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Shakespeare's Discerning View on Hamlet's Madness

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In Hamlet by Shakespeare, the view of Madness can often be seen as a simple exhibit of “eccentric behavior”. But through the characters in the play we see that each of them alters their own Madness creating a most divine sense of themselves and their Madness. therefore, Shakespeare views the madness in Hamlet with a “Discerning Eye”.

The main character Hamlet is the first to reveal that his actions of Madness for being controlled by the madness that is inside of him. Act 2 scene 1 Hamlet First shows his true Madness when he barges into Ophelia's room. Blackmore's “The Real or Assumed Madness of Hamlet” shows that Shakespeare created the type of Madness for Hamlet as the “delusion” one, unable to differentiate what's good for him and what's not. This can be indicated in Hamlet's Soliloquy “To be or not to be…” (Act 3 scene 1). Hamlet Madness that is being portrayed come from the fear within himself and the billiard the haunted in the back of his mind.

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Ophelia, Hamlet's former lover, has a distinct emotional attachment to Hamlet. She gets caught in the crossfire of Hamlet's “antic disposition”, slowly turning herself mad. On the other side, Ophelia's Madness is much opposite from Hamlet's Madness but comes from similar reasons for going mad in the first place. Ophelia, being seen at the beginning of the play Slowly loses her sanity after the killing of her father by the hands of the man she loved. The madness that takes over Ophelia doesn't make her become a horrible, mad person, but actually finds herself in Enlightenment after going mad. Ophelia's Madness are one of the examples that this was not eccentric Behavior but actual Madness living within the characters themselves.

Because Ophelia had reached Enlightenment in the process of becoming mad call Ma she almost seems like she now has hidden knowledge deep beneath her. Comparing her Madness with Hamlet, they both reached divinest sense of their own Madness but it is how they use their knowledge of Madness is that makes them different from each other. Shakespeare's view of Madness can be seen with a Discerning Eye because of the way Shakespeare creates Madness for Hamlet and Ophelia, having them both ignite a man.

In “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” by T.S Eliot, both Prufrock and Hamlet experience Madness and have similar ways to show their conflict within themselves. but because Hamlet does not have the choice of dying he is stuck and I forever going Madness that he suffers alone.

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Shakespeare’s Discerning View on Hamlet’s Madness. (2022, March 18). Edubirdie. Retrieved December 5, 2023, from
“Shakespeare’s Discerning View on Hamlet’s Madness.” Edubirdie, 18 Mar. 2022,
Shakespeare’s Discerning View on Hamlet’s Madness. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 5 Dec. 2023].
Shakespeare’s Discerning View on Hamlet’s Madness [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2022 Mar 18 [cited 2023 Dec 5]. Available from:
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