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Hamlet by Shakespeare
Hamlet appears to be insane, after
Polonius's death, in act IV scene II. There are indications, though, that
persuade me to think other wise. Certainly, Hamlet has plenty of reasons to
be insane at this point. His day has been hectic--he finally determined Claudius
had killed his father, the chance to kill Claudius confronted him, he comes
very close to convincing Gertrude that Claudius killed his father, he accidentally
kills Polonius, and finally the ghost of his father visits him. These situations
are enough to bring Hamlet to insanity, but he remains sharp and credible.
is able to make smart remarks to Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, comparing then
to sponges, "When he (Claudius) needs what you have gleaned, it is but squeezing
you and, sponge, you shall be dry again," (pg 98, 20). This is random and
unexpected, as many of his actions, but the comparison makes sense; Rosencrantz
and Guildenstern soak up all the kings favors, only to become dry again after
they mop up the King's mess (spying on Hamlet, and getting Polonius's body).
Later, with Claudius, Hamlet tells how lowly a king can be by saying, "A man
(beggar) may fish with the worm that hath eat of a king, and eat of the fish
that hath fed of that worm," (pg 99, 29). This also makes sense, and is not
quite as random; when Hamlet confronts Claudius, and the king asks where Polonius
is, Hamlet immediatly begins the comparison by telling Claudius that Polonuis
is at supper (the worms are eating him for supper, and so on). This proves
that Hamlet had some kind of planning for this!
degrading comment, and that
thoughts are not scattered and he is able to stay focused.
a question of what being insane really is. Since it is agreeable that Ophelia
was crazy, it's possible to use her as a guide to make this argument valid.
Hamlet and Ophelia both shared the trait of having calculated thoughts, Ophelia's
singing and Hamlet's verbal attacks. They also shared calmness before their
deaths. But was Hamlet spraying rude remarks to everyone before he died, as
Ophelia had sung floating down the river? No, in-fact Hamlet was the opposite
of what he was before. If he were crazy, like Ophelia, he would have remained
hectic and random up until the time of (and after) the duel. Hamlet, though,
was not--he even reasoned what death for him was, finishing his question of
whether life was worth living for. Hamlet can truley be seen to be sane, and
not. The facts that Hamlet was smart and swift thinking, and in such a reversal
of emotions (from after Polonius died) in the end, leads strongly to the opinion
that Hamlet was not insane.
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Characters in Hamlet, English-language films, British films, Hamlet, Ophelia, Gertrude, Polonius, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, Critical approaches to Hamlet, hamlet by shakespeare, shakespeare hamlet, smart remarks, claudius, immediatly, polonius, king, ophelia, rosencrantz and guildenstern, worm, fish, random, beggar, sponges, degrading, agreeable, squeezing, spying, hectic, mop
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