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Thread: Hamlet's Antic Disposition - Is Hamlet's madness real or feigned?

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    Jul 2006

    Hamlet's Antic Disposition - Is Hamlet's madness real or feigned?

    Feigning madness:

    How strange or odd soe'er I bear myself,
    As I perchance hereafter shall think meet
    To put an antic disposition on,

    Sir, I cannot.
    What, my lord?
    Make you a wholesome answer; my wit's diseased:

    True madness:

    However, he was also truly mad - he was "from himself taken away." In modern terms, it might be called a split personality or an identity crisis. He was struggling to reject his father's warlike value system so that he could be true to himself - a peaceful scholar from Wittenberg. In Elizabethan times, Hamlet fit two popular definitions of madness. He was mad because he was possessed (at least metaphorically) by a demon - his father's warlike spirit. He was also a lunatic (under the influence of the moon) because he had compared his father to Hyperion the sun god and Hamlet himself had been compared to the moon, which glows with "borrowed sheen," reflecting his sun-god father's values instead of shining with his own values. Usurp Your Sovereignty of Reason… The Cause of Hamlet's Lunacy The Voice of Denmark Be All My Sins Remembered - Essays on Hamlet
    Essays on motifs, symbolism, & themes in Hamlet.

  2. #2
    Shakespearean xman's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Lotus Land
    I have always appreciated this interpretation of Hamlet's mental state. It makes for very interesting playing choices.
    He was a dreamer, a thinker, a speculative philosopher... or, as his wife would have it, an idiot. ~ Douglas Adams

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