Old Hamlet’s ghost appears for the second time to remind Hamlet of his mission of revenge for his father’s murder. Hamlet suggests to his mother he is not actually mad at all, he is just pretending to be. Shakespheare shows us many conflicts with characters throughout this scene and also the consequences which the scene puts out, including Ophelia’s madness due to her fathers death. The ‘closet scene’, as it is commonly referred to, is significant in a number of ways. On one level it helps develop the reader’s understanding of some of the play’s key themes.
Hamlet's tragic flaw is his indecisiveness to act on his thoughts. Hamlet tends to over-think and weigh the consequences of his actions rather than just act on them, this is shown through Hamlet's soliloquys. Hamlet is always questioning himself so he will make the best decision. No matter how admirable this is it slows him down from killing Claudius. Hamlet even says himself, “Thus conscience does make cowards of us all” (III.i.54).
Hamlet finds it difficult to carry out his revenge before he realises that there is a “divinity which shapes us all”, as he is caught up with the concept of death and troubled by his own inability to act. Hamlet is deeply upset by everything which his happening around him, especially his mothers “incestuous’ relationship with Claudius. He is extremely critical of himself, often calling himself a “coward”,” pigeon livered” and “lacking gall” as he cannot just kill
However, this is not the only type of type of play or drama in which the main character acts crazy or mad in order to enact revenge upon someone to avenge someone or just to purely gain revenge for some personal purpose. Yet, scholars interpret Hamlet’s madness in different ways, such as saying that he truly did go mad. In addition, when Hamlet is alone with Horatio and Gertrude away from the public and the king his speech and actions are different, and they do not include all the riddles and ‘madness’ or gestures that he talks with or uses throughout the rest of the play with everyone else. Hamlet’s flaw in all of this is that he likes everything to be perfect and due to that he procrastinates everything. Therefore, to perform his grand scheme, he must change the way he acts in order to prefect the chance to avenge his father’s death, and he must act in such a way to discover and learn everything he needs to do so.
God! How weary, stale, flat, and unprofitable, Seem to me all the uses of this world! This is the first time that the reader sees Hamlet’s inner turmoil as he considers committing suicide over the death of his father but decides he cannot, for the consequence would be hell. It is important to note that purgatory and hell are referenced numerous times throughout the play as a consequence for giving into selfish thoughts or actions. In this particular instance however, this soliloquy also lends to the idea that Hamlet is insane due to the passing of his father.
From the moment “he [became] a sinner,” his life went into calamity with the need to keep his sin hidden from Salem. It is at this point that Abigail began to formulate her plot to gain Proctor. This ultimately led to his final, tragic downfall of death. His downfall could have ultimately been prevented, if not for his tragic flaw. His sense of pride prevented him from admitting to the adultery.
The struggle to act upon his father’s murder is a key factor in Hamlet’s disillusionment with the world. The Elizabethan period was a time that demanded revenge and this is even true in our present time to some extent. An eye for an eye approach was considered socially correct which Hamlet initially suggests ‘May sweep to my revenge’. Since Claudius has become the new king, he is considered a false king and imposter to the throne by Hamlet and this leads to the collapse of the natural hierachy that was in place. He states ‘tis an unweeded garden’ alluding to the fact that a false king leads to corruption which finally leads to the collapse of the hierarchy.
His change of attitude grows confusing as he professes his dear love after her awful death, “ I loved Ophelia. Forty thousand brothers could not with all their quantity of love make up my sum. What wilt thou do for her?”(5.1.255-257). After all the hatred consumed for Ophelia, Hamlet feels the need to show his love and care for her only after she is dead. Hamlet’s web of lies causes a dent in his portrayal towards society and the audience.
Here Hamlet enters with a dilemma: “To be or not to be”. Hamlet outlines a long list of the miseries, and asks who would choose to bear those miseries if he could choose to die. Hamlet goes on to describe miseries, specifically his disgust at his mother’s marriage. He thinks for a while that death may end all the troubles of life. But then he is unsure o the consequences of death.
If Hamlet were to have seen his father’s ghost by himself, there would be a greater argument for him being insane from the outset of the play. Hamlet also exerts control over his actions, which is the main reason why it could be argued that he is sane. He actively tries to convince Polonius that he has gone mad - mocking him when he would usually be respectful, acting cruelly towards Ophelia whom he was clearly affectionate to earlier in the play. He does this in the hope that Polonius will tell the court of his madness. Hamlet is often hesitant to do things, for example where he had the chance to kill Claudius in the chapel but couldn’t bring himself to do it, not because he would be killing another human but because he wanted Claudius to suffer and not go straight to Heaven.