Hamlet Questions and Answers
by William Shakespeare

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In "Hamlet," what is Hamlet's state of mind at the end of Act III? Is he only pretending to be mad?

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If Hamlet is not mad, he is, by his own declaration "thought-sick."  Clearly, with all that has happened, Hamlet suffers from severe melancholia. And, research has shown that psychiatrists today often diagnose patients who are realistic with clinical depression.  Hamlet is such a person. For, he is sickened by the reality that his mother has committed an act of perverseness by marrying her brother-in-law who has killed his father: "reason panders will" (III,iv,88).  Repulsed by her lack of shame, he tells his mother,"And would it were not so, you are my mother (III,iv,15).

Justly distrustful of Claudius , in Act IV...

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