The Truth behind Hamlets Act of Madness in William Shakespeares Play

Hamlet acted mad and used it as a tactic in order to achieve his ultimate goal of revenge. Ophelia, despairing the once brilliant and truthful mind of Hamlet states with disappointment, “O what a noble mind is here o’erthrown!” (III.1.46). Ophelia sincerely believes that Hamlet has gone mad. Hamlet used Ophelia’s vulnerability and love for him in order to convince not only Ophelia, but also his peers that he has gone mad. Tricking Ophelia into believing that he is mad is brilliant and gives Hamel an advantage against Claudius and seeking revenge.

If Ophelia, a grounded, close individual to Hamlet who knows his mind and behavior can be easily tricked by Hamlet’s “madness”, than so can other friends and family. Hamlet is not actually mad. He is using his brain and strategizing, fooling everyone around him. Gertrude is discussing with Claudius possible reasons for Hamlet’s recent madness, believing that, “I doubt it is no other but the main, his father’s death and our o’erhasty marriage” (II.

ii.56). Being the mother of Hamlet, Gertrude should have a keen sense on her son’s typical, expected behavior. Gertrude finds an excuse and understanding as to why Hamlet could of gone mad.

The death of his father and rapid marriage of his mother provides the perfect timing and scenario to act mad with liable reason. Hamlet is once again an under minded genius for knowing that these two incidents are believable in supporting his madness and Hamlet wastes no time in doing so.

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He has now tricked possibly the two most important characters into believing that he has gone mad: the woman who is in love with him and the woman who loves him. Ophelia and Gertrude both care about Hamlet’s well being and having them convinced will ease the transition of other characters into believing Hamlet’s madness. Claudius, planning the death of Hamlet with Laertes affirms that, “O, he is mad, Laertes” (V.i.242). The reasoning behind Hamlet’s madness is to hide the fact that Hamlet knows about his fathers murder from Claudius. Hamlet, seeming like a mindless, crazy man, leaves Claudius confident in his secret and unsuspecting of Hamlet’s revenge. This confidence weakens Claudius and the more he believes and falls for Hamlet’s act, the bigger threat Hamlet becomes. This quote provides key evidence that Claudius is convinced by Hamlet and that Hamlet’s dedication will result in an overall victory.

The King has become trapped in Hamlet’s mind games and is forced to obtain revenge on Hamlet through the help of Laertes. Hamlet proved through his supposed “madness” that he is smarter and one step ahead of everyone. Despite fooling everyone around him, Hamlet never tricked himself, admitting that he will, “Make you to ravel all this matter out, that I essentially am not in madness, but mad in craft” (III.iv.185). Admitting that his madness is a performance designed to exploit the downfall of the King, Hamlet achieved the death of his uncle, fulfilling his revenge, while maintaining his true state of mind. The act did not transform into a twisted reality despite the murders Hamlet committed. Hamlet did become more hostile and violent, but never mad.

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The Truth behind Hamlets Act of Madness in William Shakespeares Play. (2021, Dec 27). Retrieved from

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