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Discusses the hamlet aspects?

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William Shakespeare wrote one of his most famous tragedies, The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark, which is also known as Hamlet between the year 1599 and the year 1602. Although the play falls under the genre of tragedy, it also is a revenge-tragedy and is considered to be one of the most influential works of literature. Besides, these two aspects the play gives a vivid description of yet another feature of human nature, insanity.


The discussions about Shakespeare's play Hamlet results in the understanding of the concept of insanity and of madness that is affecting Ophelia as well as Hamlet. The analysis of their psyche demonstrates very different reasons for them to have gone mad, but the notion that they could have saved each other remains a very crucial notion of the play.

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The notion of madness in Hamlet is to present the effect of doubt and ambiguity in the play. At the beginning of the play, Hamlet states that he will be putting on an "antic disposition", which is when he starts behaving like a mad person and his mental condition deteriorates as the play proceeds (Dreher, 2016). However, it is not possible to tell with complete absolution that Hamlet was really mad or not. In Act III Scene IV, Gertrude confronts Hamlet about the play, when suddenly the Ghost of Hamlet's father enters and Hamlet starts conversing with him instead. Gertrude starts believing that her son is truly crazy when she asks, "To whom do you speak this?"(149). She states further that there is no one other than themselves in the room and it is only a fragment of his imagination.

"This is the very coinage of your brain.

This bodiless creation ecstasy

Is very cunning in." (157-159)

However, Hamlet seems to respond in a different way regarding her concern when he warns her that she must not reveal to Claudius of how Hamlet is acting to be a mad person but is actually quite sane(Dreher, 2016). Hamlet states,

"That I essentially am not in madness,

But mad in craft." (209-210)

Hamlet although considers his madness as a ruse or an act to deceive Claudius and avenge his father, the fact that he converses with the ghost of his father who instigates and inspires him is the sign that there is an advent of mental instability that has taken place inside the mind of Hamlet. His insanity according to him might not be real, but to the others and to the readers as well it is very true (Román, 2018). His need to take revenge and right all wrong has pushed him over the boundary to the unfamiliar territory of madness.

While Hamlet's madness sprouted from his thirst for revenge, Ophelia sunk into the depth of insanity because of the society and the people she lived with and loved. All along her life, she is manhandled by either her father or her brother or the person she loves, Hamlet. She obeys whatever they say and advise her to do and has no mind of her own. She never stands up for her loved ones and neither does she stand up for her when her brother hammers into her mind the idea of being a virgin, pure and perfect. She fails to take a firm stand when Hamlet abuses her for spying on him and calls her out to be a "breeder of sinners" along with all of her kind and order Ophelia to go to a "nunnery". The pressure that patriarchy and her own weak personality brings upon her mind, forces her to go mad and kill herself (Román, 2018). Her songs are a clear reflection of her mental instability when in Act IV Scene V she sings,

"By Gis and by Saint Charity,

Alack and fie for shame,

Young men will do 't, if they come to 't;

By Cock, they are to blame.

Quoth she, 'Before you tumbled me,

You promised me to wed.'

So would I 'a done, by yonder sun,

An thou hadst not come to my bed." (63-71)

She sings of how she stumbled upon a maiden who lost her virginity to a young man. She continues to state that how a man promises to get married and demands sex. She further states that how it becomes rather difficult for a girl to judge the situation as if she agrees she will be called out to be impure and the man will leave her (Verma, 2016). If on the other hand, she disagrees then she is a prude and the man will leave her. Her song might be an insight to her traumatic relation with Hamlet. It also shows that her obsession is with old men like her father and young men like Hamlet.

"Which bewept to the ground did not go

With true-love showers" (44-45)

It can be noticed easily that how often Ophelia sings about her father and her romance with Hamlet, which is ill-fated and states that the reason for her madness is the constant male manipulation as well as abuse, which ultimately results in her untimely death (Verma, 2016).


It is quite easy to state that, Hamletis a story that can have endless adaptations and retellings as having been seen through the passage of time, not only because it's a gripping narrative, but also because it adheres to such complicated aspects of the human nature that it is difficult not to relate to the characters. Insanity has troubled both Hamlet and Ophelia but on different levels and for different reasons as well.

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