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In the tragedy, "Hamlet", written by William Shakespeare many people ask the question of whether or not Hamlet is sane or insane throughout the play. From the start of the play many people assume that hamlet is indeed "mad" or so called "insane". When Hamlet is alone and by himself he intends to act normal. When is with his friend Horatio, Fransico, Bernardo, the players, and the gravediggers he acts completely normal and is indeed sane. Whereas when he tends to be around his uncle Claudius, his mother Gertrude, Polonius, Rosencrantz, Guildenstern, and Ophelia, he acts as if he was insane so he can draw attention and continue on with his plan. This shows that Hamlet is not insane but just acts insane to be able to follow his plan and to avenge his father's death at the end of the play by killing his uncle, Claudius.
At the beginning of the play, Hamlet is approached by his father's ghost while with his friend Horatio, and the two officers, Marcellus and Bernardo. With Horatio not wanting Hamlet to follow the ghost, he does so and goes anyway. His father tells him that his uncle, Claudius was the person that murdered him. With Hamlet already angry about his father's death plus the remarriage of his mother to the person that had killed his father, Hamlet gets even angrier. The ghost of Hamlet's father then disappears while saying "Swear" (1.5.165) four times to Horatio
and the two officers. The ghost makes them swear on not to say anything about his appearance and the conversations they had. Later on in the play, Hamlet is approached by his father's ghost for a second time. The ghost says that Hamlet needs to "revenge his foul and most unnatural murder." (1.5.29). Hamlet makes a decision by believing what the ghost tells him and decides that he has to revenge his father's death. Later on in the play, Hamlet is rethinking about the things that the ghost told him. He begins to doubt and is unsure what the ghost had to say, and thinks it could be wrong. This is when Hamlet tries to see if the ghost is actually a good or bad spirit by coming up with a plan. Hamlet creates a plan that he uses to prove that Claudius is in fact guilty over his father's death. His plan is to "Have these player's/play something like the murder of my father/before mine uncle." (2.2.543-545). He rewrites part of the play to make it remind Claudius of the killing of Hamlets father. He then makes the players learn it before the play. Then while the play would be going on, Hamlet would have Horatio watching the reactions of Claudius. The other part of his plan is to act insane by having Hamlet himself talking to Ophelia at the start of the play. He says things like "Lady, shall I lie in your lap?" (3.2.96) and "Do you think I mean country matters?" (3.2.100). Hamlet does this so at the start of the play within a play so he can draw attention to his mother Gertrude and Claudius. By acting insane, Hamlet will see their reactions and will be able to listen in on their comments of what they have to say. Hamlet says "I'll take the ghost's word for a thousand pound," (3.2.259) after the play because he knows his father's ghost was right. He then regains his confidence after finding out Claudius's reactions from when to Horatio. Later on in the play when Hamlet returns from England and finds out about Ophelia's death he decides to take action immediately. Laertes challenges Hamlet to a fencing match because he was angry at him for accidently killing his
father, Polonius when listening to him and his mother, Gertrude talk. Hamlet wins every round in the fencing match even after finding out Laertes cheated by using a poisoned tip sword. After being stabbed with the sword, he ends up killing Laertes and proves that he is not insane. Hamlet was trying to avenge his father's death just like Laertes was. Hamlet was either though to be insane or pretended to be insane only because of the king's murder of his father.
When Hamlet is compared to Ophelia, you can easily tell that did not go insane. After Ophelia finds out about her father's death she goes completely insane. She cannot even talk or carry on conversations with other people while making sense. She sings randomly at times by saying things like "There's rosemary, that's for remembrance; pray, love, remember: and/ there is pansies that's for thoughts." (4.5.185-186) and most importantly she cannot even notice her own brother, Laertes when he approaches her and talks to her. She also commits suicide by drowning herself in a river. On the other side, Hamlet does speak normally and makes complete sense throughout the entire play even after his father's death. Hamlet notices everyone in the play unlike Ophelia. He also was brilliant enough to act insane, think fast, and follow his plan by killing his uncle, Claudius.
In conclusion, Hamlet was not insane but only acted to be so he could listen to his father's ghost and avenge his death by the end of the play. Hamlet had many challenges throughout the play, but planned it very well by causing distractions on and off. He was able to listen in on people's conversations. Every step he took lead him to success of getting him closer and closer to able to take action, and avenge his father's death by killing his uncle, Claudius. Hamlet had complete
control of himself throughout the entire play. This is why Hamlet is proven to be not insane in the tragedy of 'Hamlet" written by William Shakespeare.
Shakespeare, William. Hamlet. Portable Literature. 6th ed. Ed. Laurie G. Kirszner & Stephen R. Mandell. Boston: Thomson Wadsworth, 2007.