Madness is a condition that is often difficult to identify, especially when trying to analyze the behavior of a fictional character in a play that was published in 1603. In the play, Hamlet is asked to avenge his father’s death and to accomplish this task in a less apparent manner, Hamlet decides to put on an antic disposition. The madness of Hamlet is often disputed, for good reason, as his behavior is frequently baffling throughout the play. Shakespeare, the author of this tragic play, leaves the audience to decide whether Hamlet is truly mad or not. However, through careful examination and analysis, it becomes clear that Hamlet’s act of madness was just that—an act.Order now
Hamlet’s antic disposition was an act of deception, fabricated to draw attention away from his suspicious activities and his true motives as he tried to gather evidence against Claudius. Hamlet had a method in his madness as it was calculated to be used as a veil to hide behind. People would speak more freely in Hamlet’s presence is they thought he was mad because they would assume that he would not be able to make any sense of their conversation. If Hamlet was caught engaging in suspicious activities or his true motives were revealed, he would be able to feign an episode of madness and, in effect, relieve himself of any suspicion. Shakespeare offers clear evidence pointing to Hamlet’s sanity beginning with the first act of the play. The play begins with the sighting of King Hamlet’s ghost.
If Hamlet were the only one to have seen his father’s ghost, the argument for his madness would gain validity. However, the ghost was witnessed by, not one, but three people other than Hamlet. Hamlet’s first soliloquy begins with, “O that this too sullied flesh would melt,” (1.2. .ment of reason, but rather, he drove himself to that conclusion with intense and distorted emotions.
The fact that he was still able to at least come to a decisive conclusion supports the idea that his madness is still an act at this point. All in all, there seems to be much evidence in the play that Hamlet deliberately feigned fits of madness in order to confuse the king and his attendants. There should be no doubt that his madness was an antic disposition. He had asserted his true intention early in the play to throw others off track by veiling himself. Hamlet’s madness was very calculated and methodic and was employed to assist him in fulfilling his motives without suspicion. Hamlet used deception in his antic disposition to draw attention away from his actions and behaviors to relieve himself of any indictments as he tried to exact revenge for his father’s death.