Hamlet is the dramatic play of a son who tries to make the death of his father right. Death is something that can never be erased from memory, but it is common for people to take actions that will validate the death of their loved one. Whether it is putting blame on the person for doing this to you, or putting the blame on yourself, death causes uncontrollable emotions. In Hamlet’s case, he finds revenge through means of deception to be what helps him cope with the tragic death. However, the major question is: Is it possible for Hamlet to seem mad without being mad?
It appears to be possible for Hamlet continuously hints throughout the play that his deception in appearance must be turned on for certain encounters. When talking to Horatio, Hamlet never breathes a word that is possessed by madness, but when speaking to Ophelia, Claudius, or Gertrude, he is always in character. Hamlet is a sane character that has a cunning wit to him, giving him the ability to control whom he deceives and whom he does not. Perhaps the most significant lines of play are “(As that perchance hereafter shall think meet, to put an antic disposition on). ” (I, V, 190-192) Hamlet has just learned that Claudius murdered his father.
As an individual, Hamlet is intuitive and thinks through everything before he takes action. As he learns this information, he does not take the typical approach of grabbing a knife and Finding Claudius; instead he brainstorms a way to where he can say and do things that are not usually tolerated so he can get a confession from Claudius. Only, after a confession is made will he have justification that he can get the revenge the ghost has asked for. Hamlet’s deep analysis of the task given to him proves that he is acting upon planned manipulation rather than irrational impulse.
“But my uncle-father and aunt-mother are deceived. (II, II, 399-400) “I am but mad north-north-west. When the wind is southerly, I know a hawk from a handsaw. ” (II, II, 402-403) Hamlet states that he believes he has succeeded in fooling the King and Queen. By using the imagery of wind, birds, and cardinal directions, Hamlet shows that his actions are all premeditated. However, the speech Hamlet uses is quite puzzling to Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, leading them to believe that Hamlet has lost his mind. Shakespeare methodically used metaphors that were far fetched, such as this, to make it out as though Hamlet’s brain was not thinking straight.
By doing so Shakespeare himself tricked his audience. Once the complex text is broken down, there is no denying that Hamlet is a mastermind when it comes to conning those less profound than him, getting them to do what he wants. In Act III, there is no denying how brilliant Hamlet was in constructing a plan to get a confession from Claudius. However, he was not so brilliant when he talked himself out of killing Claudius. “And am I then revenged to take him in the purging of his soul, when he is fit and seasoned for his passage? No. (III, III, (89-92) This is an example of how logical Hamlet is. He has the perfect opportunity to avenge the death of his father, but lets it slide because he thinks that killing Claudius while praying will him to heaven, when he must to it at a time when he will be sent to hell. Would a mad person be able to give up an opportunity like this? No. Insanity is often shown through frenzied actions that have pure desperation behind them. Hamlet controlled himself, and decided that there would be a better chance for him to seek retaliation; therefore, Hamlet is sane.
Hamlet has the unbelievable ability to control when he acts mad and when he does not, because of this; he is able to fool everyone into perceiving him as deranged. Whether Hamlet is a lucky man or a prodigy when it comes to executing a plan, will never be known, but what we do know is that his antic disposition has gotten him what he wanted: a confession from Claudius. With acting, he has been able to act and speak however he pleases, leading him to the information that he needed. Granted, Hamlet experiences an upheaval of emotion, but not enough to make him mentally ill. Hamlet only seems mad, to get honor his father’s wish.