is, Hamlet instantly begins the comparison by telling Claudius that Polonius is at dinner. This shows that Hamlet had some kind of planning for this comment, and that his thoughts are not dispersed and he is able to stay focused. Hamlet believes is his sanity at all times and he never doubts the control of his mind, which brings about a question of what being insane really is. Is Hamlet really crazy? If he is, what caused him to become insane? Is it his unwillingness to take revenge? Is it his confused feelings about his mother? Is he sometimes pretending to be crazy and at other times sincerely unstable? All of these questions remain unanswered, but it can be concluded that there was a method to Hamlet’s madness.

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