In the event of examining the nature of Hamlet’s madness,we will need to probe into Hamlet’s state of mind at different periods and circumstances in the play.
Hamlet can be seen to be and not to be mad by different people at different stages. From one perspective, Hamlet can be seen to be mad when Ophelia goes to her father and gives a description of Hamlet’s disposition when he goes to see her, also when he goes to see his mother in her closet as can be seen in his tone of voice and his murder of Polonius and his lack of repentance for his death. also, his psychological trauma and emotional depression at the begining of the play may have plunged him into emotional insanity, and lastly his encounter with Leartes in Ophelia’s grave.
Reversly, evidence is also shown to prove Hamlet’s sanitysuch as, when he initially tell Horatio about his intended change of disposition, also, when he tells both Rosencrantz and Guildestern that he is not mad.
Also the things which he claimed to have done on the ship bound for England goes to show his sanity, and lastly his encounter with Leartes in Ophelia’s grave.
Upon the revelation of the ghost who is supposedly Hamlet’s father’s spirit, we witness a marked change in Hamlet’s disposition both in words and in deeds, one of such can be seen when (in Act 2 scene 1) Ophelia goes to see her father, apparently scared gives him a brief but vivid description of Hamlet’s disposition when he came to see her. she describes him as having “a look so pietous in purport” as if he had “been loosed out of hell”. This shows us a marked change in Hamlet’s disposition, the statement “As if he had been loosed out of hell” raises a lot of questions such as, what happened to Hamlet?.
Possibly,some spirit or demon may have taken over him thus his appearance as being “hellish” in nature or it could be that he had lost his wits to hell and thus is not aware of his appearance and we are made to believe that that he appears thus throughout most of the play.
Secondly, to further back up the point that hamlet was indeed mad is or can be seen with the encounter he had with his mother in her closet, where he lashes out at her to the extent that he is rude and also armed with such venomous words that frighten his mother.
Possibly, he does this out of mere outrage at finding Claudius’ guilt and unable to take revenge but has to see his mother and thus speaks daggers to her heart and seizes her arm possibly in a fit of madness rather than outrage as it should be noted, the act was not premeditated but rather spontaneous and Getrude in shock screams for help and Polonious who is behind the arras(curtains) screams the same and Hamlet hearing him draws his sword and kills him. And when he finally realizes whom he had killed he shows no remorse whatsoever but rather sees his actions as being justified as he says “Thou wretched, rash, intrudig fool, farewell”. This action and statement show a completely different personality as in most periods in the book we see Hamlet in a suicidal melancholy but never in a murderous mood as we see him here so thus it would be safe to say that he was probably momentarily taken over by a fit of madness.
Also from the begining of the book, we see the tragic hero as being psychologically disturbed by the death of his father and the overhasty marriage of his mother to his uncle Claudius, and to further compound matters his love is rejected by Ophelia on the advice of her father over her true feelings and Hamlet’s feelings, thus driving him into a state of emotional depression as well as psychological instability as Hamlet now saw himself as loosing both parents as well as a confidant, thus leaving him with no womanly affection whatsoever as he could no longer enjoy the sole monopoly of his mother’s affection which had now gone to his uncle (Hamlet is .