All That Madness An Essay On Hamlet

  • Category: Theater
  • Words: 560
  • Grade: 93
One way to define madness is to say that madness is "a mental incapacity caused by an unmentionable injury." These injuries are not easy to see, but can appear in a time of stress. For instance, Hamlet has been in a state of mourning since his father died. Later he started acting crazy after he saw the ghost. Laertes was propelled into an angered state of madness after the death of his father. Ophelia had a unique form of madness. She seemed caught amid memories of her father and Hamlet. After what these three characters have endured life could never return to what it had been before.
        Since the death of King Hamlet, young Hamlet appeared to be in a state of madness. This is seen in dialogue between Hamlet and Polonius when Hamlet questions Polonius by asking him "have you a daughter."(Act II, Sc.2, 199) Of course Hamlet knows Polonius has a daughter. Hamlet appears to be mocking Polonius, where, in the past, Hamlet would have shown respect for him because of his age and his high position in the court. Later, Hamlet accuses Polonius of being the "Jephthah, judge of Israel,"(Act II, Sc.2, 427) when he tells Polonius that he thinks he would put his job in front of his daughter. Because of this Polonius thought Hamlet was mad because in the past Hamlet was well aware that Polonius cared for his daughter very much and would never put her second.

        Unlike Hamlet, Laertes had developed a different kind of madness, a madness that was driven by rage. When talking to Claudius, Laertes became so enraged towards Hamlet that Laertes wanted to "cut his throat i"˜ th"˜ church."(Act 4,Sc.7, 144) Laertes' behavior was caused by the murder of his father, Polonius, and the drowning death of his sister, Ophelia. Laertes' madness grows even stronger when Claudius promises "and for his death (Hamlet) no wind of blame shall breathe "(Act 4.Sc7, 66). Claudius does a great job manipulating Laertes into a savage beast to avenge Polonius' death, in an effort to get rid of Hamlet who knows the truth about King Hamlet's death.

        Ophelia has a unique form of madness, unlike Hamlet and Laertes', because it is driven by brokenhearted love. Hamlet has rejected her and basically called her a whore when he says "get thee to a nunnery" (Act 3, Sc.1, 148.) A sentiment inferring lost love is seen when she sings about the events on "Saint Valentine's day."(Act 4, Sc.5, 53) When Ophelia sings about Valentines Day she is referring to romance that she was denied and does not believe can have again. Ophelia couldn't cope with the loss of Hamlet's love, and this along with Polonius' death drove her mad.
        If Hamlet could have controlled his anger, he would have had the capability of controlling himself and acting sane. Laertes was influenced very much by others and had no was to control his rage towards Hamlet. Ophelia was the most innocent victim. She was controlled by everyone else's actions and because of her powerlessness she disintegrated mentally. As a result of enduring the "unmentionable injuries" of the events in Hamlet the characters lives could never be the same again. (PTSD) {(Post Traumatic Stress Disorder)}

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