and by agreeing or disagreeing with those opinions I will prove that he was acting in very

logic way, and his decisions and actions were very deliberate.

If Shakespeare had not given us the complex psychological state of Hamlet, then

one could conclude that Hamlet was really insane (electric library), but Shakespeare did.

He made sure that there was an explanation and, or logical reason for all his actions.

Hamlet proves to be in complete control of his psyche in several parts of the play.

First, the fact that Hamlet acts irrationally only in front of certain individuals

shows that he is only acting. He acts insane in front of Polonius, Claudius, Gertrude and

Ophelia; while remaining perfectly normal in front of Horatio, Marcellus, the players and

the gravedigger. “I am but mad north-north-west: when the wind is southerly I know a

hawk from a handsaw”(Guth, hamlet, p. 820, v.35-37). This is the classic example of the

“wild and whirling words” (Guth, hamlet, p808, v.90) with which Hamlet hopes to

persuade people to believe that he is mad. These words, however, prove that beneath his

emotional disposition, caused by his father’s death and very fast remarriage of his

mother, Hamlet is very sane. Our hero is saying that he knows a hunting hawk from a

hunted “handsaw” or heron in other words, that, very far from being mad, he is perfectly

capable of recognizing his enemies. His imagery involving points of the compass, the

weather, and hunting birds, he is announcing that he is precisely and calculatedly

choosing the time when to appear mad.

Shakespeare’s “Hamlet” is based on the legend of fabled Danish Prince Amleth,

who feigned insanity to veil a plot of revenge against his uncle for his father’s murder.


Set down by Saxo Grammaticus at the end of the twelfth century in the Historiae

Danicae, the legend included two parts, however, we have no evidence that Shakespeare

came into contact with either of these versions. The most direct source for his drama

seems to have been another play of around 1588 know as Ur-Hamlet, which was based on

Belleforest\'s, one of these versions, but is now lost (Watts, p.2).

In Saxo version of the tale, Amleth not only killed the eavesdropper (the Polonius

character in Hamlet) but also cut his body into morsels, he seethed it in boiling water, and

flung it through the mouth of the swine to eat (Watts, p.5).

In contrast, Shakespeare’s Hamlet feels remorse after the murder of Polonius:

“I do repent; but heaven hath pleas\'d it so, to punish me with this, and this with me, that I

must be their scourge and minister.” (Guth, Hamlet, 3.4. v.175-178, p.851).

Hamlet’s speech reflects the more Christian viewpoint of Shakespeare’s time, but

also tells us that he is not a coward, like some critics say. Fact that he actually kills

Polonius (being sure that he is killing Claudius) proves that he does not suffer from any

weakness of will or inability to act, that he has the ability to think clearly, and that he

does not suffer from any mental disorder. Moreover, E. E. Stoll said: “The delay

functions in Hamlet as it had from the Greeks on, as part of the epical tradition; it does

not reflect upon the defects of the hero, but makes the deed momentous when it comes at

the end of the play.” (Weitz, Hamlet, p.50)

Hamlet has really strong character, which we can also witness in the very

democratic and human way he treats Horatio and the players. His hesitation is not a result


of cowardice, but a result of evil nature of the society in which he lives. “Hamlet himself

is a moral man in an immoral world, a sensitive man in a cruel society, society which

accepts the concept of revenge as perfectly moral. (Aichinger, criticism, Vol. 35). This

social roles tell him to take revenge, but the socially created urges to revenge, force him

to do something against his real nature. Hamlet’s rejection of the moral standards of his

society is crystallized by his father’s death, his loss of the election to the throne,

Gertrude’s casual acceptance of her husband’s death, and her hasty marriage. These

events serve to heighten his awareness of the condition of society (Aichinger, criticism,

Vol. 35). One can say, that they