Does Hamlet Ever Truly Go Mad?

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“DOES HAMLET EVER TRULY GO MAD?” 1 “Does Hamlet ever truly go mad?” Jessaca Giles 8/17/12 ENG 1002 – Composition II/Literature Dr. Todd Starkweather South University “DOES HAMLET EVER TRULY GO MAD?” 2 Hamlet becomes upset after learning about the death of his father, former King of Denmark. Further adding to his despondency his uncle, Claudius, marries his mother, Gertrude, Queen of Denmark, and becomes the new King. Hamlet is visited by his father’s ghost who tells him he was murdered by Claudius. The ghost tells Hamlet that he must avenge his death so that he may continue into the after-life. This presents the question “Does Hamlet ever truly go mad?” The leading events would certainly justify madness and his actions and conversations with other characters would indicate a true madman. This is exactly what he wants them to believe. He cunningly uses insanity as a provision in his quest to avenge his father’s death. It is during the conversation with his father’s ghost that Hamlet first admits his contrived madness when he says “How strange or odd some’er I bear myself- As perchance hereafter shall think meet To put an antic disposition on” (1.5; 179-181). He further elaborates exactly how he will convince people of his madness by saying “That you at such times seeing me, never shall, With arms encumbered thus, or this headshake, Or by pronouncing of some doubtful phrase” (1.5; 182-184). He is telling of his plan to act out of the ordinary with handicap like movements, head shaking and indecisive statements. He also admits his hoax to his school friend, Guildenstern, when he tells him “But my uncle-father and aunt-mother are deceived.” “I am but mad north-north-west. When the wind is southerly I know a hawk from a handsaw.” (2.2; 375-376, 378-379) This indicates he knows his actions and words are deceptive and even though others

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