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Transcript of HAMLET'S MADNESS
"Why, man, they did make love to this employment. They are not near my conscience. This defeat does by their own insinuation grow. 'Tis dangerous when the baser nature comes between the pass and fell incensed points of mighty opposites." (Scene 2, lines 57-62)
"Oh, that this too too sullied flesh would melt, Thaw, and resolve itself into a dew! Or that the Everlasting had not fixed, His canon 'gainst self-slaughter! Oh, God, God, How weary, stale, flat, and unprofitable Seem to me all the uses of this world!" (Act 1, scene 2, pg. 27, lines 129-134)
"To put an antic disposition on-/ That you, at such times seeing me, never shall/ With arms encumbered thus, or his headshake/ Or by pronouncing of some doubtful phrase/ As 'well, we know,' or 'we could, an if we would,'/ or 'If we list to speak,' or 'There be, an if they might'/ Or such ambiguous giving out, to note/ That you know aught of me- this do swear," (Act I, scene 5, pg. 67, Lines 181-188)
This is the scene where Hamlet just told Horatio about how he changed the documents that Rosencrantz and Guildernstern were delivering to England so that they would be killed when they got there. Hamlet doesn't feel guilty about causing their deaths because of their own actions (siding with Claudius) . If they were true friends they would have stay by his side instead of betraying him.
Hamlet is basically moaning about how depressed he is over his father's death, his mother's remarriage to his uncle, and wishing that his "flesh" would "melt" or that he'd die. This is the first sign of how Hamlet has, actually gone mad.
Hamlet is telling his friends, Horatio and Marcellus, that if he seems crazy and says anything that doesn't seem like he would say, to just go along with it. What ever happens to him that "you know aught of me". He makes them swear and from there we find that Hamlet plans to act crazy in order for his revenge plan to work.
"Hamlet: They are coming to the play. I must be idle. Get you a place.
King: How fares our cousin Hamlet?
Hamlet: Excellent, I'faith, of the chameleon's dish: I eat the air, promise-crammed. You cannot feed capons so."(Scene 2, Line 89-93
"Hamlet: ...To a nunnery, go, and quickly too. Farewell.
Ophelia: Heavenly powers, restore him!
Hamlet: I have heard of your paintings too, well enough. God hath given you one face, and you make yourself another..." (Scene 1, Lines 141-14)
"Hamlet: A king of shreds and patches--
Save me, and hover o'er me with your wings, You heavenly guards! What would your gracious figure?
Queen: Alas, he's mad!"(Scene 4, Lines106-110)
King: "It shall be so.
Madness in great ones must not unwatched go."
(Scene 2, Lines 191-192)
This statement by Hamlet shows he is not insane, for one moment he is acting completely sane and normal will talking to Horatio. However when the king approaches he begins to act insane, thus proving he is putting on a show. Also, the quote reassurtes the readers knowledge that Hamlet is putting on an act.
This illustrates a image of Hamlet being insane and Ophelia realizing this insanity. Hamlet is truly mad in this quote for he has knowledge of Polonius eavesdropping but continues with his rage. Thus, hurting his plot for revenge and in fact appearing unstable.
Although Hamlet states he is putting on a show, he does more to portray true insanity. First by verbally attacking Ophelia, and later states this was a moment of his true madness. Then by the fact he acts rash and kills Polonius without hesitation when at the beginning of the play he needed hard evidence to kill his fathers murderer. Lastly, when he spots his fathers ghost while talking to his mother. I believe Hamlets mother did not see the ghost for there was no ghost and Hamlet was in fact mad. Merely trying to justify his actions of killing Polonius and was so mad he hallucinated.
(aside) Though this be madness, yet there is method in ’t.—(to HAMLET) Will you walk out of the air, my lord? (A.2 S.2 L.195)
Polonius has discovered and realized that Hamlet is faking and simply pretending to be insane when he truly isn't
Sanity and insanity can be genuine or pretend. Throughout Shakespeare's play, Hamlet, the topic of whether Hamlet is in fact insane or acting insane has been one of the greatest literary debates for over four centuries. Hamlet's character is able to play and use insanity to his advantage in order to fool others.
Hamlet Is Both!
In Act I, Hamlet is both sane and insane. He is so depressed and saddened by his father's death that he contemplates whether to commit suicide or not. However, he does not start acting insane until after he talks with his father's ghost.
"And you must needs have heard, how I am punished with a sore distraction. What I have done that your nature, honor, and exception roughly awake, I here proclaim was madness. Was't Hamlet wronged Laertes? Never Hamlet. If Hamlet from himself be ta'en away, and when he's not himself does wrong Laertes, then Hamlet does it not, Hamlet denies it. Who does it, then? His madness. If't be so, Hamlet is of the fraction that is wronged; his madness is poor Hamlet's enemy." (Scene 2 lines227-237)
This conversation is between Hamlet and Laertes right before their fencing battle. Hamlet blames his madness for killing Polonius, he says if he was sane it wouldn't have happened. Hamlet is acting insane at this part by blaming his madness, even though it was all an act. All the pressure of his fathers ghost about avenging his death caught up with him, which could have caused him to act insane.
"That I can keep your counsel and not mine own. Besides, to be demanded of a sponge, what replication should be made by the son of a king?" (Act 4, Scene 2)
Mad with Emotion
Hamlet can not confine in anyone including his childhood friends, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern. His once close friends have turned against him and sided with the king. He compares them to sponges stating they only soak up information to later tell Claudius.
Do Not Trust Anyone!
Is Hamlet truly insane or is it a façade?
" The body is with the King, but the King is not with the body. The King is a thing - " (Act 4, Scene 3)
" Not where he eats, but where 'a is eaten. A certain convocation of politic worms are e'en at him. Your worms is your only emperor for diet. We fat all creatures else to fat us, and we fat ourselves for maggots. Your fat king and your lean beggar is but variable service -- two dishes, but to one table. That's the end" (Act 4, Scene 3).
Beggar that I am, I am even poor in thanks; but I thank you, and sure, dear friends, my thanks are too dear a halfpenny. Were you not sent for? Is it your own inclining? Is it a free visitation? Come, come, deal justly with me. Come, come. Nay, speak. (A.2 S.2)
I am but mad north-north-west. When the windis southerly I know a hawk from a handsaw. (A.2 S.2)
At this point in the play Hamlet know what he must do. He thinks strategically was is best for him and is not truly insane. He fails to disclose where Polonius's body is, and very vividly describes the decay of body once buried. He does this to evoke fear from others. Hamlet is ready to take action and will go to any length to complete his revenge.
Simply a Façade
Commentary: While talking to Rosencrantz and Guilderstern, Hamlet reveals to them that he has enough sense to know that they are spying on him. He also confesses to Guildernstern that he is only insane sometimes. This proves that Hamlet is not really mad but instead is just good at playing the part.
Horatio and the other guards see the ghost of King Hamlet in Act 1, but when Hamlet confronts his mother in Act 3, she does not see the ghost. Why?
Whose madness is more realistic Hamlet's or Ophelia's?
There may be many reasons as to why Gertrude did not see the ghost. It could be because she was involved in the murder of her former husband and the ghost of King Hamlet knows she guilty but out of love does not want to harm her. Another possibility could be that at this instant Hamlet imagined his father there reminding him not to harm his mother.
Ophelia's madness seems much more realistic simply because she does not jump from being insane to sane then insane like Hamlet does throughout the play. When she looses her father she has a mental breakdown and truly goes mad.