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If Hamlet is mad, then there is no tragedy - Discuss Hamlet's madness is feigned, faked and put on - period! If he was truly mad then how can there be a tragedy in the full Greek sense

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Introduction

If Hamlet is mad, then there is no tragedy - Discuss Hamlet's madness is feigned, faked and put on - period! If he was truly mad then how can there be a tragedy in the full Greek sense of the term? Macbeth may have shown shades of madness/desperation towards the end of his life - he was, after all corrupted by evil, but 'Hamlet' is a 'Revenger's Tragedy' not a 'let's all go mad and kill everyone', history play. The key lies in 2 quotations: ".........I will put on an antic disposition' and: "..I can tell a hawk from a handsaw" NB: This is a mistranslation. Shakespeare actually wrote - "...a hawk from a hernshaw" - a 'hernshaw' being ancient English for a heron! ...read more.

Middle

Even the mother who should know him best is convinced he is insane. Ophelia with her ' Oh what a noble mind is here o'erthrown' line shows she believes the man she loves (who after all did come into her bedchamber with madness writ large over him) is mad. Perhaps the 'shall I lie in your lap' line was a bit too much in regal company. One thing is for sure; Ophelia does go completely insane and is the perfect black to Hamlet's white, throwing his fake lunacy into stark relief. The killing of Polonius - often held up as proof of madness is the opposite. Hamlet coldly runs the unknown man behind the arras, through. ...read more.

Conclusion

He refuses to bend to anyone - especially those he loves - and we recognise him as a hero even though he prevaricates more than any other 'hero'. There is a sanity to the graveyard scene that is chilling. He is so aware of life and death at this point, having condemned R&G to death with abandon, that he realises that the suicide he was too saintly to contemplate due to the eternal consequences, is not necessary - death awaits him just as it does everyone. Hamlet is a tragic hero. Tragic heroes can't be mad or there would be no tragedy He is not a mad fool he is a scholar and a 'noble mind', weak in war and the opposite of his father, but strong in scheming and accidental destruction. . ...read more.

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