There could arguably be several factors contributing to the madness of Ophelia and Hamlet. The death of Polonius, is the most obvious reason for insanity in both. A second reason could be the recent loss of a loved one in Hamletís fatherís death, and the resulting marriage of Hamletís mother and uncle. The reason for insanity in both Ophelia and Hamlet will scrupulously be looked upon in the ensuing paragraphs.
A theme of the entire play could be seen as Hamlet being used by his father for justice in his death. One reason the ghost of Old Hamlet is used was as immediate entertainment, so is not always viewed as insanity on the part of Hamlet. Since others saw the ghost in the beginning is another reason why it is not seen as insanity. It is simply a bizarre phenomenon. What could be seen as insanity is when only Hamlet hears the ghost. A number of well-known reasons for insanity, in the Shakespearean age, were unheard of. A simple lack of sleep over prolonged periods of time, which is very probable in Hamletís case, has proven to cause sight and auditory hallucinations. When the limbic system in the brain (the ancient part of the brain that receives raw data) sends too many signals to our frontal lobe (the area of the brain that interprets data), the result can be confusion, and seeming insanity. This could be a simple explanation to the insanity. The prolonged stress of the loss of a loved one and accepting the fact that your mother married your uncle so quickly following the death of your father could cause a limbic rush to the frontal lobe thus causing insanity. There are convincing factors that point to the situation in forcing Hamlet into insanity.
Even though the situation could have had factors in the insanity of Hamlet, it seems like those factors forced out of him what was already there. Usually in an emotionally healthy person, the pressure factors in the plot of Hamlet would have been very stressful to say the least, but wouldnít have made a person totally insane. It seems to point overwhelmingly to biological factors in the insanity of Hamlet. Slight bipolar disorder could explain the many ups and downs of Hamlet throughout the play. Along with bipolar disorder comes the inability to react with purpose to stressful situations, or to react in an antisocial manner.
Opheliaís insanity most definitely points to innate biological factors. Most often the brain disease, paranoid-schizophrenia is unlocked between eighteen to twenty-four in a stressful situation. This obviously nails Opheliaís case. With the death of her father, Polonius, she was never the same, acted most irrational, and was out of touch with reality. She exhibited paranoid tendencies, and reacted to normal social situations in bizarre ways. Suicide is not uncommon among paranoid-schizophrenics either.
Even though it could be a stretch, Hamletís murder of Polonius could have caused insanity in Hamlet. Hamlet acted seemingly remorseless for the death, but after such a violent event happens, emotions should be expressed instead of suppressed. Post traumatic stress disorder seems to be prevalent, even though the symptoms could be caused by other factors. Chronic stress, an ongoing uncontrollable stress, like Hamletís lack of control over the affairs of his family, cause much of the same symptoms as post traumatic stress disorder.
The atmosphere of the play could be viewed as a factor in the madness of Ophelia and Hamlet. To relieve stress, it is necessary to leave the scene and put your mind on other things. There was no chance to do this in Hamletís case. Rosencrantz and Guildistern were constantly pestering him, not allowing him to cool off. In this purpose, I disagree that Rosencrantz and Guildistern were unnecessary in the play and could be deleted. They were pivotal in the brooding, and spawning the callousness that Hamlet developed. For Ophelia, she was alone in her grief, which makes the grief that much worse. Social groups have proven to ease the stress and grief of the loss of a loved one, and this was missing in her case.
Ultimately, it is concluded that Hamlet and Ophelia were mad. The reason for their madness however are different. In Hamletís case, there seems to be a slight case