English 12 P.4
28 March 2012
The Difference of Insanity: Hamlet against Ophelia
In the Renaissance, madness was the theme of William Shakespeare's writings. He attended grammar school, but nothing further. So for his writings to be written with intelligence, it was greatly admired by many. Shakespeare’s career was in the time of Elizabeth I, 1558-1603 and James I, 1566-1625. His writings were not his own original work. It has been said that he took the story, Hamlet, from Saxo Grammaticus and changed the way Hamlet was portrayed from his story into a more “mad” version of Hamlet that waits to get revenge and is not truly mad from the start. It is also said that ...view middle of the document...
As for Hamlet’s insanity, it is only an act, so he can buy time time to get revenge on his uncle, who is also his father. Hamlet has an itch that his uncle, also known as King Claudius, had something to do with Old Hamlet’s death, Hamlet’s biological father. Hamlet is not positive that King Claudius actually committed the murder of his father, but he will deal with the situation with his clever remarks and intelligent sayings that none of the other characters will understand, like Hamlet intends the line to actually mean. Hamlet also had to keep the ghosts presence a secret because he was the only one that could see and hear it, so it is understandable that his insanity is greatly argued upon.
Some will argue that Hamlet’s madness was feigned from the beginning or that in various parts throughout the play he truly became mad. It is obvious that Hamlet is feigning his madness from the get go because when Hamlet and the Ghost meet, there are hints that Hamlet is already thinking out his first move of revenge against his King Claudius. When Horatio and the guards ask him what the ghost had expressed to him, Hamlet tells them “there’s ne’er a villain dwelling in all Denmark / But he’s an arrant knave.” (1.5.127-128) That specific quote was to cover up Old Hamlet's murder that Claudius had committed, from the guards and Horatio. By Hamlet telling the guards and Horatio something that only he would understand, foreshadows how Hamlet will cover up his clever revenge tactics throughout the play.
In the Act 1 Scene 2 of the play, Hamlet is dressed in all black and mobbing around the castle deeply mourning the death of his father, Old Hamlet. He also questions suicide when he starts his first soliloquy, “O, that this too, too sullied flesh would melt,/ Thaw, and resolve itself into dew.” (1.2.129-158) One could tell he was contemplating suicide because he was desiring his flesh to “melt,” and wishing that God had not made “self-slaughter” a sin. He also went on by saying that the world is ““weary, stale, flat, and unprofitable.” Throughout this soliloquy, Hamlet also describes his intense hatred towards his mother's marriage to Claudius, which is Hamlet’s uncle. Also, in Act 3 Scene 4, the ghost shows up in Gertrude’s chamber where Hamlet is is getting upset with his mother because she said that Hamlet’s bizarre and threatening behavior offended his father, Claudius. Also is this scene Hamlet gets so upset with his mother that he starts yelling and going on about how she did not wait long enough to marry Claudius, her husbands brother. Hamlet believes that the marriage between Claudius and his mom should have not happened. In this act, when the ghost appears, but only to Hamlet, it tells Hamlet not to blame his mom and to not hurt her. Hamlet, in...