Hamlet is Mad

Hamlet is Mad


Within this Shakespearean publication, Hamlet plays the role of the demised Denmark king, who is succeeded by his brother, Claudius. From the opening scene in the play, the writer develops Hamlet as a wild, fanatical and idiotic individual. As the reader is introduced to this character, a sympathetic tone is used to relay the sorrow that he faces with regard to his father’s demise and the speedy wedding that his mother, Gertrude, and his uncle Claudius resort to. However, a twist is infused within the story line with the appearance of the ghoul that claims to be the spirit of Hamlet’s father; the ghoul asserts that the king’s demise had been but an orchestrated murder that had been performed by Claudius. Interestingly, Hamlet believes the ghoul’s words by the assertion that “it is an honest ghost…for you desire to know what is between us” (1, v, 42). With this statement, the reader is faced with the dilemma regarding the sanity of Hamlet who first, believes in ghouls and second even purports the idea that a relationship exists between them. Even though his behavior instills the notion of mad individual, Hamlet is mentally sound.


Hamlet employs the madness ruse to address nobility in an inappropriate manner for his princely position, in a bid to identify all the noble individuals that may have been involved with his father’s demise. The ghoul had only offered the identity of the main orchestrator of the death as being the “serpent that…wears his crown” (1, v). As Hamlet mourns over this revelation, the ghoul also shares in the bitterness by mentioning that the “adulterate beast…won…the will of my most seeming-virtuous queen” (1, v). Although not explicitly mentioned, the inference given by the statement is that Hamlet’s mother was involved in the plan. This therefore leaves poor Hamlet in a confused state as appertaining to the whole group that may have been involved in his father’s assassination. The ghoul adds the statement that “taint not thy mind, nor let thy soul contrive against they mother ought; leave her to heaven” (1, v). However, these words seem to fall on deaf ears as Hamlet’s mind is already racing towards identifying other players in his father’s death now that even the two closest individuals have failed the test.

As only noble individuals had easy access to the king, Hamlet applies his insanity tactics to the lord chamberlain, Polonius, in a bid to assess his loyalty. During the conversation that the two share before the actors have arrived, Hamlet loudly sighs “O Jeptha, Judge of Israel,-what a treasure hadst thou!” (2, ii). The statement refers to the sacrifice that the judge had to apply to his daughter and this parallels Hamlet’s thoughts of the role that Polonius may have played in the demise of his father. This is because, as lord chamberlain, Polonius offered guidance to the king with regard to decision making; just like the judges. Hamlet next uses the phrase “am I not i’ the right, old Jeptha?” (2, ii), to refer to him. Polonius consents to the allegory used as he has a daughter, Ophelia, and Hamlet adds the phrase “why, as by lot, God wot,-and then, you know, It came to pass, as most like it was” (2, ii). From the discussion, Hamlet has made his conclusion of Polonius’ guilt and targets to ensure that his daughter is killed in vengeance, since this offers the assurance that he shall suffer as he has had upon the death of his father.

With the majority of the characters believing that Hamlet is mad, little precaution is taken while handling him and this offers him the chance to execute his plans without unnecessary interests. As he addresses Rosencrantz as being easily manipulated, he assures him by declaring that “such officers do the king best service in the end” (4, ii). The assertion is that Rosencrantz and his counterpart Guildenstern were most probably used to execute the dead king. Hamlet concedes to the king’s pleas to travel to England. It seems he is aware of the plot for his assassination in England from his statement “I see a cherub, which sees them” (4, iii). The cherub is likely to be the ghoul who reveals this bad motive for him to be careful in the voyage. With this supernatural protection, Hamlet sees to it that all the culprits are dead and this truly confirms his statement that “for, though I am not splenetive and rash, yet have I in me something dangerous, which let thy wisdom fear” (5,i).


In conclusion, Hamlet only employs the act of insanity as it gave him the ability to give hard accusation in his quest for truth and truly the cover works perfectly. At the end of the play after the battle, Hamlet reveals to his opponent that everything had been as a result of Claudius’ wrongs. This he utters just before he demises and it serves as evidence for the soundness of Hamlet’s state of mind.





Works Cited

Shakespeare, William. Hamlet. Charleston: BiblioBazaar, LLC, 2007. Print.

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