Hamlet’s Sanity in Shakespearean Play


The following articles have been chosen for my proposal for one of America’s most beloved plays Hamlet, by William Shakespeare. The topic I have chosen is Melancholy, Madness, and the sanity level the main character goes through in the play. Drama is a form of literature made to be performed by actors. The tone of this play is melancholy with the distinctive repetition of soliloquy in Hamlet’s mind; in this play, Hamlet is having a soliloquy battle within himself. Various ideas might be advanced to determine the truth about whether Hamlet was mad or not. Among the assumptions is that Hamlet was never insane throughout the play, but only pretended to be insane for the sake of the play’s popularity. Furthermore, it is thought that he was more concerned with his interview with Ghost than with his lunacy, and that his lack of sound mind was just partial, despite the fact that it was found later in the play.

The Hamlet Play

Unfortunately, Hamlet is not in the best state of mind, for his kingdom, Denmark, is at war, his beloved father, King Hamlet, has recently passed, and the Queen remarried for the kingdom’s sake. Kirszner and Mandell state that “Shakespeare often used kings and princes as protagonists Richard II and Hamlet” (Kirszner and Mandell 1044). Shakespeare wrote the play Hamlet in 1601. In 1556, Shakespeare’s only son died of an unknown illness. The resources have given me a better understanding of the reasoning behind Hamlet’s personality. Hamlet himself and the other characters’ act in a melancholic way in the first Act.

Although Hamlet appears to be mad at times, his intellect and cunning could not escape the reader’s gaze, leading to everyone’s perplexity. His lunacy – which he planned to hide – only comes to light when particular people scrutinize him. Hamlet planned well, yet he also demonstrates that he is prone to being reckless and hasty. Although Hamlet is acutely aware of his anguish, he cannot perceive the pain of others. Following his father’s death, much of his suffering worsened.

The death of Hamlet’s father and his mother’s marriage to his uncle are the real cause of his melancholy. It is also plausible that Hamlet’s father’s death is the fundamental cause of his alleged insanity. Hamlet idolizes his father but despises his uncle for reasons that are not quite obvious. Long after everyone else has moved on, he is still upset about his father’s death. He is also downcast because his uncle, whom he despises, has become king. He also cannot accept the fact that his mother has married his uncle.

He is triggered by all the catastrophe events he has encountered. I can understand his anger and frustration with how he views the outside world, “He describes how human nature may be brought to decay through a tiny birthmark… Thus, Shakespeare uses every opportunity to suggest the fundamental theme of the play” (Clayton 245). The phrase “Bad Apple Can Spoil the Bunch” is the expression parallel to Hamlet’s phrase. The article shows Clayton’s viewpoint on how Shakespeare wanted the reader to understand Hamlet’s way of thinking.

Sanity is the ability to think and behave normally and rationally, sound mental health. Gertrude thinks Hamlet is accused of being insane. What makes this play great is the drama the characters perform in this play and the unique identity Hamlet carries (Jorgensen 240). The space gave us several viewpoints on Hamlet’s character and the confidence he later grasps at the end of the Act. The resources put together will contribute to the further development of this.

Hamlet’s melancholy is reflected by his excessive feeling and fascination with whatever mood that he is now preoccupied with. Following King Hamlet’s death, he slips into a severe despair that confines his mind and spirit for the rest of the play. It is, however, more than just a state of bereavement. Hamlet has become preoccupied with preserving his father’s monarchy’s integrity, and he despises Gertrude and Claudius for tarnishing it. Hamlet is also the sole person in the court who continues to mourn King Hamlet, and he expresses his grief by dressing in “knighted color” (Jorgensen 240). He is attempting to persuade anybody who observes him that he will not just disregard and move on from the dead. Gertrude views Hamlet’s body as displaying the full of Hamlet’s sadness, but Hamlet assures her that it is not entirely true.

Hamlet’s indecision prevents him from carrying out the job assigned to him by his father’s spirit. He is also subject to impulsive behavior as a result of being emotionally compelled to act without considering. Hamlet creates a barrier between himself and his friends and family, preventing him from deviating from his revenge intentions. Finally, Hamlet’s persistence and self-awareness are the only things that keep him concentrated on the ultimate goal and provide him with an unrestrained recklessness with which he pursues it (Kirszner 6). Melancholy is a significant motivator for both Hamlet’s illogical and sensible choices throughout the play.

Hamlet’s sorrow is reflected in his constant musings and self-evaluations. Throughout the play, his persistent and painstaking contemplation in his various soliloquies discloses everything he is thinking, feeling, and doing, preventing him from acting on the ghost’s instruction. Eventually, he starts to try to escape the melancholy and decides that he does not want to stay in that condition anymore. Hamlet comes to the conclusion that his genuine desire is to become a better version of himself and change his attitude to more favorable compared to how he acted previously.

All of the actors in Hamlet’s Tragedy are not impervious to anguish and suffering. They, like Hamlet, have succumbed to their feelings and lack mental stability (Young 20). They are all aware of what it is like to be vulnerable and have acted in retaliation or defense. Shakespeare did an excellent job at redeeming his characters via their deaths, which may have been the only option for them to stop their suffering in life. The finale was written to flip a fresh page and begin a new tale about Denmark’s crown. All individuals with particularly unfavorable attitudes or personalities have been purged, leaving all of the characters’ prior misery and suffering behind.


In conclusion, in the play, Hamlet delivers soliloquies that prove he is not insane. His words have rich implications, and his adventurous mind shines through in his soliloquies. It is incorrect to see Hamlet as an insane character because he is pretty flawless in his mental approach. Challenges and occurrences are the main reasons that pull him into a melancholy and disheartened condition, as a result of which he is considered as an insane character. Eventually, he manages to deal with his state and make changes toward the positive improvements.

Works Cited

Allen, Joseph C. “Was Hamlet Insane?” The Open Court. 1904, pp. 6.

Clayton, Tom. “Whither Hamlet’s ‘Words, Words, Words’? Notes on Dialogue and Designs in Hamlet.” Ben Jonson Journal, vol. 25, no. 2, 2018, pp. 214–41. EBSCOhost, Web.

Kirszner, Laurie G., and Stephen R. Mandell. COMPACT Literature: Reading, Reacting, Writing, 2016 MLA Update. Nelson Education, 2017.

Jorgensen, Paul A. “Hamlet’s Therapy.” Huntington Library Quarterly, vol. 27, no. 3, 1964, pp. 239–58, Web.

“Sanity.” Columbia Dictionary of Quotations from Shakespeare, 1998, p. 317. EBSCOhost, Web.

Young, Sandra. “Recognizing Hamlet.” Shakespeare in Southern Africa, vol. 26, 2014, pp.13–26. EBSCOhost, Web.

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