Since the production of the play (Hamlet), the question of whether Hamlet is Mad or not has vexed many scholars. I believe Hamlet is not mad but rather pretends to be crazy to formulate new plans, to express his feelings and to gather information about the death of his father. Hamlet gives us the impression that he is insane by acting crazy, wild and playing like a fool. While at other times he is perceived to be sane by acting civilized around Horatio. Hamlet is sane from the moment the play begun until the time he dies. Hamlet pretends that he lost his mind to get the attention of Claudius and Gertrude. He acts crazy to get their reaction and to make them listen to his comments as the play continues. When the play moves to the end Hamlet takes “the ghost’s word for a thousand pound.” He becomes more composed when talking to Horatio. He pretends to be insane to make Claudius believe that he is mad.
As the play progresses, Hamlet becomes completing sane to contemplating his next moves. He becomes as sane as the time before his father died. After confronting his father’s ghost: he lays low until Polonius’ death. Later on, Hamlet tries to revenge his father’s death by challenging Laertes to a fencing match. Hamlet acts insane during the fencing match so that people would believe that he had lost his mind. Although he exhibits some insanity Hamlet was completely in control of his mental state. Hamlet displays insanity at some points during the play to fulfill the task that his father’s ghost instructed him to complete. The ghost had told him to “revenge his foul and most unnatural murder.” He hides behind insanity so that he is “understood” while committing crimes such as conspiracy to kill the King and mutiny. He makes the world believe he is mad so that he could have the chances the world gives to a mad man. Hamlet is never insane he pretends to be insane to fulfill the wishes of his father’s ghost ultimately.
- Kirschbaum, Leo. Character and characterization in Shakespears. Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 1962. Print.
- Shakespeare, William. Shakesspear’s Hamlet. Vancouver: The Copp Clark Publishing Co. Ltd, 1960. Print.