Hamlet's Feigned Madness Becomes Real

1452 Words6 Pages
Hamlet’s Feigned Madness Becomes Real William Shakespeare’s Hamlet shows that Hamlet is mad. Hamlet is forced to act insane in order to find out the truth of his father's death. Hamlet does an excellent job of acting insane, so good, in fact, that it is questioned if he was acting insane or if he actually was. Hamlet's madness is an important part in the play. The question to his insanity lies in the reasons for his insanity. Everyone he loves and holds dear constantly betrays him throughout the play, which ultimately leads to his very real insanity. Hamlet’s “adoption of the pretense of madness may well have been due in part due to fear of the reality; to an instinct of self-preservation, a fore-feeling that the pretence would enable him to give some utterance to the load that pressed on his heart and brain, and a fear that he would be unable altogether to repress such utterance.” (Foster, pg 242) In this quote, it is explained that Hamlet’s act of self-preservation is ultimately, what leads to his downfall. “He begins by feigning madness, as a result (he says) of his profound melancholy, but his melancholy seems to transmute into genuine madness; certainly, he becomes psychologicaly unhinged.” (McGinn, 40) Hamlet is so overcome with his grief and his task of feigning madness that he himself becomes truly mad. One of Hamlet’s first signs of madness is when he begins to follow the Ghost. Pleading with Hamlet not to follow the Ghost, Horatio asks him to think about what might happen if the Ghost "assume some other horrible form, / Which might deprive your sovereignty of reason / And draw you into madness.” (I. ii. 80-82) It seems here that Horatio thinks that Hamlet is Schneck 2 unstable enough that he may easily be deprived of his senses. When Hamlet appears as though he is about to tell Horatio what the Ghost said, Hamlet does not

More about Hamlet's Feigned Madness Becomes Real

Open Document