Compare and Constrast Essay on Hamlets Madness

This essay has a total of 717 words and 4 pages.

Hamlets Madness

Hamlet's Madness


'What is madness? Is someone mad merely because they are different, and
do they in return see the same about the world? The dictionary defines madness
as, "1. the state of being mad; insanity. 2. senseless folly. 3. frenzy;
rage. 4. intense excitement or hilarity." Though is there a difference
between madness and wrath or rage? Was Hamlet mad, or was it one big act in
order to give reason for his irrational actions and to keep his vengeful motives
confidential?
In Shakespeare's tragedy, Hamlet, these questions are continually asked
and some are answered. Hamlet, the protagonist, has lost his father by murder,
and is urged to seek vengeance by his father who appears to him as a ghost.
This raises the first bit of suspicion of madness. Hamlet talks with his father
and is told,

Hamlet: If thou didst ever thy dear father love-
Revenge his foul and most unnatural murder.

Most would say that the fact that he saw the ghost of his dead father would
be enough to warrant that he is insane. The only fact that hinders this
observation is the fact that others saw the ghost as well and were even the ones
who told young Hamlet of his appearance.
Many may see Hamlet being insane only by the worldly view of him being
different. Though towards the end of the play in Act III, Gertrude calls her son
to her chambers to discuss the reasoning of his putting on a play so closely
related to the death of his father. She tells him how upset Claudius is and is
weary of Hamlet's recent actions. At this Hamlet explodes on his mother and
threatens to kill her. Gertrude cries for help, and Pilonius answers this cry.
Hamlet runs him through with his rapier without even thinking. Hamlet tells her
to report to Claudius this message:

Gertrude: Mad as the sea and wind when both contend
Which is mightier. In his lawless fit,
Behind the arras hearing something stir,
Whips out his rapier, cries "A rat, a rat,"
And in this brainish apprehension kills
The unseen good old man.

This incident shows Hamlet's wanting others to think that he is truly mad. But
was it his insanity that brought about the rash action of killing the unknown
man behind the tapestry or was it his postponed revenge that consumed him. Is
there a difference?
Continues for 2 more pages >>