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Who Moved My Cheese
01-14-2003, 03:57 PM
Hello,
I was supposed to do an in class essay on this question, however we didn't end up doing it. While putting together my own arguement, I found that it could have easily gone either way. In the end, I chose to argue sane. Here is my arguement:

3 main points:
1. Any verbal or physical hints of insanity were tools used by Hamlet to trick everyone into believing that he is mad, in order to mask the change in his personality due to his knowledge of his fathers murder.
[eg. almost every discussion with Claudius, Polonius, and Rosencrantz and Guildenstern]

2. When not in the presence of specific characters, Hamlet displays signs of intelligence, and rational thinking. The ability to follow through with his well thought out plan (even though he loves to procrastinate) further demonstrates his intelligence.
[eg. Hamlet's quick thinking used to save his own life on board with the pirates, getting Rosencrantz and Guildenstern executed instead]

3. His change in personality can be justified by the recent events in his life.
[eg. Hamlet's fathers death (mourned for only a brief period of time) and his mothers quick marriage to Claudius]

Who Moved My Cheese
01-14-2003, 03:59 PM
Sry... I forgot to add something...

I was wondering if anyone had any strong arguements to back up the other side to this question (hamlet = insane).
If so, please join in.

Admin
01-20-2003, 11:55 PM
I always thought it was an act.

Hamlet isn't insane, he is very clever.

Ophelia now, she is insane.

Who Moved My Cheese
01-27-2003, 12:02 AM
What do you think it was that made her go insane. The loss of her love, the loss of her father, or the fact that she is a complete doormat to all men in her life?

p.s. Or, do you think it has something to do with the creepy passes made at her by Leartes?

Admin
01-27-2003, 12:31 AM
A B and C.

apstudent
01-31-2003, 12:44 AM
My English class was asked the same thing and the results were mixed. I personally thought that he started out as an act, but soon doubted his own mind which turned himself insane. The part in the play in whcih Hamlet ponders the idea that the Ghost is actually a spawn of the Devil(or something to that effect) that was posing as his late father in an attempt to create more chaos. Also the remorseless murders of his friends Rosencratz and Guildenstern. We have all been mad at our friends at one time or another, but not insane enough to have them put to death. Not only does he commit the murders, he does not give it a second thought. Then he murders Ophelia's father(I forgot his name) without knowing who was behind the curtain that he stabs. His emotions and the perpetual act mixed together I believe make Hamlet insane.

Vronaqueen
02-07-2003, 10:05 PM
i think i would have to plead temporary insanity.

Because his father was killed, mourned for so little a time, and life (for him) came crashing down around him, his mind wandered slowly if not unwillingly to the insanity table.

his mental state was the product of circumstance and action.

crisaor
03-02-2003, 08:50 PM
I choose the 'sane' option. He never shows any sign of insanity, except when he wishes to do so, to mislead his enemies. I'll admit that Hamlet's is plagued by doubt throughout the entire play, but he's never crazy (although at some point he may wish to be), and he knows what he's doing the whole time. The actions he performs may be perfectly catalogued as irrational, but he sees clearly through them. There's a purpose to everything Hamlet does in the play.

sLeePii
03-16-2003, 02:38 PM
Hamet is sane becuz in the whole book hamlet was pretendin... but teh real thing is tht he wasnt crzy.. Ophelia was actin crazy bcuz of the love of hamlet. She knew that hamlet dontlove her no more, so she sucide. sHe had all these mixed feelings about the love relationship. And she was goin crazy like this.
Hamlet is sane he is not insane! im doin a essay on this one rite now for mah english homewrk project.
roll

Hamlet
03-18-2003, 10:42 AM
And if you do your essay in the style you just presented, "like that, yo man!", I'll be utterly eager to read it! :)

As a matter of a fact, I had thought there is no doubt about the fact that Hamlet has been sane and far too intelligent...

Yet, methinks, had he not died in the last scene, he might have gone insane due to all the pressure on him.

freak_grl
03-25-2003, 02:03 PM
i think he was a very intelligent man to be able to decieve so many people. but dew to his circumstances he slowly went insane and i don't blame him. he had had a hard life and his mom didn't really care. he was strong but not strong enough i think he just slipped into insanity slowly and peacefully. that way it seems that he hadn't but in fact he was. but this is probably just stupid rambiling. :oops:

MacBeth
04-04-2003, 04:39 PM
One must remember that Shakespeare was very poetic (i.e. extensive use of rhyme scheme and metaphors) which seems upon the brink of insanity itself, whether it be said by Hamlet, Richard III, Henry VIII, ect. as for his actions, it is most probable that it was a hoax, so that he might look insane in the eyes of his murderous uncle. However, there is sufficient argument against this, so one might call it one of the most contriversial arguments inivloving Shakespeare's plays to exist.

