hamlets madness true or falsewrite it broadly and the answer must be between act1 to act3 scene 2

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lmetcalf's profile pic

lmetcalf | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

Posted on

This is a great question and one that critics and casual readers have debated for years.  I don't think he is crazy -- he logically states he is going to act crazy so as to try to ascertain the guilt or innocence of Claudius.  The question of his madness becomes more a question of changed psychological state.  I would absolutely say he suffering from depression; he is melancholy; he feels hopeless and worthless; he (briefly) contemplates suicide.  I don't catogorize those feelings as madness.  I think Ophelia's ramblings in Act 4 are true madness -- Hamlet seems pretty sane in comparison.

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pmiranda2857 | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

In my view, Hamlet is not mad, so my answer is false.

Hamlet's madness might better be characterized as frustrated grief, a deep overwhelming sad helplessness that consumes him when he is made to understand that Claudius killed his father so that he could take both his crown and his wife, Queen Gertrude. The injustice, the phony attempt by Claudius to embrace him, his mother's complicity in the whole matter of her marriage to his uncle, everything in Hamlet's reality appears tainted with insincerity and lies this is very jolting to him and it is hard for him to adjust to the new reality.

Hamlet becomes consumed with the need to open his mother's eyes to the treachery that has been exacted on her husband, his father, and how she is taking part in this hideous second marriage without a thought or concern for her dead husband.

Hamlet is accused of being morose just two months after his father's death, he defends his feelings in a conversation with his mother.  He is on the verge of screaming because he knows the truth and everyone else lives in a different reality.  His mother encourages him to lift his spirits out of the gloom and doom he feels.

"Good Hamlet, cast thy nighted colour
And let thine eye look like a friend on Denmark.
Do not for ever with thy vailed lids
Seek for thy noble father in the dust:
Thou know'st 'tis common; all that live must die,
Passing through nature to eternity.
Ham. Ay, madam, it is common.
Queen. If it be,
Why seems it so particular with thee?
Ham. Seems, madam! Nay, it is; I know not
'Tis not alone my inky cloak, good mother,
Nor customary suits of solemn black,
Nor windy suspiration of forc'd breath,
No, nor the fruitful river in the eye,
Nor the dejected haviour of the visage,
Together with all forms, modes, shows of grief,
That can denote me truly; these indeed seem,
For they are actions that a man might play:
But I have that within which passeth show;
These but the trappings and the suits of woe." (Shakespeare)

In addition to grappling with his grief over his father's sudden death, Hamlet is also dealing with the ghost's request that he avenge his death and punish Claudius, as he ponders what to do and whether the ghost is a good spirit or a tempter sent by the Devil himself, Hamlet gets caught up in a tangle in his own thoughts.

He can't stand the fact that his mother married his Uncle so quickly after his father's death.  It reviles him, he appears to be mad, but is actually just filled with rage and fury at the injustice of the whole matter.

"A little month; or ere those shoes were old
With which she follow'd my poor father's body,
Like Niobe, all tears; why she, even she,—
O God! a beast, that wants discourse of reason,
Would have mourn'd longer,—married with mine
uncle" (Shakespeare) Act I, Scene II  


darkace3434's profile pic

darkace3434 | Student, Grade 10 | eNotes Newbie

Posted on

Hamlet is not truly mad, he is merely acting it out. He acted mad to grab the attention of Claudius, it is all part of his plan to avenge his father's death.

sura2088's profile pic

sura2088 | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted on

well, this is my first post here .... and i am so happy to join u .....


i think it was not madness it was a bad psycological state ... and hamlet act like a crazy to escape from his bad situation ...


and he fake that madness so he can think what to do about the things around him ...



jillyfish's profile pic

jillyfish | Student, Undergraduate | (Level 1) Valedictorian

Posted on

Broadly speaking, Nayems, the answer is 'both'. Hamlet pretends a certain level of fake madness and he also has a certain level of genuine mental illness.

Broadly speaking, that is the sum of it.

But perhaps, when you expect people to answer your questions 'broad' in all of your requests, you actually mean 'in detail' rather than 'broadly'. Your semantic confusion may explain why you sent me a rude message last week after I helped you with your homework. Next time, when you feel the need to be rude to people who try to help you, remember your rudeness may make you feel good for a moment, but your victim will not forget what you did so quickly.

PS. This is NOT a "Do My Homework For Me" service, especially if you want to be rude to the people trying to help you.

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