Friday, November 11, 2016

to be mad or not to be mad

One of the most debated topics from Hamlet is if Hamlet is actually acting the part of being mad or if he is in reality mad. It is hard to tell and can be argued either way. He specifically says that he plays the fool and will act mad to achieve his purpose of killing King Claudius. The movie interpretation of Hamlet shows the madness of Hamlet in a very exaggerated way through things such as weird facial expressions and the skull mask that are the director's interpretations. Contrarily, when Hamlet stands in front of the mirror and says his "to be or not to be" lines, he is most likely not aware he is being watched, but still argues the benefits and detriments of suicide. Therefore, I would say that Hamlet is mad in some way or another because of his actual depression and the weight of his responsibility to kill King Claudius. Hamlet is so intelligent and has so much control that it is hard to tell if he is acting or letting his own emotions out.

6 comments:

Rickeia Coleman said...

I would argue that Hamlet started acting crazy in order to throw everyone off to kill Claudius. However, as stated he even acts crazy when there seems to be no one else around. So far, the play seems like a regression of Hamlet as he loses the people close to him such as Ophelia and must embrace solidarity in order to fulfill his duties as a son of a murdered father. Hamlet has ultimately decided to choose duty over his personal wants and it seems like this is the thing driving him truly mad because there's no way out except for suicide which we stated was not an option because he's scared he'll miss what happens after he dies.

dbryan said...

Joseph brings up a great topic of discussion. Personally, I think that Hamlet has gone a bit mad, but not in the way that he shows to others. As Rickeia points out, Hamlet initially acts crazy to put on a show and prevent people of suspecting his plot to kill Claudius. As the play goes on, Hamlet acts in ways when he is alone that make it seem like he might actually be crazy. For example, he often contemplates suicide. It is debated whether Hamlet is possibly no longer acting and he has actually gone mad. I believe that when Hamlet is acting, he is actually pretending to be crazy. However, when he is separate and isolated, he has lost sanity in a different way. I think his reluctancy and hesitation to kill Claudius has caused him to lose sanity, and question the worth of everything. I don't think Hamlet is actually as crazy as he pretends to be, I think he is just feeling pressured and terrified about making such a meaningful move by killing Claudius.

Brooke Williamson said...

I also think it's significant that when Shakespeare writes Hamlet as mad, he does so in prose to emphasize the point that Hamlet's mindset and speech may not be completely sane and normal because he is "pretending" to be unstable.

Bailey Taylor said...

I don't think that Hamlet is acting. Anyone in his circumstance would be a little crazy. His dad just died, his mother married his uncle right after, she keeps telling him to stop greiving, and now he has to kill his uncle. That is a lot. Not including the fact that he saw the ghost of his father which is traumatic within itself.

Luke Jeanfreau said...

I think this all just plays on the fact that Hamilton vows to fully dedicate himself to a engine his father. Because he takes a while to accomplish this, he drives himself mad thinking that he is not good enough

Julia Scofield said...

I do not think that hamlet it mad, he is simply under extremely stressful conditions. His father was murdered, his widowed mother married his uncle, and he is now responsible for avenging his death. That is enough to make anyone go s little crazy. However, he is not completely mad. He is still able to use speak eloquently and use puns to add meaning to what he was saying. If his mental state was compromised, he would be unable to use language in this way.