Northie
05-02-2003, 02:18 AM
Hamlet is no fool, and is not insane. he plays the game well; maybe a little too well, for readers like us to catch every intention. we can see he thinks about his actions with great amount. and why is it that crazy people are often really smart? because you go insane by constantly thinkng; you become depressed by viewing life and the world around you. you reason and analyze to the point where you become lost in it. we can see hamlet doing this, but give him more credit, he's had some crap in his life, and although he thinks continually, i do not think he ever, even slowly and peacefully, freak_grl, ;) became insane. :o

MacBeth
05-02-2003, 04:25 PM
Playing a game or not, he did, in fact contemplate suicide aloud in private, thus being the meaning of the famous line 'To be or not to be...'
However I will agree that he is not stupid and does play the king and queen quite well.

Arteum
05-13-2003, 01:56 PM
When I read "Hamlet" at 24, I realised that I had staged a similar "insanity" before my mother when I was 18. My mother rather ungallantly tried to break my relationship with a girl that I loved. For some reason she wasn't able to bring herself to remonstrating with me about that relationship. Instead, my mother secretly met the girl's mother and made a scene which she thought would spur me to have it all out with her. The next day I found out about that terrible havoc my mother caused in my girl's family and it distressed me very much. Then, not knowing what to do, for I wished neither a row with my mother nor ignoring the matter altogether, I staged that "insanity" which in my case resulted in my very strange behaviour (in my mother's point of view) that lasted for at least a week. I never mentioned to her that I know about what she did. My mother was baffled and her plans for the upcoming row (I'm sure she had thought out the quarrel beforehand) got ruined. I also derived some satisfaction from my playing Hamlet (although I didn't know who Hamlet was at that time) because I saw that my behaviour was torturing her.

Saturnalia
11-01-2006, 10:52 AM
Hamlet is completely sane, the problem is that he has become intoxicated with the thought of revenge. If anything he is a mad man using logic. He knows who he is. The Ghost of his father appeared to the guards as well and anything that may have been an hallucination was witnessed by the guards too, except for the occasion with the Queen. The fact that he unrelentlessly had his 'friends' executed is not something I would condemn or call insane, they had already stabbed him in the back with glee.
The problem comes in when he calously manipulates Ophelia, driving her further into madness, and unknowingly kills her father. These are not things a less reckless man would do. He commits these acts with only one thing in mind, revenge. Thus I would have to say on the whole sane, but vicariously insane.

toni
11-01-2006, 12:46 PM
Hamlet is completely sane, the problem is that he has become intoxicated with the thought of revenge. If anything he is a mad man using logic. He knows who he is. The Ghost of his father appeared to the guards as well and anything that may have been an hallucination was witnessed by the guards too, except for the occasion with the Queen. The fact that he unrelentlessly had his 'friends' executed is not something I would condemn or call insane, they had already stabbed him in the back with glee.
The problem comes in when he calously manipulates Ophelia, driving her further into madness, and unknowingly kills her father. These are not things a less reckless man would do. He commits these acts with only one thing in mind, revenge. Thus I would have to say on the whole sane, but vicariously insane.

Hamlet is a very clever man. He was always aware of his actions (his feigning of insanity).
I really abhorr Ophelia. I always thought she was a terribly weak character.

Saturnalia
11-03-2006, 10:38 PM
Hamlet is a very clever man. He was always aware of his actions (his feigning of insanity).
I really abhorr Ophelia. I always thought she was a terribly weak character.

Yes, weak indeed. Yet unfortunately a victim of circumstance. Women usualy are already weak in character, the fact that man has the balls to think he is any stronger and thus have the right to subjugate women willy nilly only works to exasterbate the situation. No? And a weaker character is one who cannot put themselves in others perspectives.

msdirector
11-05-2006, 12:07 AM
Women usualy are already weak in character, the fact that man has the balls to think he is any stronger and thus have the right to subjugate women willy nilly only works to exasterbate the situation. No? And a weaker character is one who cannot put themselves in others perspectives.

I look at Ophelia differently. I also used to find Ophelia the weakest link in the play, but on closer study, there are interpretations that can contradict that view.

Saturnalia, you say that women are usually already weak in character. I'm hoping that you are refering to the way the Elizabethans perceived women. If so, that's generally true. But if you are talking about the way Shakespeare portrayed women, I beg to differ. Shakespeare wrote many, many strong, independent and vibrant women in his plays: Katherine in The Taming of the Shrew, Beatrice in Much Ado About Nothing, Cleopatra, Cordelia in King Lear, Rosalind in As You Like It, Olivia and Viola in Twelfth Night, even Juliet.

The most common interpretation of Hamlet treats both Gertrude and Ophelia as though they were doormats, simply tools for the men in the play - Claudius, Polonius, even Hamlet, to use in pursuit of their own desires. But I find it inconceivable that the Shakespeare who wrote all those strong women intended for the women in arguably his greatest play to be the sad, wimpy creatures that they appear to be by our modern interpretations.

I could go on for ages (it's the subject of my Master's dissertation), but here's a few things to consider about Ophelia...

