Hamlet: Sanity VS. Insanity
Was Hamlet sane or insane? The answer to this question lies in the mind of the reader. There are several theories explaining his odd behavior; some say that he just pretended to act insane throughout the play. Some theories suggest that he had moments of temporary insanity. Others point out that he became mad after the play in court. I believe that we should analyze Hamlet as a whole person and not just sane-Hamlet or insane-Hamlet.
There are many arguments stressing the fact that Hamlet was quite sane. Before the death of his father, every reader unanimously agrees that he was perfectly sane. He was a good friend to Horatio, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern. He was the love affection of Ophelia.He was also courageous in disposition. For e.g. when the ghost of his father emergedhe stood resolved to speak to the ghost instead of hiding or flinching. It was after the apparition scene that the conflicts of theories came into sight. Some analysts point out that his gradual mental decline was the result of the knowledge of his father’s murder. Others, however, say that every remark of insanity was just an act to fool certain people that Hamlet thought were negative, like Claudius, Polonius, and Rosencrantz and Guildenstern. To further invigorate this theory; his quick thinking saved his life from the pirates. He executed the court-play cleverly that proved that Claudius actually murdered his father. And He even backed out from avenging his father when Claudius was praying. As dying in prayer meant that he would go to heaven which Hamlet certainly did not want.His attitude with Ophelia was a bit puzzling.
What further angered Hamlet’s persona was the marriage of his mother, Gertrude to Claudius after two months of his father’s demise. To him this union was a betrayal to his father. He may have compared his mother with Ophelia. His rude conduct towards Ophelia could be either a result of that distrust or it could be just another pretention. No one is entirely sure, yet, the murder of Polonius by Hamlet signifies his ultimate obsession for revenge. Now, the whole timeline presents a different angle.
Hamlet can be seen as a normal human who passed through good and bad times and reacted according to them. Events after his father’s death can be perceived as stages of grief. This, again, is another theory to ponder over.