Madness In Shakespeare's Hamlet

This essay has a total of 775 words and 4 pages.

Madness in Shakespeare's Hamlet

Madness may be “mental incapacity caused by an unmentionable
injury.” Such wounds often are not easily perceived but may be
revealed in time of stress. Hamlet’s question, “have you a
daughter?”(Act II. Sc2 182) Polonius about the Prince’s emotional
state. What is hidden will surely be told to Cloudius by his adviser.
Laertes’ search for revenge is sharper proof that madness in degrees
of publicity causes harm to the observers. Claudius promise “no wind
of blame”(Act IV, Sc.7,66) once Laertes kills Hamlet; perhaps this is
what the uncle has sought all along for himself. Ophelia has a
unique, very powerful form of madness; she seems caught as a “baker’s
daughter,"(Act IV, Sc. 5, 42) between memories of her father and
Hamlet who ought have spokedn to her of events on “Valentine’s
day."(Act IV, Sc 5, 48) She is doubly hexed and the madness she has
infects the whole court. Once a person’s mental state has been
studied in public, there is no telling the injuries which may affect
the viewers.

Ever since the death of King Hamlet young Hamlet has been what
appeared to be in a state of madness. In a discussion between Hamlet
and Polonius Hamlet questions Polonius by asking him “have you a
daughter.”(Act II, Sc.2, 182) In this discussion Hamlet shows antic
behavior towards Polonius by mocking him when Hamlet would usually
show great respect for him because of he age and heis high position in
the court. This sudden question to Polonius has caused Polonius to
believe that Hamlet has a form of love-sickness and that Polonius is
sure to tell Claudius of his condition. Hamlet also accuses Polonius
of being the “Jephthah, judge of Israel,”(Act II,Sc.2, 399) meaning
that Polonius would put his country in front of his daughter. Hamlet
has now convinced Polonius that he is in a state of madness because he
knows that Polonius cares for his daughter very much and would never
put her second. By convincing Polonius that he has no consideration
for the well-being of others, Hamlet is then hoping that Polonius will
tell the court of his emotional madness.

Unlike Hamlet, Laertes has developed a different kind of

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