Hamlet Fever Chart Presentation
Okay so I took a different approach to the Fever Chart. What I did was I created two different lines, one for Hamlet’s true psychological state, and one for how others perceive his state to be.
So here’s the thesis:
Hamlet is depicted through two personalities: one that he “plans” in order to deceive those around him, and then the other is his actual personality/actions.
Hamlet begins as a sane, yet melancholic, character, progresses towards insanity; meanwhile, his “fake” character begins as insane and progresses towards sanity.
Describe curve for Act 1 for both lines
-sanity for the most part, begins to rise a little bit and become more steep as the act ends
So in Act 1, Hamlet shows a sense of melancholy, rather than insanity.
He learns of his father’s death, and his mother’s sudden marriage, causing him to contemplate his worth in life.
When the ghost of Hamlet Sr. enters, remember that Hamlet isn’t the only one that sees him, so it’s not a figment of his imagination.
As you know, he learns that Claudius is most likely the one that killed his father, so he sets out a plan to avenge him, as he says
“As I perchance hereafter shall think meet/To put an antic disposition on”
-here’s where his plan to “fake” his insanity begins.
-Explain pattern of lines on the graph for Act 2
-During Act 2, we see a spike in Hamlet’s insanity levels. He begins his plan and pretends to be insane to fool those around him, indicating the strong upward curve shown in the line that represents what others think about Hamlet
-everyone thinks he’s mad for Ophelia, and he plays it off well. For example, Polonius says “Mad for thy love?” – Polonius
-In actuality, it’s the death of his father, his mother’s marriage, and the burden of having to avenge his father that is causing him to be insane
-Claudius is not fooled, however, given his belief that love is not the reason for Hamlet’s madness: “More than his father’s death, that thus hath put him/So much from the understanding of himself,
–Hamlet’s actual insanity levels also rise, as if his fake character and real character are morphing into one. Similar to a Jekyll & Hyde persona.********
Hamlet also begins to go into denial about actually seeing his father, even though the guards saw him as well. He states “The spirit that I have seen/May be the devil: and the devil hath power/To assume a pleasing shape;”
-this could be a coping mechanism for him avoiding having to kill Claudius
-Explain Act 3 curve
-During Act 3 is when Hamlet’s insanity is at its full peak, for both line graphs. He’s also very depressed, contemplating suicide during his soliloquy
-“To die: to sleep;/No more; and by a sleep to say we end/The heart-ache” —-shows his extreme depression and frustration with his life here.
For his fake persona, everyone also seems to believe his insanity. Ophelia is very worried and feels as though she must take the blame:
“O, what a noble mind is here o’erthrown!…/And I, of ladies most deject and wretched,/That suck’d the honey of his music vows,” (Act 3 Scene 1, Page 133) —her rejection of his love is the reason for his madness, she feels. Everyone around Hamlet is truly convinced of his insanity, so his plan is going well.
-Also, for both his fake and real persona, there are some quotes that cannot differentiate between the two. Essentially, he’s saying these things to convey insanity for love, however it also counts as a double message showing the true state of his mind as well. Which quotes show true insanity and which show acting are up to the readers to figure out. This quote perhaps represents the two:
“Excellent, i’ faith; of the chameleon’s dish: I eat/the air, promise-crammed: you cannot feed capons so. (Act 3 Scene 2, Page 141)
He’s not saying anything logical, and Claudius responds with confusion, stating that he does not know what Hamlet is trying to say.
Act 4 curves
-In Act 4 is where we see the true differentiation between Hamlet’s true sanity and his fake persona’s sanity. His true sanity peeks and levels off at the highest level, while his “fake” character starts to show a little more sanity and sympathy.
Gertrude says “And, in this brainish apprehension, kills/The unseen good old man.” (Act 4 Scene 1, Page 189)
-informing others of the fact that Hamlet has killed Polonius. This truly shows Hamlet’s actual insanity, because he shows no remorse during this scene and kills Polonius with a very nonchalant charisma.
“A man may fish with the worm that hath eat of a/king, and cat of the fish that hath fed of that worm.” (Act 4 Scene 3, Page 197)
Here, it seems as though Hamlet is talking foolishly to further play off his insane persona as a part of his plan. Claudius thinks he’s insane for saying this, however what Hamlet is telling Claudius is that there isn’t much that separates a King from a beggar. A person’s stature can change, and once we die we are all the same. This is him giving a small intimation to Claudius that his end is near.
-“In heaven; send hither to see: if your messenger/find him not there, seek him i’ the other place/yourself.” (Act 4 Scene 3 Page 2)
-Hamlet continues to give hints to Claudius, foreshadowing the fact that he will murder him. His word choice could cause Claudius to become paranoid, fearing that he know about the true murderer of Hamlet Sr. Hamlet is telling him that he killed Polonius, and that he has gone off to heaven. Then he says that if you can’t find him there, you can check in hell yourself (suggesting that Claudius will be in hell rather than heaven). Here’ we see that Hamlet’s true insanity levels are very high, given that he has killed Polonius with no remorse and simply to prove a point, while everyone around him can perhaps perceive him as more aware of the situations going on, becoming more sane.
In Act 5, there isn’t really a differentiation between Hamlet’s fake persona and his real one. There isn’t a need for it anymore–he’s already convinced everyone, and by the end of the play he’s already committed two murders (including avenging his father). His true insanity is shown here, while the perceived psychological state of Hamlet as perceived by those around him, levels off to sanity. He convinces them that he was truly insane, and asks for foregiveness (from Laertes) using insanity as his excuse for his actions. Thus, those around him see him as insane, while he himself remains insane.
“If Hamlet from himself be ta’en away/And when he’s not himself does wrong Laertes,/Then Hamlet does it not, Hamlet denies it./Who does it, then? His madness: if’t be so,/Hamlet is of the faction that is wrong’d;/His madness is poor Hamlet’s enemy.” (Act 5 Scene 2, Page 273)
-In this scene, Hamlet is apologizing to Laertes and admitting to his prior illness. He states that his actions were due to his mental illness, and he shows quite some insanity in his explanation. He essentially says that Hamlet is not at fault, but Hamlet’s mental situation is at fault instead. Mind and body are not 2 separate pieces, they flow together to form the character of a person. Hamlet seems to believe otherwise, in order to get on Laertes’ good side. This shows his insanity in his true psychological state, while those around him see him to be sane. Thus, the line that depicts how others see Hamlet has dropped down to sanity, while the line of his true psychological state levels off at insanity (on the fever chart).
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