Madness is a key theme in William Shakespeare’s play Hamlet. Throughout the play Shakespeare displays madness in many different forms. It is also shown in a variety of characters in the play. Some of the main characters that display madness include Hamlet and Ophelia. These characters displays their madness in different ways, and in different amounts.
Shakespeare shows Hamlet’s madness as a more debatable form, making audiences question if he really does end up going mad or not. This differs from Ophelia’s madness, as she actually appears to have gone insane. There are also many different interactions with the other characters caused by the character’s madness. This make those other characters do things they may not have otherwise done.Madness is one of the major themes of the play Hamlet, and affects different characters, and the characters around them in different ways.Shakespeare provides the audience with an in depth exploration of madness through his depiction of the character Hamlet.Order now
He appears to vary in how mad he is, sometimes appearing completely sane, and sometimes more insane. His madness is mostly portrayed through his ramblings at the other characters, or through soliloquies. Originally Hamlet was only feining madness in order to reach his goals and discover if Claudius was really the one who killed father. He decides this after meeting the ghost of his dead father: “As I perchance hereafter shall think meet To put an antic disposition on-.”(Hamlet: 1.5.
171-172).The other characters pick up on his “madness” as the play progresses further. They were all curious as to the cause of Hamlet’s madness. Polonius and Claudius believe it may be caused by the lack of contact with Ophelia that they had caused, whereas Gertr. .some of the key characters in the story, and is shown in many different ways.
Hamlet’s madness is more of an act than true madness. Early on in the story Hamlet decides to feign madness in order to get the truth about his father’s death out of his uncle, using the play as a means to do so. Shakespeare made it very debatable as to if Hamlet’s character was truly mad or not, but making audiences question his sanity with speeches like the famous “to be or not to be” soliloquy. Madness is also displayed in the character Ophelia, however within her character it was more prominent. She was already a weak and fragile character to begin with, and once her father died she descended into madness. Shakespeare showed madness in different ways with his characters in the play.
In some cases it is debatable as to if the character was truly mad, but in others, it was clearly shown.