Hamlet Madness

Subject: Literature
Type: Analytical Essay
Pages: 3
Word count: 719
Topics: Book, Emotions, Hamlet, William Shakespeare


William Shakespeare’s classic play “Hamlet” is a fascinating tragedy that involves madness, various means of cruel deception and frequent lies. Throughout the plot, the leading character Hamlet is looking for an effective way to take revenge, influencing the people around him, as well as all those who are desperately trying to take revenge. In this way, those around Hamlet become part of the great game that he started to avenge his father by killing his uncle. In the outstanding play, different people consider similar intentions and desires, but in the end it inevitably leads to disaster and tragic results.

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Hamlet madness

The way Hamlet employs revenge leads people around him to reasonably assume he is mad, but Hamlet is not actually insane. He is only faking madness in order to concentrate all eyes on himself and capture everyone’s attention. Hamlet wishes people to reflect on what it is that drives him to act in such an unusual way. “I essentially am not in madness, But mad in craft.” (3. 4. 194-195). Hamlet’s sudden change in attitude may indeed look as if he has gone mad. In addition, in Act I, Scene v., lines 166-180, Hamlet informs Horatio that he will “fake madness” so that he will be able to interpret his strange actions. He is being reasonable to Horatio and the Gravediggers. The most substantial proof is that we can compare Hamlet’s behavior to Ophelia’s behavior, and we will obviously trace the difference between pretended madness and true madness. In my opinion, Hamlet manipulates the image of a madman only as a pretext to speak bluntly and treat people badly, so they call him “madness”. Shakespeare definitely intended to mislead his readers.

Hamlet harbored feelings for Ophelia. However, it was critical for him to make the king, the queen and even Ophelia think that he was completely mad and to ruin all her hopes for their love and happy future. After this, when he is able to voice some of his pent-up anger, he says that women should not marry because they just give birth to children who grow up to be depraved men. He pronounces that beauty is just a charm that fascinates men. He believes that there are no honorable women and that all women should become nuns so as not to cause any more mess and not to give birth to children in the whole world. This is Hamlet expressing his disappointment with his mother for getting married to his uncle only a few weeks after his father’s death, and with women in general. Shakespeare intends for the audience to concentrate on the character of Hamlet and his long thought out actions, and the way in which Hamlet contemplates his following actions. The belief that Hamlet is driving himself insane is a tactic aimed only at bearing the truth out.

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Throughout the plot, Hamlet had situations in which he demonstrated a certain kind of madness that could convince even the audience that the character is mad. Hamlet started his game by pretending to be mad from the moment he thought about a way to avenge his father’s death. He then learned of his mother and uncle’s adultery and incest, which pushed him even further into madness. “Or that the everlasting had not fixed his cannon ‘gainst self-slaughter how weary, stale, flat, and unprofitable seem to me all the uses of this world.” (1.2.131-134). Hamlet opened up about his depression to the audience in a speech out loud. He had experienced a series of tragic events in his life that brought him to the verge of committing suicide. Another catalyst for Hamlet’s insane actions could definitely be the hatred he deepened towards his mother because she married his uncle after his father’s death.


In summary, we can identify a number of reasons why people may perceive Hamlet as an unstable character, but I feel that he does trick the audience, Claudius and his followers. Hamlet skillfully exploits events that occurred to him in the past as a pretext for someone to recognize him as an insane person. His love for Ophelia became more passionate and forced him to keep acting despite the fact that he pretended to be mad. Consequently, I assume that Hamlet fakes madness to draw interest to himself, to draw attention to what he has been through.

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