1) She openly defied her brother in her relationship with Hamlet.
2) She more subtley defied her father by arguing with him about Hamlet and then continuing to keep Hamlet's keepsakes and seeing him after being forbidden to (although she tells her father that had refused him her favors.)
3) When she is coerced into acting as bait for Hamlet by her father and the King, she clandestinely indicates to Hamlet that her father is NOT at home, but rather is spying on their confrontation in the nunnery scene (and if you think she says nothing and does nothing, why is it that every director has Hamlet realize that they are being spied on at approximately the same moment?).
4) After being "verbally abused" by Hamlet, she then comes back to sit "docilely" at the play with his head in her lap exchanging sexual double entendres with him. Is she uncomfortable with Hamlet at that moment? She should be if his abuse was genuine. Many productions show her to be. But her dialogue certainly doesn't make her seem so - it seems far more playful than fearful to me.
5) Finally, the mad scene(s). She certainly acts mad. But there appears to be, as is said of Hamlet, method in her madness. Some believe she is pregnant (some say by Hamlet, others by Claudius). Others believe she knows more than she lets on and hints at guilt and complicity by Gertrude and Claudius. Is this about her father's death? Doubtful - that's clearly Hamlet. Is it about Hamlet's banishment? She seems to know nothing about Claudius' plot to kill Hamlet. And the complicity she implies seems to be for something more than simply sending Hamlet out of the country. So what then? Could Hamlet have told her about his suspicions? Is she really mad or putting on an antic disposition like Hamlet? How did she really die? We have only Gertrudes report for evidence of her death.

Shakespeare has left a great many ambiguities in Hamlet. That's one of the things that makes it such an intriguing play. And, for me, Ophelia's real role in the play is one of them. I see more to Ophelia than many do, and a very different relationship with Hamlet than is commonly played. Was it what Shakespeare intended. I have no way of knowing. But it certainly is fun to imagine... and there is textual evidence to support it and not alot to contradict it.

Just my opinion, of course... likely few will agree with me. But it is intriguing.

Janine
11-05-2006, 09:05 PM
INDENT]
When I read "Hamlet" at 24, I realised that I had staged a similar "insanity" before my mother when I was 18. My mother rather ungallantly tried to break my relationship with a girl that I loved. For some reason she wasn't able to bring herself to remonstrating with me about that relationship. Instead, my mother secretly met the girl's mother and made a scene which she thought would spur me to have it all out with her. The next day I found out about that terrible havoc my mother caused in my girl's family and it distressed me very much. Then, not knowing what to do, for I wished neither a row with my mother nor ignoring the matter altogether, I staged that "insanity" which in my case resulted in my very strange behaviour (in my mother's point of view) that lasted for at least a week. I never mentioned to her that I know about what she did. My mother was baffled and her plans for the upcoming row (I'm sure she had thought out the quarrel beforehand) got ruined. I also derived some satisfaction from my playing Hamlet (although I didn't know who Hamlet was at that time) because I saw that my behaviour was torturing her.

Hi, this is an interesting thought. I am a mother and I know how it was with my son when he was a teenager or in his early 20's. He would get back to me in similiar ways if he felt cornered or pressured. Pressure could have been a large element in the behavior of Hamlet. He was young - we must all remember that since oft times he is played by a 30 some actor; this being due to the fact that one must be really good to play this mature a role. Usually actors do not attempt the role until they are older and more experienced. It is the ultimate goal to play Hamlet sometime in your career. I have thought that Hamlet was not insane. He lived in a time of wars and violence when it was necessary for survival. I have often pondered his motives in having Rosencratz and Gildenstern executed. I think he was so angry that they would betray him, he felt justified in their killing. Still it did seem like an extreme thing to do. However, did he think they knew the contents of the orders from the king? We know they did not, but just maybe Hamlet thought they did. His accidental killing of Polonius also seemed rash, but at the time he was in a "passion" with his mother and thinking it the king he decided to act and eliminate him. He was pretty worked up talking to her. When he did see it was Polonius he did not show a lot of remorse, but he did remark that he would pay heavily for the death of the old man. He called him a pratting meddling (?) fool, or something close to that. He saw him realistically, since Polonius certainly was that in life even in regards to his own children. He should have minded his own business, but he tried to enter in on affairs of someone else's household. That alone would cause rage in Hamlet or disgust. I don't think Hamlet was insane. He might have had very temporary bouts of near insanity or distress, but mostly he was very clever in pretending to be insane to devert the attention and throw off the quilty. He certainly caused his uncle and the mother great upset. In someways he was passive-aggressive and that can be worse. They all diverted their attention on trying to find out why Hamlet was insane or acting that way. I think Hamlet was stalling and then setting a trap to determine if the ghost's story could be colaberated and proven, and thus Hamelt's revenge could proceed and be justified.

english1122
11-13-2008, 11:32 AM
I would like to read your paper on hamlet sane or insane, is that ok????

english1122
11-13-2008, 11:40 AM
I have noticed that the last log ons are years ago so my question is does any one have a paper on hamlet sane or insane?? If so please thread so i can read for ideas for my english paper. I wrote a paper and my instructor says that i need more sources on my opinion than just my book, what ever that means, so i am asking for help here. Thanks alot english 1122

Hypnotized34
11-13-2008, 11:42 AM
i do agree with u that he was sane

whiteangel
01-01-2009, 09:43 PM
Hamlet is sane as the play beings and that is quite evident for he claims to assume an antic disposition.
however as the play develops, his growing melancholia becomes entwined with his assumed madness....which perhaps leads to an unstable mind.