His “mad” remarks to Polonius—“you are a fishmonger” (II.ii)—are too silly and sometimes too clever to be genuinely mad: even Polonius notes “How pregnant sometimes his replies are” ().Hamlet’s most mad-seeming outburst, against Ophelia, may be explained by the fact that Claudius and Polonius are spying on the conversation: if Hamlet suspects that he’s being spied on, he may be acting more deranged than he really is for the benefit of his listeners.
” (): Claudius thinks it’s strange and unhealthy that Hamlet is still grieving for his father.
In the same scene Hamlet tells us that he is wearing “solemn black” and a “dejected ‘havior” (), which audiences in Shakespeare’s time would have recognised as signs of “melancholy,” a condition which Renaissance doctors believed could lead to madness.
The possibility that Hamlet is mad when the play begins forces us to question the truth of everything he says, making his character even more mysterious.
Hamlet’s misogynistic behavior toward Gertrude and Ophelia can be seen as evidence that Hamlet really is going mad, because these scenes have little to do with is quest for justice, and yet they seem to provoke his strongest feelings.
Hamlet has mood swings as his mood changes badly throughout the play. 55-68, 76-82, 110, 145 Series Companion Leterary Hamlet San Diego, Ca.: Greenhaven, 1999 pg.
94, 99, 104 Okamura, Anne Expressions of Shakespeare London, England Green Press, 1978 pg.If Hamlet does know that Claudius and Polonius are listening, the fact that he can instantly adjust his behavior points toward the idea that he has a firm grip on reality and his own mind.Similarly, when Hamlet is sent to England, he acts skilfully and ruthlessly to escape, which suggests that even at this late stage in the play he is capable of perfectly sane behavior.The most obvious evidence is that Hamlet himself says he is going to pretend to be mad, suggesting he is at least sane enough to be able to tell the difference between disordered and rational behavior.Hamlet tells Horatio and Marcellus that he plans to “put an antic disposition on” (I.v).For every piece of evidence that Hamlet is mad, we can also point to evidence that he’s sane, which contributes to the mystery of Hamlet’s character.By making the audience constantly question whether Hamlet is really mad or just pretending, Hamlet asks us whether the line between reality and acting is as clear-cut as it seems.Hamlet tells us that he believes the purpose of acting is “to hold, as ’twere, the mirror up to Nature” (III.ii), that is, to be as close to reality as possible.The First Player cries as he delivers a sad speech, and Hamlet asks whether the Player’s pretended feelings are stronger than his own real feelings, since Hamlet’s feelings are not strong enough to make him cry.Either his love for Ophelia was never strong as he said, which in doubt, or he has really gone insane by assuming every situation is going to happen and he sacrifices her love for revenge. Robertson and Professor Stoll of the University of Minnesota, have issued small books which can be praised for moving in the other direction of Hamlet? The presence of the Ghost is to remind Hamlet of the tragedy of his fathers death and to make him go insane over that. While Hamlet is torn between love for his mother and his duty to his father (or what is left to be of his him), he clearly puts on a front to the people that he is insane, because he wants no one to see his the pain that lies inside of him.Throughout the play, there are also supporting factors to argue Hamlet? Bibliography Buckman, Irene Twenty Tales from Shakespeare New York: Random House, 1963 pg.