Is Hamlet Insane

Subject: 📚 Literature
Type: Analytical Essay
Pages: 3
Word count: 828
Topics: 👑 Hamlet, 📗 Book, 🧔 William Shakespeare
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In William Shakespeare’s play “Hamlet”, the leading character, prince Hamlet, is persuasively represented by the author as a crazy man, which leads many viewers and readers to assume that he is. Nevertheless, the manner in which Hamlet copes with each of the dramas in his story shows the opposite. He demonstrates rationality and sanity regardless of his immense suffering and how he purposefully feigns insanity to avenge his father’s murder and kill Claudius in retaliation. Notwithstanding what he represents and what he states throughout the play, Hamlet succeeds in insistently commanding these images in front of the public.

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The origin of Hamlet’s “madness”

Hamlet develops the idea of feigning madness after warning Horatio when his father’s spirit appears to him. Hamlet tells Horatio that no matter what he will complete, he must never recall this episode, notwithstanding the fact that Hamlet may consider it necessary to act unpredictably at certain instances. Although the validity of this approach can be challenged, one fact is certain: he is going to act insanely, because under the guise of madness he will obtain the freedom to express and perform surprising or various actions relating to his revenge plan. Because of this, it seems that Hamlet is a highly considered and reasonable person, which can only be inherent in a stable individual.

Hamlet’s pretended madness gives him the advantage to speak openly about his emotions, to generate more ideas, to acquire the necessary information, while not allowing people to thoroughly consider his motives. The act of simulating Hamlet’s insanity allows him to state what he believes, hiding behind the image of a madman for the sake of killing Claudius, so that no one would have any questions. Hamlet seems mad when he openly makes sexual remarks to Ophelia. By revealing his sincere emotions, the prince successfully provokes a response from Gertrude and Claudius, which is exactly what he desires. In addition, Hamlet applies his unstable state as a justification, part of an apology to Laertes for killing Polonius. A completely deranged person would not be able to come to such prudent and effective decisions. All the previously mentioned examples show that the image that Hamlet has invented for himself is extremely beneficial for his revenge plan.

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Why Hamlet is not actually insane

One more significant factor that Hamlet has not gone mad is that in situations where he is required to act rationally, he is able to do so, nearly like a switch. An unstable person would not be able to generate predictions and identify reasons to think so systematically, which once again suggests that Hamlet is, in fact, not insane. He considers no motive to behave madly with Horatio because the prince perceives him as a trustworthy and clever friend enough to differentiate when Hamlet is sincerely acting himself and when he is feigning madness. It is more plausible to argue that a sane person can impersonate a madman, not the other way around, and therefore the reason that emerges will believe Hamlet to be sane.

Besides the fact that Hamlet uses his mind and quick wit to communicate with the people he needs to, the most significant thing is that he is extremely worthy at manipulating his abilities in practical ways. When his insanity erodes the reality and hides the truth, Claudius dispatches Rosencrantz and Guildenstern to discover that ‘unknown afflicts [Hamlet] thus (II.ii.17)’. When Hamlet talks to them, he reveals his mind and grasps the exact reason for their visit. In a tone that appears to be mad, the prince informs them that he is not in fact insane. Hamlet demonstrates a brilliant mind, as he is able to play with his friends and disguise his intentions and purposes by acting, which in turn exempts him from their interrogations. In a further episode, he is even able to murder them in his place by managing his father’s seal, employing a method devious even to a clear-headed man, let alone a madman.

Lastly, another proof of Hamlet’s appropriateness is discovered when his behavior is contrasted with someone whose actions are actually unpredictable, such as Ophelia’s behavior after Hamlet angrily spoke to her and her father died. She started to sing and make nonsense, without any underlying sense, which is typical of Hamlet’s apparent nonsense. The result of the scene results in Ophelia becoming insane, while Hamlet maintains rational consistency in all his acts and speeches.


After all, Hamlet clearly remains a stable man who pretends to be insane in order to efficiently execute his plan to avenge his father’s death. Hamlet’s feigned madness excuses his fatal actions. Hamlet gets some tricks up his sleeve and considers his actions long and thoroughly in regard to the appearance of madness he presents. In many circumstances, Hamlet constantly expresses a clever and inventive mind, meticulously designing his moves and rationalizing his ideas. Therefore, it can be claimed that Hamlet is not indeed insane, but rather simply playing the part of a madman.

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