What are some quotes from Hamlet that indicate that he is actually mad?

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After he sees the ghost and hears his revelations, Hamlet tells Horatio that he is going to pretend to be mad, but not to worry: it is all a ruse that will keep the other people in the court off kilter. However, there does seem to be one point in...

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After he sees the ghost and hears his revelations, Hamlet tells Horatio that he is going to pretend to be mad, but not to worry: it is all a ruse that will keep the other people in the court off kilter. However, there does seem to be one point in the play where Hamlet has gotten so frenzied that he has possibly tipped into madness. This is when he confronts his mother in her bedchamber about Claudius.

In act 3, scene 4, Hamlet, who has just refrained from killing Claudius because he believes he is praying, talks to his mother about why she married Claudius. His language is quite harsh, and she fears he will kill her, so she cries out. Polonius, who is hiding behind the tapestry, moves, and Hamlet impulsively kills him, thinking he is Claudius.

In this scene, Hamlet cries out that he sees his father's ghost. However, unlike on the ramparts at the beginning of the play, when Horatio and the guards saw the ghost as well as Hamlet, his mother sees nothing. This suggests that at this moment Hamlet may be hallucinating. Some quotes for act 3, scene 4 that indicate madness are as follows. Hamlet sees the ghost (or so he thinks) and says aloud:

"Save me and hover o'er me with your wings,
You heavenly guards!—What would your gracious figure?"
Gertrude, seeing nothing says:
"Alas, he’s mad!"
A little later, as Hamlet speaks to ghost, Gertrude tells him how mad he looks, with hair standing on end, speaking to nothing, and behaving excitedly:
"Alas, how is ’t with you,
That you do bend your eye on vacancy
And with th' incorporal air do hold discourse?
Forth at your eyes your spirits wildly peep,
And, as the sleeping soldiers in th' alarm,
Your bedded hair, like life in excrements,
Starts up and stands on end. O gentle son,
Upon the heat and flame of thy distemper
Sprinkle cool patience. Whereon do you look?"
She also says:
"This the very coinage of your brain."
By this she means he is hallucinating.
It is out of character for Hamlet to act with impulsive violence as he does when he stabs Polonius. It is also out of character for the ghost to show up inside the castle.
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First, it is important to note that most scholars believe that Hamlet is not actually mad, and Hamlet himself explicitly says that he is ultimately in command of his actions. But many of the other characters in the play seem to believe he is mad. Polonius first raises the issue, claiming that the madness can be traced to Hamlet's unrequited love for Ophelia:

That he is mad, 'tis true: 'tis true 'tis pity; 
And pity 'tis 'tis true—a foolish figure!

Ophelia herself bemoans what she views as Hamlet's descent into madness:

O, what a noble mind is here o'erthrown! 
The courtier's, scholar's, soldier's, eye, tongue, sword, The expectancy and rose of the fair state, 
The glass of fashion and the mould of form, 
The observed of all observers, quite, quite down! ...That unmatched form and feature of blown youth Blasted with ecstasy.

Claudius is not completely convinced that Hamlet is actually mad, but fears him in any case, saying that "Madness in great ones must not unwatch'd go."

Furthermore, after her encounter with Hamlet, Gertrude tells her husband that she is convinced that he is "mad as the sea and wind when both contend which is the mightier." This is, to some extent, a ruse. Though Gertrude was very disturbed to see him speaking to the ghost of his father, which she could not see, she is also doing as Hamlet has instructed by portraying him as mad, and, perhaps, trying to shield him from culpability for the death of Polonius. It is unclear whether she actually believes him mad.

 

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