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Commentary on a Poor Example of an Essay on Hamlet’s Madness

The Internet has always been a useful and fast source to acquire information on just about any topic. However, this public forum allows for anyone to express their own ideas and opinions. Finding information on the internet relevant to a certain topic may seem to be true; however, whether that information should be cited depends on the source and the reliability of that source. For example, when writing an essay, it is beneficial to research information on the essay topic before writing it. Many people read the information on a website, and if it is related to their topic, they will automatically use that information in their essay. If not taking great care of the information being absorbed, this will result in the false information from the internet being regurgitated.

The essay that is being analyzed is about the Shakespeare play Hamlet and the idea that his madness is not an act but more so reality. It is evident through the style and the content of the essay that the author has not fully understood the play and did not use a reliable source on the internet to understand the topic at hand further. The style throughout this essay is both unorganized and unclear. The author is very vague with the statements made by not providing the proof needed to support the points. The author attempts to persuade the reader into believing that madness is Hamlet’s true feeling and that it is not an act. However, throughout the essay, the author contradicts themselves by saying things such as: “Hamlet is actually mad and is a little on the insane side at times”.

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The author starts by saying that Hamlet is indefinitely mad due to the traumatic events, then contradicts that by saying that it is only at times. The author also lacks any ability to transition correctly. For example, in the seventh paragraph, the author starts by relating Hamlet’s supposed madness to Ophelia, and without any form of transition, introduces Laertes into the essay. A major downfall that the author had when writing this essay is that the many characters discussed throughout were not introduced. In addition, the author did not consider the fact that some readers may not have read the play and need further clarification.

The incoherency and confusion that the writer displays prove that their understanding of the play is not very precise. By using wild generalizations and the inability to support the points that were stated, it is evident that little knowledge is known of the play and its meaning. At certain parts of this essay, the author uses examples from the play to support the points. However, these examples do not provide any support to the point the author is attempting to prove. For example, when discussing the ‘act’ of madness that Hamlet portrays earlier on in the play, the author says, “maybe he doesn’t want Gertrude to think he is losing it”, this makes it evident that the author does not fully understand Hamlet’s act of madness. Hamlet chooses to put on a facade to avoid Claudius viewing Hamlet as a threat to him and his royal position. Gertrude’s opinion of Hamlet’s madness is irrelevant to Hamlet; this act is merely for Claudius and his followers.

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Many problems are evident in this essay regarding Hamlet’s ‘madness’. One of the most apparent and primary problems is that not once throughout the entire essay does the author define what madness is. The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines madness as “the quality or state of being mad”. People do not simply go mad; aspects in a person’s life mentally captivate them to become mad. For example, throughout the essay, the author is very vague when speaking about Hamlet’s madness by saying that he is mad because he is depressed and is considering suicide. This, however, is not the case; the author is simply equating depression and suicide with madness when that holds no validity. If the author had been able to strongly support the idea of Hamlet’s madness without the assumptions made, this essay would have been much more effective.

The author implies that through the traumatic events that have occurred in Hamlet’s life, “This would seem to be enough for one to lose control of their own actions and go mad”, but because of the author’s inability to provide a detailed definition of madness the outcome is not factual. The author’s relation to the soliloquies presented in Shakespeare’s Hamlet is also not well understood. The author states that a soliloquy helps the audience have a better understanding of Hamlet’s thoughts. However, the author cannot fully comprehend the meaning. In the fourth paragraph of this essay, it is said that Hamlet is suicidal due to the traumatic events that have taken place in Hamlet’s life. This was apparent throughout the play. However, this was not because of the instability of the mind; it was a moral dilemma.

The author does comment on Hamlet’s religious beliefs, yet not in the right context. Hamlet is contemplating suicide because he no longer wants to live. However, he does not go through with it because he is faced with a moral dilemma. In times of Western Civilization, even thoughts of murder made public were considered illegal and, more importantly, immoral. Hamlet could not go through with his suicide because he knew that he would be disobeying his deep religious beliefs. The tragedy in which the play ends can be perceived in many different ways. The author’s perception is that because of Hamlet’s madness, he caused the downfall of Denmark. However, Hamlet could not kill anyone due to his moral beliefs, which the author previously stated.

In that sense, Hamlet was not held responsible for the murder of Claudius because he killed him for justice rather than revenge. In the royal court, which existed back in the times of Hamlet, the people of the community looked to the king to settle legal problems, much like the legal courts today. Being the rightful heir to the throne, Hamlet was capable of making the decisions for the betterment of society. At the end of the play, the true Claudius is revealed to the public through the poisoning of the wine and the poison on the sword intended to kill Hamlet. By killing Claudius, Hamlet, the true King, is doing right for society by eliminating the evil that exists in Denmark. Hamlet’s actions are not the result of his madness or avenge his father’s death; it is to serve justice.

