• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Hamlet's "antic disposition" is feigned. Discuss

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Hamlet's "antic disposition" is feigned. Discuss Hamlet has been known as one of the greatest of Shakespeare's plays. This is mainly because the protagonist has confused scholarly minds for centuries on end with his complex personality and muddled thoughts, which in turn leads onto his actions, or rather inaction. His incomprehensibility by many leads me only to conclude that he is mad. His irrational and rational thoughts are forever in conflict due to his state of depression and paranoia; therefore, he chooses to put on an "antic disposition" which serves as a "convenient outlet" to his "sanity slipping away" (Wilson), masking the true nature of his mind, which has become "far gone, far gone". In Hamlet's introduction, we see him portrayed as a weak, melancholic man - as exemplified through his clothes of "nighted" colours. He is consumed by the grief of the passing of his father, the "dexterity" of which his mother re-marries, and her pleasure in entering the "incestuous sheets" with Claudius, Hamlet's Uncle. This melancholic state is shown to be quite serious in his soliloquies, where he states that he wants to "Thaw and resolve [himself] into a dew". This sorrowful talk of suicide clearly shows Hamlet's melancholic mind which can be perceived as mad. In the Elizabethan time, Hamlet's melancholy would have been seen as an imbalance of humour, therefore, although not as blatant as Ophelia's madness, Hamlet would have still been perceived to be insane. ...read more.

Middle

It is clear that insanity had created his imbalanced mind, and the graveyard scene merely shows that shreds of his mind before his depression and insanity set in are still present. Another such case where Hamlet shows conscious insanity is in his talk with Polonius where he calls Polonius a "fishmonger" and answers his questions irrationally. Although he may mask it as attempting to fool Polonius and others by acting insane, Hamlet is too convincing. Hamlet has given too much away and shown his insanity. The foolish Polonius states that Hamlet's replies are "pregnant" with meaning, but Hamlet has merely succeeded in convincing Polonius with mere wit. The only thing Hamlet is "pregnant" with is his insanity which grows and shows itself in full bloom later in the play. Analysis of Hamlet's psyche leads quite nicely into his possible Oedipal complex. This is the theory which postulates that Hamlet represses his subconscious sexual desires for Gertrude and it is this subconscious sexual frustration which influences his conscious behaviour to become one of obsession and temperamental paranoia. Ernest Jones states that "Hamlet feels anguish caused by his father being replaced in his mother's affections" and that the affection he feels for his mother has underlying "erotic qualities". In regards to the replacement of his father, this is quite understandable, for change is hard. His father, Hamlet's idol (as clearly conveyed through his talks of him as a "Hyperion") ...read more.

Conclusion

Hamlet's atrocious actions refute his description as a "renaissance man" (Stoll) for a renaissance man has morals and humane ethics. Hamlet has nothing but obsession, persistence and an insane mind. Jones states that Hamlet's "soliloquies are dramatisations of a brilliant mind". This may well be true. Hamlet was indeed in possession of a brilliant mind, but brilliance and insanity are two very different things that can fit together in a mind to confuse numerous amounts of scholars throughout the ages. In the famous "to be or not to be" soliloquy Hamlet philosophises if there is a presence (God) "who would bear the whips and scorns of time". Essentially, he is stating if it would be better to leave the world of turmoil behind by means of suicide. His first soliloquy openly rejects suicide, however, now, he seriously questions if it is the right method to choose. He has lost faith in God and faith in people, for he distances himself from almost everyone in the play. His mind has deteriorated from moral sense and plunged deeper into insanity. It is almost humorous to hear critics like Hazlitt state that Hamlet was a "great moraliser". He moralises nothing. He has abandoned his morals. He is moral-less or they would have intervened in his horrid actions of murder and revenge. He subconsciously and maybe even consciously realised this and feigned an "antic disposition" in order to slowly allow himself to become more and more insane. His progressively violent actions throughout the play show that this is true. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Hamlet section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Hamlet essays

  1. Scene by Scene - Hamlet.

    (Uh huh.) When he "learned the truth", the King of Norway arrested Fortinbras, made him promise not to invade Denmark, and paid him to invade Poland instead. The King of Norway now requests that Claudius let Fortinbras pass through Denmark for the invasion.

  2. Discuss the atmosphere created at the beginning of the play. What is its relevance ...

    However, Claudius tries to hard to make Hamlet get over his sorrow and this only makes Hamlet more suspicious of him. We can perceive that Claudius a cold and heartless man for he seems to think of his brother's death as something that was bound to happen sooner or later.

  1. In Act two, everyone notices a change in Hamlet because he has began his ...

    Her death is perhaps the greatest tragedy in the play From all the research I have completed it seems that Hamlet was acting most of the time but at time, his true madness shows through. The world's position of corruption has driven Hamlet to the point of insanity: he will fix it or die trying.

  2. Hamlets antic disposition is feigned. Discuss.

    Moreover, after everyone leaves he is able to contemplate on his own and so ensues the first of his many soliloquies - which conveys his bordering into the realms of insanity through his contemplations of "self-slaughter" but retracts when he considers the fact that God has "his canon 'gainst self-slaughter"

  1. Is Hamlet a man of inaction?

    everyone else's command, a world where the most emotionally distressing thing you are likely to encounter is that maybe your best tunic has not been properly pressed for you by your legion of servants. You can already see even before his discovery of his mothers marriage to his uncle and

  2. Discussing Hamlet.

    allows it to be different to other soliloquies in that the tone is much calmer and reflective. The present iambic pentameter implies of Hamlet's calm thought process. Here we see Hamlet's deep philosophical nature, discussing logically the merits of life and death, that people would rather live and "suffer" and

  1. 'In Marabou Stork Nightmares Irvine Welsh graphically portrays the impact patriarchal imperatives, norms and ...

    victim to those in power and the winners are previous victims of power. As well as Roy inflicting violence on people who have embarrassed him or that he simply hates, people that are different also fall victim to his obsession with power, such as Roy's half brother Bernard.

  2. Criticism on Hamlet

    But in "Coriolanus," "Lear," "Romeo and Juliet," "Hamlet," "Othello," &c., the effect arises from the subordination of all to one, either as the prominent person, or the principal object. "Cymbeline" is the only exception; and even that has its advantages in preparing the audience for the chaos of time, place,

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work