Hamlet's False Insanity

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Andrew Oakes Hamlet’s False Insanity Hamlet is one of William Shakespeare’s most famous plays and read and discussed by thousands every year. One of the biggest topics of discussion in Hamlet is whether or not Prince Hamlet has lost his mind and gone insane or not. Insanity can be defined as “A derangement of the mind,” where “Such unsoundness of mind frees one from legal responsibility, as for committing a crime”(Random House Webster's Unabridged Dictionary. New York: Random House, 1998. 985. Print.). After Hamlet is visited by his father’s ghost and learns that Claudius, Hamlet’s uncle, murdered King Hamlet. Hamlet uses insanity as a cover to mask his true intentions of revenging his father's murder by exposing and killing Claudius. The context of Hamlet leaves enough evidence to prove that Hamlet was sane and only pretended to be mad. The first time that the reader sees Hamlet, he is distraught due to his father’s death and the marriage of the Queen and Claudius, Hamlet’s mother and his father’s murderer. Hamlet describes his thoughts by saying, “O, that this too too solid flesh would melt
Thaw and resolve itself into a dew! Or that the Everlasting had not fix'd
His canon 'gainst self-slaughter! O God! God! 
How weary, stale, flat and unprofitable,
Seem to me all the uses of this world!”(I.II.129-134). This shows no sign of insanity, but only sorrow. 
His desire for his skin to melt reveals the thoughts of suicide and shows a concrete mental process that an insane man would not have. The reader sees Hamlet as a normal, sane man who is grieving over his father’s death. When Hamlet sees the ghost of his father, it is the first indication that he may be insane. Hamlet’s insanity in this instance is disproven because he was not the first person to witness the ghost. Barnardo and Marcellus are two guards that first saw the ghost while manning their nightly post

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