Hamlet Questions and Answers
by William Shakespeare

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What are the differences between Ophelia's real madness and Hamlet's feigned madness in Hamlet?

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Hamlet's madness is a strategy intended to produce specific results, and Ophelia's madness is a result of other people's strategies. Hamlet decides to act mad so that he can buy time to determine the truthfulness of what the ghost has told him, and so that he can deflect attention away from himself as he does so; who will believe a person who is crazy of plotting revenge for murder? It is a strategy that he employs in order to pursue first, truth, and then his father's murderer so that he can achieve justice by exacting revenge on his uncle.

Ophelia's madness, however, is the result of other people's plotting rather than her own attempt to do so. First, her father and brother tell her that she must break off her relationship with Hamlet, and she does so, though she believes that this is what drives the prince mad. Then, her apparently mad ex-boyfriend murders her father, and she is left without the man she loves as well as the man who made her abandon the man she loves. Her absolute lack of...

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d2leaperd | Student

i think that shakespeare was a bit sexist as ophelias madness is too exaggerated and over-the-top with her actions and childish singing. Even Claudius says to hamlet at the beginning of the play "everyone loses a father" Why does Shakespeare single ophelia out when everyone goes through these emotions and stressful times?