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

Is Hamlet Mad?

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Is Hamlet Mad? In the fourth and fifth century B.C, melancholia was described as a disease, written by Hippocrates. It was though that it was caused by the dislike of food, despondency, sleeplessness, irritability and restlessness. It is now thought that melancholia is the same as our modern day clinical depression. In the time of Hamlet, cause of illness was based on the theory of 'the four humours', which stated that the bodily fluids; blood, yellow bile, phlegm and black bile all had to be balanced to maintain a healthy being. Each fluid was allied with the four elements; air, fire water and earth. It was thought that Hamlet had excess black bile; black bile was allied with the Earth element and meant that a person with too much of it would be gluttonous, lazy and sentimental, and had a melancholic disposition. In society today depression is not thought of being caused due to excess black bile but because of the person's physiological state, and it is causes are likely to be different for different people. ...read more.

Middle

Which I think means that he knows one thing from another and that he is bright enough to confuse his friends with this remark. I am quite sure that Hamlet was not in fact mad, but just feigning his madness, he even admits that he is planning to do so to Horatio during Act I, scene v, lines 166-180 and I think that Hamlet does so to cover up his 'revenge against his fathers murder' plan. Although, there are some facts that could point to Hamlet truly being insane. For example, in Act III, scene iv, lines 105, Hamlet is in his mothers chamber, with his mother and the ghost 'appears' but can only be seen by Hamlet, and another example is when Hamlet tells Laertes that he killed Polonious in a "fit of madness"(Act V, scene ii, lines 236-250). Although I have to take into consideration that his signs of madness may just be feigned. The courts perception of Hamlet is that he is mad, they have evidence to think this, Polonious already thinks that Hamlet is mad with love for his daughter Ophelia and after Hamlet accidentally murders Polonious, suspicion arises between al the court. ...read more.

Conclusion

The best-known soliloquy, the fourth, is not as passionate but more subdued and still does not show any significant signs of madness. This is where I feel that Hamlet was not truly mad, as surely there would be solid signs of this in his soliloquies. When considering the theory of how your gender effects how you cope with melancholy I feel that there may be a difference, if you take Hamlet and Ophelia, both suspected of suffering from melancholy they both seem to act on it in different ways. Hamlet seems to cope well, although at times he shows his melancholy, he appears to cope well. Whereas Ophelia seems completely insane! She performs acts that are completely random, such as handing out flowers and she begins singing songs to herself that don't really make sense to anyone. "He is dead and gone, lady, he is dead and gone..." (IV.V.29-30). Her state of melancholy and madness leaves her in such an unstable state, which finally leads to her death. Ophelia is seen as a weak lady; therefore she portrays her melancholy differently to that of a man. Alex Ingram ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE 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 GCSE Hamlet essays

  1. Hamlet & Madness

    He only reflects his feelings and ideas from the events to his best friend Horatio and he tries to message Gertrude that he is not mad at all but only behaving it when they talk in Gertrude's private room: "...It is not madness that I have uttered.

  2. Explore Shakespeare's presentation of Hamlet, his moods and motivations, through his soliloquies in Act ...

    Towards the end of the soliloquy Hamlet expresses doubt towards and about the ghost and whether it is honest. "...The spirit that I have seen May be a devil..." Hamlet fears that the Ghost may be the devil, telling him lies to tempt him into eternal damnation by killing Claudius.

  1. How does Shakespeare portray changes in Hamlets character in soliloquy one and four

    disappointed in and blames for all the disheartening it has caused him. Due to Gertrude's sudden re-marriage Hamlet feels let down and becomes very angry because of the un loyalty she has shown to her late husband, Hamlet's father. After his father's death Hamlet looses one of his closest friends

  2. To what degree to do you consider Hamlet to be mad? How do you ...

    The ghost appears for the second time and again we see yet more frantic behaviour as he is desperate to go with the ghost, "Unhand me gentlemen.....I say away go! Go on. I'll follow thee" He threatens Horatio and the other guards as they attempt to stop him from following the ghost.

  1. Essay considering how Shakespeare portrays Hamlet's dilemma through the soliloquies.

    Up to the point of the first soliloquay Hamlet is distraught as he returns from England on the news of his Fathers startling, unforeseen death. Unluckily and not what he needed he returns to a more unsettling, disturbing atmosphere as before to find his Mother married to his dead Fathers

  2. Commentary on a poor example of an essay on Hamlet's madness.

    This however is not the case, the author is simply equating depression and suicide with madness, when that holds no validity. If the author had been able to strongly support the idea of Hamlet?s madness without the assumptions made, this essay would have been much more effective.

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