Hamlet and Ophelia's Madness

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What is the difference between Hamlet’s madness and Ophelia’s? Is there a marked difference in their behavior and speech? The theme of madness is one of the main themes in the tragedy Hamlet. Hamlet pretends to be mad and Ophelia is driven to actual madness and even suicide. Hamlet starts to act as a madman to avenge the death of his father by his uncle. Ophelia on the other hand, goes mad after the death of her father. Shakespeare uses both these characters to affect the main plot in the play and their relationships with other characters. Many people debate whether Hamlet’s madness is real or fake. Shakespeare incorporated the theme of madness to serve a motive for Hamlet in order to deceive others. Hamlet planned everything from what he was doing to what he was going to do. Hamlet did in fact pretend to be mad, just so he could follow through on his plan to avenge his father’s death. He acted like he was mad because he did not want to directly kill Claudius, because he wanted to make him suffer. Hamlet also knew that he could not tell anyone that Claudius has murdered his father or that he had seen the ghost of his father because no one would believe him. Throughout the play Hamlet expresses his “madness” an example would be when he meets Ophelia in the court. In the beginning of their conversation he tells her that he once loved her but then is also confused saying that he didn’t love her at all. This is due to the fact that he sees woman as deceivers because of his mother’s relationship with his uncle. When Hamlet discovers that Polonius and the King are hiding nearby he explodes in a fit of rage, violently attacking her verbally and physically almost like a mad person would. This goes to show that it is all an act. Hamlet is distressed and hysterical, but he still is able to plan and evaluate his situation while still in control of himself, a thing a madman

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