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"Feigning Madness" - Why Hamlet is Sane? "things are not always what they seem"


yazden2021 1 / -  
Jul 14, 2015   #1
Feigning Madness

The saying "things are not always what they seem" is quite accurate within our own lives, as well as the characters in novels. We often pretend to become someone else by hiding our reality behind a mask. In the play "Hamlet" by William Shakespeare, the character of Hamlet feigns insanity. His uncle Claudius, who later re marries to his mother, kills Hamlet's father. Hamlet's father later returns as a ghost to tell Hamlet that his uncle Claudius is responsible for his murder, and to kill him for revenge. Hamlet is sane throughout all of this, because he reveals to his friends and family of his plans to act insane, he is only "mad" around certain characters, and finally he has logic behind his actions.

Hamlet proves he is sane when he reveals to his friends and family of his plans to act insane. Hamlet tells his best friend Horatio that he will fake his madness and not to worry if he notices that Hamlet's acting strange, because it is merely an act. "As I perchance hereafter shall think meet to put an antic disposition on, that you as such times seeing me, never shall..." (I.V.166-180). This quote shows that Hamlet is telling Horatio not to worry if he suspects Hamlet is crazy, he is just planning on being perceived as crazy but in reality this was his plan all along. He also tells his mother of his plan and when she states that he is crazy he tells her that he isn't crazy at all. " That I essentially am not in madness, but mad in craft." (III.v.191-192). This quote proves that Hamlet's "madness" is structured and that he "crafted his madness" which means that he made it up. Therefore, Hamlet is completely sane due to the fact that he tells his friends and family of his plans to act insane.

Another reason why Hamlet is sane is that he is only "mad" around certain characters. When Hamlet is around Horatio he is his normal self, and speaks in verse. We learn that when Hamlet speaks in 'Verse' throughout the play he is not acting "mad", where as, when he speaks to certain characters such as Polonius, Ophelia, Rosencrantz, Guildenstern or Claudius he speaks in 'Prose' because he is feigning insanity. He purposely does this and acts "mad" around them so that they will think he is crazy. This is so, if Hamlet does something that would be part of his revenge plan, they will ultimately blame it on his madness and will be oblivious to his actual plan. This is obvious when Hamlet says to Horatio, "Horatio thou art e'en as just a man as e'er my conversation cop'd withal" (III.ii.52-53). This clearly shows that he is using verse and that he can be himself with Horatio. On the other hand, when Claudius comes into the room, Hamlet switches to prose when saying "Excelent, I'faith, of the chameleon's dish. I eat the air, promise-crammed. You cannot feed capons so" (III.ii.91-92). This quote clearly shows that Hamlet is normal (in verse) while with Horatio, but he feigns insanity (in prose) while with Claudius. If Hamlet was really going insane, he would not change the manner of speaking according to who he was speaking to. Therefore, due to the fact that Hamlet is only "mad" around certain characters, proves that he is completely sane.

Lastly, Hamlet proves he is sane because throughout the entire play he has logic behind his actions. When he has the opportunity to kill Claudius, while he is praying, he thinks about how if he kills him at this very moment his soul will go to heaven instead of hell. " Now might I do it pat, now he is praying, and now I'll do't. A villain kills my father, and for that, I, his sole son, do this same villain send to heaven" (III.III.77-83). This proves Hamlet is sane because, if he was insane he would've jumped at the opportunity to kill him right then and there. Instead, he took his time and thought out his actions before pursuing them, and made a rational decision not to kill him. Another example of how Hamlet has logic behind his actions is when he says crazy things to people but there is logic behind his words. "Though this be madness, yet there is method in't" (II.II.204-206). In this quote, Hamlet acts "crazy" to Polonius but he still makes sense in a way. This proves Hamlet is sane because he is technically saying these "crazy" things to characters but with reason behind it. He always thinks about what he is going to say before he says it. This helps him fake "madness", but during this quote he fakes it too well, to where Polonius starts catching on. Therefore Hamlet is completely sane, due to the fact that he has logic behind his actions.

In conclusion, Hamlet merely pretends to be insane so that he can plan out the situation at hand without having everyone follow his steps. He proves this when he reveals to his friends and family of his plan to fake madness, when he only acts "mad" around certain characters such as Claudius and Polonius, and lastly because he has logic behind his actions. He knows how to take his tragic flaw of procrastination and use it for his benefit of thinking before acting. This ultimately helps him follow through with his plan for revenge, which further demonstrates his intelligence, and proves he is completely sane.

justivy03 - / 2,367 607  
Jul 17, 2015   #2
- ...as well as the characters in the novels.
- ..who later re- marries to his mother,

3rd paragraph:
- ..he thinks about how ifit is if he kills him at this very
- Therefore Hamlet is completely sane, due to the fact that he hasthere is logic behind his actions.

Final paragraph:
The final paragraph has absolutely summed up all the justification that the essay is asking for, good job on that.
I can say the logic and the flow of the final input is what the essay needs in order to close it gracefully.

Now, overall, the essay is written well, all the elements is are working just in the right place where they are supposed to be.
I believe your inputs on Hamlet definitely helps any reader to understand the novel better and start reading more of Shakespeare's novels.
I only had a few reads of his novels and I must say, it's quiet hard to comprehend in the beginning but when you catch the idea and his writing style, it definitely is a magical piece of writing.


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