The Sole Purpose of William Shakespeare in Presentation of Madness in Hamlet
He intended to make interesting storyline using creative touch of human nature which stands most prevalent feature through his works. In this case, Hamlet’s dynamic characteristic of insanity not only develops the plot but also makes the story exciting. Here are three ways to examine his lunacy, whether it was real or feigned, the purpose, and his descent to true insanity which is remains consistent throughout the drama. The representation of Hamlet’s character in the drama is perhaps the most artistic disposition of William Shakespeare to establish the complex working of the mind, and how an individual uses deception in order to deceive others and attain truth in the most promising way. The eccentric, insane and straightforwardness of his character reveals the hidden truth of his father’s death. Betrayal, love and passion of Hamlet remain as an inseparable attributes which gradually leads to the development of plot and other characters. Theme of insanity and mystery is dealt is both the cause and the consequence of revenge. Hamlet has been shown as naïve and enigmatic character which paves diminish way to examine truth about his character.
One observation that stands strong is his paradoxical nature which has attracted every reader’s attention. ‘You would pluck out the heart of my mystery’ (Act3 Scene2 Page 16) reveals his hidden personality. Hamlet is a wide-ranging character that, offers various flavors to readers that every time one tries to understand him there is new dimension to it and he never ceases to surprise us. In act one he is shown as a student and mourning son who dauntingly desires to seek revenge of his father’s death. He is introspective thirty year man who is disturbed by his mother’s marriage to his uncle Claudius and as a result he develops hatred for him. Act one has evident hints of foreshadow which prepares the readers of the subsequent happening in the drama.
His sorrowful condition showed him the spirit of his father who eventually became his guiding source through his daily complexion of depression and ambiguity. When he saw Claudius praying in the chapel scene, he thought that it the perfect opportunity to slay him down but his conscious stops him from committing this sin. This leads us to understand that he is not mad. However, the subsequent thought that followed with this act is really has a contradicting thoughts that if he is killed while praying he would go to heaven and don’t want an easy death for Claudius. This further leads to question like, ‘Whether he feign madness and/or use it as a facade? Yet another instance that we can consider to understand his eccentric behavior is the most eminent one is when Hamlet recognizes that his friends Rosencrantz and Guildenstern were beckoned to Denmark by the King for some obvious reasons, which is to spy on him “I am but mad north-north-west 1 .” This further paves us to understand his sensibility in distinguishing between friends and foe.
As we go deeper, we unveil the reasons for Hamlet’s madness which was a judicious faking of insanity which eventually immerse as morphing of him into a new being, evoking guilt in the his father’s murderer, amuse to the readers and save his life. His inner madness was an outcome of the misfortunes in the drama; majorly, the incestuous marriage of his widowed mother with his uncle whom he suspect as his father’s murderer- “wherein I’ll catch the conscience of the king” (Act2 Scene2 Line351). These feign madness was more like an obsession for Hamlet to overcome his guilt which vindicated him. It took over all his sensibility and narrowed his vision restricting his mission and purpose. He certainly had a natural inclination towards deception and dissimulation. This however, transmitted him into mad man. In this rage he also killed his friends Rosencrantz and Guildenstern although they were not part of conspiracy. This act of brutality was set in his objective.
This further leads the readers to think about his mental madness that seized his spirit. Yet another evidence of madness could be when he attempts to make his mother realize her guilt of remarriage. He screams, ‘Nay, but to live in the rank sweat of an enseamed bed,/stewed in corruption, honeying and making love/ over the nasty sty-‘ (Act3 Scene4 Page4) he accused his mother for putting up make-up and killing Polonius who was hiding behind the curtain. He also puts up on a facade to protect himself, as he leans from the ghost that; “So lust, though to a radiant angel linked, Will sate itself in a celestial bed And prey on garbage.” (Act1 Scene5 Lines55-57) After stabbing his irrationality and hatred only said wish he was Claudius. His madness only mounted to obsession for death and revenge eventually turning him insane. Fabricating madness for considerable long time finally let him suffer from a disease he created.
At the end, Hamlet often muses about his dead father, and mourning over his sudden, heartbreaking, and tragic death, coming to a point where he starts speaking like lunatics, rambling, and also is in a turmoil between committing suicide or not. For instance, the very first time he speaks like a lunatic was when he agrees that its completely alright to act foolish sometimes: “Here as before, never, so help you mercy, how strange or odd soe’er I bear myself that you.” (Act1 Scene5 Line 170-171). This shows deterioration of Hamlet’s mental state over the progression of the drama and he ends up being mad. Throughout the play Hamlet disguised his madness to take revenge on various occasions that drive him of being mentally unstable and insane. Every events throughout the drama is apparently is strong cues of foreshadow which slowly gulps him into insanity. He deeply traumatized by his father’s death, his mother’s remarrying his uncle, and losing faith on mankind and friends was direct repercussion. He lost trust in very relation he has in his life.
The most important turning point in the drama is in Hamlet’s metal state when Hamlet, Marcellus, and Horatio see the ghost of Hamlet’s father for the first time. Hamlet says, ‘Here as before, never, so help you mercy, how strange or odd some’er I bear myself that you, at such times seeing me, never shall with arms encumb’red thus, or this headshake.’ (Act1 Scene5 Page8) He confesses to Horatio that: “In my mind’s eye, Horatio.” (Act1 Scene2 Page7). Shakespeare has been extremely indulgent in incorporating hallucinations in the play; as this clearly displays his transition from being mentally disturbed to turning insane, it even allows the readers to understand the Hamlet’s perplexity, therefore, portraying his gradual degradation towards true insanity. In addition, his soliloquy: “To be, or not to be? That is the question” (Act 3 Scene 1 Page 3) . In his most critically famed soliloquy; he is contemplating whether he should commit suicide or to live which is full of pain and guilt of committing crimes such as murder and betrayal to his mother. All in all, tumbling into folly of misery was inevitable as he was very close to his father. This only intensified his suffering, his mother’s act of marrying his Uncle Claudius, betrayal, and revenge of his father’s death.
On comparing him to anyone who is truly deranged, as Ophelia (Hamlet’s beloved) became after Hamlet spoke furiously to her and her father’s death. This can also treated as a hidden meaning that characterized Hamlet’s seeming-nonsensicality. Shakespeare uses insanity as a security develop an interesting storyline with fine blend of ingredients, but also to aid the readers to understand how the protagonist is effected and how this ultimately effects other characters, plot and events in the drama.
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