The Darkness of Insanity: Character Analysis of Hamlet

Pages: 6 (1883 words) Published: October 8, 1999
The Darkness of Insanity

Insanity is an ever growing black hole which envelopes the pitiful mind of the its victim. The mental condition of Hamlet has been well debated throughout the years even though in Shakespeare’s tragedy Hamlet does admit that his madness is an elaborate scheme. Many see this fact as a way to discredit the idea of Hamlet’s insanity but one should also take into consideration the amount of proven psychopaths who constantly admit to their sanity. Through his actions and emotions prevalent through the play, Hamlet does indeed prove his insanity despite his denial of it. It is quite obvious that Hamlet possesses a troubled mind resulting from a gross state of melancholy, which later leads to him becoming disillusioned. Another fact to strengthen the idea of his insanity is his treatment of his beloved girlfriend, Ophelia and his loving mother, Gertrude. One might find it difficult to ponder the thought of any sane person denouncing their love for their lover without showing the slightest hint of sadness. However, Hamlet does perform this wicked deed. The protagonist’s mind is also filled with enough incestuous thoughts of his very own mother to disturb the audience. The most troubling and powerful piece of evidence to prove his insanity is that he does not feel the slightest twinge of guilt nor the smallest sliver of remorse after he murders three innocent bystanders in cold blood. The human conscience is what separates humans from animals because human’s have the ability to question evil deeds such as murder yet Hamlet’s conscience remains untouched after the murders of three people. The lack of guilt should be proof enough that Hamlet’s mind is convoluted. Throughout the play Hamlet continuously shows characteristics that are closely related to madness. One of the more prominently shown characteristic is depression, which is also known to psychiatrists as the gateway to insanity. The depression caused by the murder of his father runs rampant during the course of the play and helps to led him down to his ultimate path of ruin. Hamlet’s depression is so powerful and visible that it begins to disturb his mother:

“Good Hamlet, cast thy nighted colour off,
And let thine eye look like a friend on Denmark
Do not for ever with thy vailed lids
Seek for thy noble father in the dust.
Thou know’st ‘tis common – all that lives must die, Passing through nature to eternity.”
(Shakespeare 1.2.69-74)

Gertrude is trying to weaken the depression, which is clouding Hamlet’s mind. Hamlet’s melancholy is troubling her because it has been two months since his father’s death. Gertrude explains to Hamlet that death is a natural part of life but Hamlet does not want any of her reasoning. His melancholy at this point is so powerful that it creates in their relationship. It is understandable that the death of a loved one can be traumatizing at first but wearing black and living in a mundane manner for two months is absolutely insane. Gertrude makes it clear in her statement that one should feel a loss but life goes on. Disillusions are common in the minds of the insane. They are also known to stem from depression caused by traumatic such as losing a loved. Hamlet does have illusions, which strengthens the belief that Hamlet is mad. Most sane people will not stop a conversation with their mother to begin one with a ghost who does not appear to anyone else but them. Gertrude has argued with Claudius about her son’s sanity but when Hamlet begins his conversation with the ghost she too begins to question his sanity:

“Alas, how is’t with you,
That you do bend your eye on vacancy,
And with th’ incorporal air do hold discourse?
Forth at your eyes your spirits wildly peep;
And, as the sleeping soldiers in th’ alarm,
Your bedded hairs like life in...
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