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Hamlet Madness

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Madness may be “mental incapacity caused by an unmentionable injury.” | Hamlet was not mad 1. Madness gave time to come to terms with his “unmentionable injury’ 2. Hamlet’s madness only manifests itself when he is in the presence of certain characters. When Hamlet is around Polonius, Claudius, Gertrude, Ophelia, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, he behaves irrationally. When Hamlet is around Horatio, Bernardo, Francisco, The Players and the Gravediggers, he behaves rationally. 3. The irony exploited in Hamlet is that, while he represents a character dissembling distress and insanity, so too represented is the idea that madmen speak aphorisms and the truth. 4. Hamlet realises himself that he is not mad, but that there is that within which hides show”

5. Following the “unnatural” death of his father, King Claudius, and his mother’s consequent adulterous relationship with his uncle, Hamlet descends into an understandable state of despondency, deciding to put on an “antic disposition”.
The irony Shakespeare exploits in both Hamlet and Lear is that, while characters dissembling madness feature in both, so does the idea that madmen lack hypocrisy and speak the truth. Hamlet’s apparent madness allows him to blurt out truths and shrewd aphorisms along with nonsense, causing Polonius to say, ‘Though this be madness yet there is method in’t’, and ‘How pregnant sometimes his replies are – a happiness that often madness hits on, which reason and sanity could not so prosperously be delivered of’. 1. Ophelia’s madness is real, and Claudius confesses that Hamlet's "actions although strange, do not appear to stem from madness." [Act III, Scene i, lines 165-167]Polonius admits that Hamlet's actions and words have a "method" to them; there appears to be a reason behind them, they are logical in nature. [Act II, Scene ii, lines 206-207] 2. Hamlet himself * Hamlet tells his mother that he is not mad, "but mad in craft." [Act III, Scene iv, lines 188-199] * Hamlet believes in his sanity at all times. He never doubts his control over psyche.
"I essentially am not in madness,
But mad in craft."
(III. iv. 187-8.)

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