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Essay/Term paper: Hamlet: "to be insane or not to be insane that tis the question"

Essay, term paper, research paper:  Hamlet

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Hamlet: "To Be Insane or Not To Be Insane That Tis The Question"


With in Hamlet, Shakespeare gives a psychological dimension to the
thouoghts and actions of each of his characaters, exspecially hamlet.
Shakespeare gives the reader an indepth look into the mind of Hamlet. If
shakespeare had not given the reader the complex psychological state of Hamlet,
then yes one could say Hamlet was insane, but Shakespeare did. He made sure
that there was an explanation, logical reason for all of his actions. Hamlet, at
the very least was sane. In the play Hamlet was percieved as being mad, but
there was a just cause. The symbolic meaning of Hamlet's actions are the
underlining meaning for his unconscious motivation toward his actions. This
means that Hamlet, maybe not knowing it at the time, would logically justify his
actions. For example in act III, Hamlet said to Ophelia:

You should not have believed me;
for virtue cannot so inoculate our
old stock but we shall relish of it.
I loved you not. ... Get thee
to a nunnery!...Go thy ways to a nunnery.
(Sc.I 125)

Here we can see that Hamlet had told Ophelia earlier in the scene how deeply he
loved her, but here he has changed completely, saying that he had never loved
her. With in this quote he slips in that Ophelia should go to a nunnery. This
is his just cause for his maddness. He tries to get Ophelia to forget him and
go to the nunnery so that she can be safe, and away from all his troubles that
would soon come. Here we see his justcause as well as his foreshadowing for
things to come.

Like many Princes, Hamlet has been highly educated in Whittenburg, England.
Here he has learned to think logically and not to act or think on impulse.
This is why the reader sees Hamlet talkling to himself. In act III we see
hamlet debating over ideas and problems out loud. The most obvious one is in
his "To Be" soliloquy.

To be, or not to be, that is the
question: Whether' tis nobler in
the slings and arrows of out-
rageous fortune.... to die - to
sleep No more. (Sc.I 65)

Here we can see Hamlet debating with his inner self. Should I exsist or not?
ShouldI sleep or not. Hamlet argues with his inner consious on the fact that if
he should die and leave his troubles or live and fight his troubles. this is
not to be classified as maddness, for he challenges his self for life, not an
imaganery person. Hamlet does an unconscious analsys on himself. This only
proves that he has built up rage which he lets out in a form of internal debate
instead of taking it out on someone else like Claudious.

In act three scene two, Hamlet proves that he has a mind of a genious not a
maddman. He has the players act out a play, where they pantomine with a plot
similar to the circumstances of Claudius' murder of Hamlet's father. He also
has them do the poison scene. this is Hamlet's most cunning thing he has done
through our the whole play. He lets the king and his mother know that he too
knows what went done that dreadful day when his father was killed.

In the first act Hamlet specifically shows his disgust and rage for the marriage
of his mother to Cladious the king. Hhamlet tells his mother:

Tis not above my inky cloak, good
mother, Nor customary suits of solemn
black, Nor windy suspiration of forced brevity.
No, nor the fruitful riverin the eye ( Act I Sc. II 82)

Here Hamlet demonstrates his rage by saying that his mother did not wear black
or cry long for his departed father. Here the reader can see the beginning of
the Oedipus comlex. Hamlet hating his new father, yet still loving his mother
even though she was part of the plot to kill his father. Many scholars have
said,

"If Hamlet had performed his resolution to kill the king then the play would
have ended in the first act."

Hamlet could eliminate Claudious the first instance he had, but no, he waited so
his killing would be for a meaning, instead of a bloody killing, out of rage.
Only if he had killed the king then instead of when he did could he be called
insane, or mad. When Hamlet killed the king, everyone thought it was just,
considering that they heard the whole story. Here the reader can clearly see
that Hamlet is not mad, but a genious.

In the final scene Hamlet dies, but before he does he leaves the reader
with some important words:

As th'art a man, give me the cup.
Let go! Be heaven, I'ss have't. O
good Horatio, what a wounded name shall
live behind me! If thou didst ever hold
me in thy heart, absent thee from felicity
awhile, and in this harsh world draw thy breath in
pain, To tell my story.

Here Hamlet leaves his final words to Horatio. He tells him that he leaves
behind a story unknown, and that he would like him to give absence from felicity
or happiness until the pain is gone and the story told. Hamlet is not a fool.
He wants it known what has happen is the kings fought and not his own. He
leaves the world a brave man not a mad one.

In conlusion, Shakespeare has let the reader see the pshycological aspects of
Hamlet's thoughts. He has shown the reader that there is a reason for every
action, just as in Einstein's theory, that for every action there is a reaction.
Hamlet is not mad or insane, just maybe a little weird. Hamlet takes great
effort in coming up with conclusions to his problems. If Hamlet inner thoughts
were not showed, then one would not understand the actions he performed. The
fact is that he did, and that in itself proves that he was sane.

 

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