Bad Hamlet Essay. In Shakespeare’s play Hamlet, there is much controversy concerning the protagonist, Hamlet, and whether or not his madness is indeed his true feelings. It is a confusing time in Hamlet’s life as his father has passed away, his uncle took a position as king and has wed Hamlet’s very own mother. The ghost of his deceased father appeared to him with instructions to seek revenge on Claudius – Hamlet’s uncle and his mom’s new husband. Finally, the love of his life, Ophelia, rejects him by order of her father, Polonius. This would seem to be enough for one to lose control of their own actions and go mad. Hamlet shows throughout the play that he has lost control of himself in some cases.

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His madness, which dominates the play, could be evil, or Hamlet might just have been doing it for reasons. This is a very confusing topic to talk about because who knows what Hamlet actually is thinking. It could be understood that he was actually mad for sure, but then a part of me says he maybe could have just done it to make his close companions realize that he will revenge and be aware. Several times throughout the play, he explains he is only mad when he chooses to be; “I am but mad north-north-west: when the wind is southerly I know a hawk from a handsaw.”(2.2.376-77). Hamlet stresses that he acts mad, but how much of that can actually be believed with the circumstances he is endured in. With him telling Gertrude he only chooses to be mad, he can quite possibly be saying that to prove he has not lost total control of his behaviours because maybe he doesn’t want Gertrude to think he is losing it.

But it can be proven that Hamlet is actually mad and is a little on the insane side at times. It will be proven with evidence from the play on how he has done this. Through Hamlets soliloquies, an observation can be made on his thought process. His soliloquies are used to sort out his thoughts and offer a better understanding of his view on how he thinks. It could be said Hamlet is unstable at the beginning of the play with all the negativities in his life. In act 1, Hamlet explains his view on life, “O, that this too – solid flesh would melt…”(1.2.129.) These are the first words Hamlet speaks that first show he isn’t mentally stable. It is evident he is upset over his mother’s remarriage to Claudius, Hamlets uncle because it is said following the conversation with Gertrude and Claudius. So he first shows signs of madness.

The fact that King Hamlet is dead obviously plays a big role in Hamlet’s behaviour at this point. Hamlet is suicidal because he wishes his body would disappear, but he knows suicide is seen as a sin, “His canon ‘gainst self – slaughter! God! O God…”(1.2.133). Hamlet’s religious beliefs could have quite possibly kept him from killing himself at this point. In the next act, Hamlet proves that he is actually going mad. It becomes evident that everything in Hamlet’s life is dark and gloomy. It is bad enough is father died, but there is also the remarriage, and he is now going to be responsible for murdering Claudius. All this would be so difficult to overcome. Hamlet is very logical about everything, which tells me he is not totally mad or insane, but there is still part of him that is mad. It would be impossible for Hamlet not to be mad.

Later on, in the play in act 3, Hamlet says another soliloquy that shows is a mental condition. “For in that sleep of death what dreams may come, when we have shuffled off this mortal coil”(3.1.67-8). This speech really shows who he is and how he thinks. Obviously, Hamlet is horribly depressed. Throughout the play, he has been talking about how terrible life is and how much pain he is suffering. One would have to assume that thinking this way for a period of time would send the mind into a state of madness. This is one way Hamlet has gone mad. Hamlet ponders the question of suicide and the problems later on in the play with the famous “to be, or not to be” soliloquy.

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To further increase matters, Ophelia rejects his love on the advice from her father Polonius over her own feelings; this drives Hamlet into a state of emotional depression. Hamlet has seen himself lose a once loving mother that has now completely betrayed him, and he has lost his lover Ophelia. He loses all respect for women and turns rude towards Ophelia, calling her a “…breeder of sinners…”(3.1.122). He also insults her with phrases like, “…Get thee to a nunnery…”(3.1.121). Hamlet also jumps into her grave at the end of Act five Scene One and fights with Laertes, declaring his love for her, “I loved Ophelia; forty thousand brothers…could not, with all their quantity of love…make up my sum…”(5.1.263-5). Hamlet also tells Laertes that he has “…something in me dangerous, Which let thy wisdom fear…”(5.1.256-7). Hamlet has said it himself he is dangerous, which is a great hint toward him becoming mad.

When Hamlet says, “Frailty, thy name is a woman”(1.2.146), he talks about all women and how they can look one way and act the other. His mother’s actions have led him to believe that all women can act in this “wicked” way. Hamlet feels alone, and that’s one of his main problems. When Hamlet sees his mother in her bedroom, this is one part of the play, which shows his madness. His tone of voice is powerful. He lashes out at her to the extent that she is scared. After killing Polonius, he shows no regret whatsoever, but rather he sees this as good, “thou wretched, rash, intruding fool, farewell (3.4.191). These violent outbursts seem to be a fit for his madness. What goes on in Hamlet’s mind is extremely hard to follow. Hamlet is not the one to blame for all the trouble in Elsinore. He ends tragically because of what his madness has to lead him to. As Hamlet is seen as a “mad-man”, he takes it upon himself of the way he shows his madness and, for the most part, loses control of his actions. This is one blame that causes the eventual downfall of some of the characters and Denmark as a country.

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Commentary on a Poor Example of an Essay on Hamlet's Madness. (2021, Sep 10). Retrieved September 30, 2022, from