Hamlet Madness


Hamlet Madness Essay, Research Paper

Hamlet appears to be insane, after Polonius?s death, in act IV scene II. There

are indications, though, that persuade me to think other wise. Certainly, Hamlet

has plenty of reasons to be insane at this point. His day has been hectic?he

finally determined Claudius had killed his father, the chance to kill Claudius

confronted him, he comes very close to convincing Gertrude that Claudius killed

his father, he accidentally kills Polonius, and finally the ghost of his father

visits him. These situations are enough to bring Hamlet to insanity, but he

remains sharp and credible. Hamlet is able to make smart remarks to Rosencrantz

and Guildenstern, comparing then to sponges, "When he (Claudius) needs what

you have gleaned, it is but squeezing you and, sponge, you shall be dry

again," (pg 98, 20). This is random and unexpected, as many of his actions,

but the comparison makes sense; Rosencrantz and Guildenstern soak up all the

kings favors, only to become dry again after they mop up the King?s mess

(spying on Hamlet, and getting Polonius?s body). Later, with Claudius, Hamlet

tells how lowly a king can be by saying, "A man (beggar) may fish with the

worm that hath eat of a king, and eat of the fish that hath fed of that

worm," (pg 99, 29). This also makes sense, and is not quite as random; when

Hamlet confronts Claudius, and the king asks where Polonius is, Hamlet

immediatly begins the comparison by telling Claudius that Polonuis is at supper

(the worms are eating him for supper, and so on). This proves that Hamlet had

some kind of planning for this degrading comment, and that his thoughts are not

scattered and he is able to stay focused. There is a question of what being

insane really is. Since it is agreeable that Ophelia was crazy, it?s possible

to use her as a guide to make this argument valid. Hamlet and Ophelia both

shared the trait of having calculated thoughts, Ophelia?s singing and

Hamlet?s verbal attacks. They also shared calmness before their deaths. But

was Hamlet spraying rude remarks to everyone before he died, as Ophelia had sung

floating down the river? No, in-fact Hamlet was the opposite of what he was

before. If he were crazy, like Ophelia, he would have remained hectic and random

up until the time of (and after) the duel. Hamlet, though, was not?he even

reasoned what death for him was, finishing his question of whether life was

worth living for. Hamlet can truley be seen to be sane, and not. The facts that

Hamlet was smart and swift thinking, and in such a reversal of emotions (from

after Polonius died) in the end, leads strongly to the opinion that Hamlet was

not insane.

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