Though this be madness, yet there is method in't.

(II.ii.204-205) - Polonius

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Characters In Relation To Madness

The theme of madness is most prevalent through Hamlet’s character. We see that in the start of the play Hamlet decides that he is going to but on the facade of being mad in order to obtain the information he needs from Claudius to prove that Claudius killed his father.
Even though Hamlet says that he put on the facade of being mad, we must ask if Hamlet did in fact go mad. We must ask if he had gone insane in Act 3, Scene 4, where he kills Polonius. Hamlet hears a noise behind the tapestry and seemingly stabs at nothing. When asked, he asks if it was the King. This makes us question how mad Hamlet seems to have gone. He is beginning to stab at everything and anything just in case he has the chance to stab the King and avenge his fathers death.
As well, Hamlet could seemingly be mad because he begins to become obsessed with avenging his father’s death. It begins to consume his everyday actions, and everything he does. Hamlet’s actions begin to revolve around gaining revenge as instructed by the ghost. As well, he begins to try and do everything in his power to get Claudius to admit to the killing of King Hamlet. This begins to consume him and causes him to possibly go mad.
Hamlet tends to over think things, and then perhaps does not go mad.
But Hamlet’s madness could be existent or non-existent, it is a personal interpretation.

Ophelia seems to be sane for the most part of the play. It is not until her father’s death that she slowly begins to lose sanity. As well, she lost Hamlet, who seemingly was a possible future husband at the start of the play, to his possible madness.
In Act 4, Ophelia has lost her sanity. She seems to be wandering along the river when she falls in. But she puts up no struggle. She floats and sings. Did she commit suicide? Or did she not realize what was going on.
Ophelia has gone mad, and it is easily recognizable. The question of madness relies upon what caused the madness and how the madness changes the outcome of the play.

Laertes’ madness commences when he finds out about his father’s death. When he finds that Hamlet’s madness caused Hamlet to kill Polonius, he becomes obsessed with revenge. Laertes is almost like Hamlet in the fact that they both wish to avenge their fathers’ deaths. They wish to gain some feeling of conclusion.
Laertes then begins to work with Claudius on a plan to kill Hamlet, and Laertes begins to calm down because he knows that he will gain closure and avenge his father’s death.
Then we must ask the question if avenging his father’s death would have made Laertes’ madness disappear.

Representation of the Ghost
In Hamlet we see that the ghost of King Hamlet is the one that instructs Hamlet to exact revenge for his death. In my belief, I am unsure to as if the ghost does truly exist. Hamlet is alone when the ghost instructs him to exact revenge, and therefore no one else is sure that the ghost does exist or that the ghost did say to exact revenge upon his death. This happens again when Hamlet is in Gertrude’s bedchamber and he “sees” the ghost, but Hamlet does not. We must then ask if Hamlet has truly gone mad and is beginning to imagine that his father asked him to exact revenge upon his death.

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