Thursday, September 19, 2019
In Act I, Scene V, after hearing the ghostÃ¢â¬â¢s demand for revenge, Hamlet says in advance that he will consciously feign madness while seeking the opportune moment to kill Claudius. Therefore, it is hard to conclude that he coincidentally became insane after making such a vow. HamletÃ¢â¬â¢s supposed madness becomes his primary way of interacting with the other characters during most of the play, in addition to being a major device that Shakespeare uses to develop his character. Still, the question remains: Is Hamlet really crazy or just pretending? The major conflict which seems obscures the possibility of obtaining clarity on the answer to this question is HamletÃ¢â¬â¢s inability to find any certain moral truths as he works his way toward revenge. Even in his first encounter with the ghost, Hamlet questions the appearances of things around him and worries whether he can trust his perceptions, doubting the authenticity of his fatherÃ¢â¬â¢s ghost and its tragic claim. Since, he is contemplative to the point of obsession, HamletÃ¢â¬â¢s decision to feign madness will occasionally lead him perilously close to actual madness. Indeed, one might argue that because of this conflict, it is impossible to say for certain whether or not Hamlet actually does go mad, and, if so, when his feigning becomes reality. Conversely, HamletÃ¢â¬â¢s sharp and targeted observations lend significant credence to his feigning madness. Most notably, he declares, Ã¢â¬Å"I am but mad north-north-west: when the wind is southerly I know a hawk from a handsawÃ¢â¬ (II.ii.361Ã¢â¬â362). That is to say, he is only Ã¢â¬Å"madÃ¢â¬ when he is oriented in a certain way, but that he is lucid the rest of the time. Nevertheless, Hamlet confusion translates into an extremely intense state of mind that is highly suggestiv... ...mletÃ¢â¬â¢s desire to attain LaertesÃ¢â¬â¢ pardon clearly represents an important shift in his mental state. Whereas Hamlet was previously self-obsessed and preoccupied with his family, he is now able to think sympathetically about others. He does not go quite so far as to take responsibility for PoloniusÃ¢â¬â¢s death, but he does seem to be acting with a broader and more humane perspective after the shock of OpheliaÃ¢â¬â¢s death. In conclusion, perhaps it is worthwhile to ask this question: if a person in a rational state of mind decides to act as if he is crazy, in order to abuse the people around him regardless of whether he loves those people or hates them, and to give free expression to all of his most antisocial thoughts, when he starts to carry those actions out, will it even be possible to say at what point he stops pretending to be crazy and starts actually being crazy?