Felix Cole English 10 H Monica Espinasse Barbed Words Shakespeare’s tragedy Hamlet evokes a world where a nation can be seen as a diseased body and language can be used as a lethal weapon. Madness, defined in the dictionary as, “engaging in actions that are senseless or foolish”, is an issue that multiple characters deal with throughout the play. Many would say that Hamlet’s actions are very irrational, but everything he says and does eventually helps him achieve his desires. Despite how things seem Hamlet is an intelligent character who ultimately is in his right mind. The death of one’s father and a ghostly visitation thereafter are events that would challenge the sanity of anyone.
There is much evidence in the play that Hamlet deliberately feigned fits of madness in order to confuse and disconcert the king and his attendants. His avowed intention to act "strange or odd" and to "put an antic disposition on" 1 (I. v. 170, 172) is not the only indication. The latter phrase, which is of doubtful interpretation, should be taken in its context and in connection with his other remarks that bear on the same question. To his old friend, Guildenstem, he intimates that "his uncle-father and aunt-mother are deceived," and that he is only "mad north-north-west." (II.
Hamlet increasingly gets angrier and angrier with himself as he keeps talking, and his anger turns to Claudius. Hamlet is now angry and self-loathing. He calls himself a “scullion” which means the lowest of the servants. He tells his brain to start working and gets an idea: to watch Claudius’ reaction to the modified version of The Mousetrap to confirm or deny his guilt about the King’s murder, which is the fourth part of Hamlet’s soliloquy. In the soliloquy, Hamlet is at first upset with himself about finding ways to avoid avenging his Father’s murder, like his spirit in ghost form told him to.
He uses reason to explain how certain occasions have delayed him rather than blaming himself for backing out on his plans. In both soliloquies Hamlet makes comparisons between himself and other characters. In Act II he compares himself to an actor and in Act IV he compares himself to Fortinbras. In both soliloquies Hamlet uses the comparisons to put himself down for not carrying out his actions. In Act II Hamlet is angry with himself because he doesn't understand how an actor can get so emotional over a speech that he is reading, while Hamlet, who is actually in the real situation, is passive in his emotions, "Is it not monstrous that this player here, but in a fiction, in a dream of passion, could force his soul so to his own conceit."
Hamlet and Claudius contradict one another in a variety of ways making them enemies throughout the play. Prince Hamlet is perceived as the protagonist in the play for many reasons, one of them being because he displays an elegant intensity in everything he does, making him very amiable to the audience. When Hamlet is truly indecisive, brutal, revengeful, and hateful. When Hamlet speaks to others, his words are thought out to be hurtful to whomever he is speaking to. “You should not have believ'd me, for virtue cannot so inoculate our old stock but we shall relish of it.
The difference between the two is that O’Brien believes that he himself suffers from mental insanity while it is Hamlet’s mother and his step father that believes its Hamlet who is insane. 2. Hamlet is perceived as mad by his fellow Danes because he plays a ruse to disguise his plot to kill the king while O’Brien believes that he himself is crazy because he does not want to go to a war he does not support and that tons of Americans didn’t support. 3. Near the middle of each story the characters start to change their opinions slightly; Hamlet starts to believe he is actually becoming insane and O’Brien starts to believe that he may have done what’s right.
He then comes up with a plan to have the actors put on a play that is similar to the Murder of King Hamlet. Hamlet assumes that if Claudius has a reaction towards the play, he is guilty. This soliloquy is important because it reveals that Hamlet believes that he is dull spirited, it also points out that Hamlet is frustrated at himself for not having killed Claudius yet. All Hamlet is thinking about for the duration of this soliloquy is Claudius, and how he killed King Hamlet. Toward the end, Hamlet comes up with an idea to know if Claudius is guilty.
While Hamlet scrutinizes and evaluates the consequences of his actions, Laertes acts without forethought, saying, "Let come what comes only I'll be revenged / Most thoroughly for my father" (IV.v.138). However, his hastiness allows him to fall victim to Claudius' manipulative nature and he becomes a puppet in Claudius' plot to dispose of Hamlet. This accentuates one of Hamlets strengths, one that he reveals when he states, "Call me what instrument you will you cannot play upon me." (III.ii.380) he is not easily influenced by the people around him. Laertes further highlights Hamlet's strengths when he states that he would "cut [Hamlet's] throat i' the church" (IV.vii.126).
The several unresolved conflicts found in William Shakespeare’s Hamlet have been an infinite source of constant debate for readers. Most prominent among them is Hamlet’s madness. Whether Hamlet’s madness is genuine or feigned is left open for various interpretations due to the play’s ambiguous nature. However, with Hamlet’s abilities to think and act rationally, to cease putting on an “antic disposition,” and to perform noble acts, the audience will find it easy to agree with Samuel Johnson’s notion that “… the hero’s ‘madness,’ a source of ‘much mirth’ to eighteenth-century audiences, was merely pretended …” It is notable to the audience that Hamlet has continued both thinking and acting rationally throughout the play, even behind his façade of insanity. For instance, before the performance of The Murder of Gonzago, Hamlet explains to Horatio, “There is a play tonight before the King.
In one of the early ironies of the play, Hamlet’s antic disposition, though intended to alleviate suspicion of his actions, only serves to confuse the King and inspire his decision to use Rosencrantz and Guildenstern as spies against his nephew. The King’s observation that Hamlet’s behaviour resembles “more than his father’s death” not only shows Claudius as an astute character, but also hints at a concealed fear that he may have towards the protagonist. At this early stage of the play, however, the audience has no means of deciphering the King’s true nature, as he is yet to reveal his guilt and the Ghost is an uncertain figure, shrouded in an ethereal mystery. The audience remains aware of Horatio’s warning to Hamlet that the Ghost may have an ulterior intent. Horatio even states to Hamlet that the ghost may intend to “draw you into madness”, and this line in particular reverberates in the audiences’ minds as they see Hamlet descend into an undecipherable lunacy.