Madness in Hamlet

Madness in Hamlet

Madness in Hamlet : Account for madness in Hamlet. Or “Though this be madness, yet there is a method in’t. Discuss.

Madness in Hamlet

Introduction- Hamlet is the Prince of Denmark. He is heavily shocked for after his father’s untimely death, Hamlet’s mother is married to his uncle, an unworthy man. It has broken -Hamlet’s heart. He learns that the ghost of his father visits the fort at midnight. The ghost informs that hamlet’s uncle poisoned him and seduced his wife. It is Hamlet’s duty to take revenge. Hamlet tells about it all to Horatio who remarks that it is very strange and unbelievable. Hamlet pretends madness to succeed in taking revenge.

The action-

Hamlet shows his determination to take revenge. It gives him a purpose of living as well as punishing a sinner. His resolution to pretend madness is a part of it. Now he has full faith in the ghost’s report. The following remark confirms the viewpoint.

So, uncle, there you are. Now to my word.

To make it public that he is mad, he visits Ophelia’s chamber and acts insanely. She reports it to her father Polonius who concludes that Hamlet is mad in her love.

The Queen claims that he is mad on account of her hasty marriage, but the King thinks otherwise. In his opinion, it is melancholy that makes him act madly.

Real or feigned?-

Hamlet’s madness was real of feigned is a serious study and question before scholars. After meeting the ghost, Hamlet asks his faithful friends to swear that they will keep it secret. Hamlet tells them about his pretending of madness also. Hamlet has decided to pretend madness in order to take revenge from his uncle. Hamlet wishes to get his madness reported to the King and Queen.

He succeeds in it. Now a question before them is to know if the madness is real or feigned as well what the cause of madness is. Hamlet pretends madness to succeed in taking revenge. To confirm if Hamlet is mad in Ophelia’s love, Polonius and the King decide to arrange Ophelia’s meeting with Hamlet in loneliness. Polonius and the King stand at a secret place to observe them. Quick-witted Hamlet catches the point and talks madly.

Cause of Hamlet’s madness-

Hamlet’s madness becomes an open issue for debate. The cause as well as the motive of his madness is to be judged. Polonius concludes:

Though this be madness, yet there is a method in’t. The King claims that love is not the cause of his madness. Hamlet did not speak like a mad man. Something is hidden in his soul which arouses his melancholy that may prove dangerous. King decides to send Hamlet immediately to England. Polonius supports the plan. Yet he insists on the theory that the origin and beginning of his grief is the neglected love. He suggests the King that Hamlet’s mother all alone should request Hamlet to show his grief. Polonius wishes to be placed behind a curtain to hear their conversation. The King remarks:

Madness in great ones must not unwatched go.

Fit of fury-

It is Hamlet’s misfortune that his fury is taken for madness. It shocks him to know that Ophelia is dead. He had none else in the world. He falls into a fit of fury that is taken to be his madness. Hamlet challenges Laertes.

Hamlet :

I loved Ophelia. Forty thousand brothers

Could not (with all their quantity of love)

Make up my sum. What wilt thou do for her ?

He challenges Laertes to eat a crocodile and claims that he is ready to eat that. Hamlet is ready to be buried with he . It is unfortunate that Hamlet’s mother claims that it is a fit of ma illness. Queen : This is mere madness.

There is none to peep into his heart that longs for a few drops of sincere sympathy to him. Unfortunately, his mother too has gone so far from him. Before the duel Hamlet tells Laertes that he feels sorry for his past behaviour and requests him to pardon him.


Hamlet’s madness is a topic for open debate as yet. In truth, Hamlet is dominated by over-melancholy that leads him to fits of fury.

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