At what points of the play Hamlet is the main character, Hamlet, depicted as enjoying his pretense of acting insane? (I'm writing an argument on how Hamlet delays killing Claudius because he...
At what points of the play Hamlet is the main character, Hamlet, depicted as enjoying his pretense of acting insane?
(I'm writing an argument on how Hamlet delays killing Claudius because he enjoys the challenge, and part of the challenge is having to act insane in front of others. I need to find evidence, and I believe that he also enjoys harassing Ophelia while pretending to be insane. I can't, however, find any evidence that suggests he was enjoying it.)
Hamlet, like King David of the Old Testament, pretends to be mad in order to save his life. He also seems to derive a certain pleasure from this pretense as a means of retaliating against certain people, such as Polonius and Ophelia and Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, all of whom he perceives as having betrayed him. With his former classmates, Hamlet seems to banter after he remarks that to him Denmark is a prison:
ROS. We think not so, my lord.
HAM. Why then 'tis none to you; for there is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so. To me it is a prison (2.2.241-242)
With Ophelia, Hamlet acts insane because she has lied to him about Polonius's being at home. He also perceives her as a symbol of female corruption, much like his mother. So in harassing her, he strikes back at his mother since the ghost of King Hamlet has told him to leave Gertrude alone. Truly, he does enjoy this harassment because she has also deceived Polonius about their relationship.
Get thee to a nunnery, farewell. Or if thou wilt need marry, marry a fool, for wise men know well enough what monsters you make of them. To a nunnery, go, and quickly too....(3.1.134-136)
Then, in Act III, Hamlet speaks in bawdy terms to Ophelia, lying at her feet foolishly as she says, "I think nothing my lord" (3.2.105), and he replies, "That's a fair thought to lie between maids' legs" (3.2.106). Ophelia remarks, "You are merry, my lord" (3.2.109), which indicates that Hamlet seems to be enjoying himself.