Hamlet As An Example Of Timeless Classic Written By Shakespeare
Hamlet, a timeless classic written by Shakespeare that everyone has heard of. Yet throughout the years, there is still a timeless question: was Hamlet actually going mad or was he faking it? In the play, Hamlet’s father was just murdered by his uncle and multiple times Hamlet has mentioned needing to act mad to fool his uncle. However, as the play continues, it becomes less clear if Hamlet is actually acting or if he has truly gone mad. Evidence in the play can point both directions, however, a closer look into Hamlet’s lines and thoughts can help solve this question and show that Hamlet is one talented actor!
In the first two scenes, Hamlet is very clearly faking his madness. He was just visited by his ghostly father, whom another person, Horatio, also saw, and was told his uncle murdered him. Hamlet then came up with the idea to act mad while he figured out if his uncle truly murdered his father. The second scene is where we get to see glimpses of Hamlet’s madness.’ Plutonis, Ophelia’s father, is the first person to label Hamlet as mad. Hamlet’s uncle, Claudius, and his mother, Gertrude, suspect that Hamlet is just acting strangely for some reason and has some of his old friends visit to try and figure it out. Hamlet acts strange around his old friends even skirting around their questions with vague answers.
In the third scene of Hamlet, Hamlet brings up his acting a few notches. After ‘running into’ Ophelia, Hamlet rebukes her and acts mad. This scene is perhaps the only time one can truly doubt Hamlet’s madness. However, there can be many layers to this scene as well, for instance, Hamlet could have been wary of everyone and automatically assumed he was being spied on-thus the feigned madness. Before watching the play, Hamlet only continues to act mad while talking with his uncle, for example, “Wonderful! I eat the air, like chameleons do. I’m positively stuffed with air, I eat so much of it.” (Shakespeare, 157). Yet, a few seconds later he has a completely normal conversation with people sitting next to him. It is quite clear that Hamlet only acts mad around people he does not trust, for example, Rosencrantz, Guildenstern, and of course Claudius. Around Horatio, Hamlet is completely sane and acts normal. Hamlet’s acts of sanity around the person he trusts only proves that he is a very good actor.
As the play forges ahead, Ophelia eventually goes crazy, and unlike Hamlet, she is very clearly not faking it. She sings and dances around and even ends up drowning because she is too busy singing to care. Hamlet, on the other hand, seems very sane compared to this. A final example of Hamlet’s sanity is when he sends two letters, one for his trusted friend Horatio, and the other for his uncle Claudius. Horatio’s letter sounds perfectly fine, like a regular, normal person wrote it, however, Claudiu’s letter sounds as if a crazy person wrote it. These two letters only reiterate that Hamlet is faking his madness.
Overall, Shakespeare’s “Hamlet” has many interesting characters involved in the plot line. A backstabbing uncle, a trusted friend, a girl who truly loses her mind from grief, and finally, Hamlet, a boy who feigns his madness to find out the truth and then continues faking to keep up the pretence. Although it is questionable at times if Hamlet is truly faking his madness, at several parts during the play it is quite obvious that Hamlet was faking it the entire time. One of the more prevalent examples was the letters he wrote, one each to Horatio and Claudius. Another example is before the play when Hamlet says something crazy to his uncle, yet a few lines later he is capable of having completely normal conversation with Plutonis and Horatio. Hamlet was truly one of the best actors in this book, no one doubted his madness when all was said and done-his uncle even wanted to kill him because he thought Hamlet was too dangerous to be left alive. Although in the end, even though both Claudius and Hamlet died, Hamlet did get what he worked so hard and even feigned being mad to get: revenge.