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The Important Theme of Madness in the Play Hamlet by William Shakespeare

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The biggest question was if Hamlet was really mad. Many things led to the reason why we would choose to believe he was and there are other qualities he had that made us rethink it. He was only mad around specific people. For example, Claudius, Ophelia, Polonius and Gertrude. Shakespeare felt madness was an important theme because it symbolizes a great part of why this play is a tragedy.

Hamlet was in love. He fell in love with a beautiful yet fragile woman. Ophelia was his happiness. If this is so true why did he act so mad around her? Was it to protect her? or was it simply because he was afraid to love? There is a possibility that Hamlet did not want to further his life with Ophelia because he did not want to experience love and heartbreak due to what the future could bring. He had a happy life with his father alive and when his uncle came and took that away his view for happiness may have changed. All of these could be factors to his madness.

Polonius was Ophelia’s father. Yet, he was a fool to be played by Hamlet so easily. He tried everything in his power to keep his daughter away from him. Being in good acquaintance with King Claudius he brought all his frustrations to him. Claiming he was mad. Claudius simply saw his actions and felt he was troubled. It wasn’t until he figured out Hamlet knew the truth about what he did to King Hamlet where he needed him to be executed. As for Gertrude, she had so much hope for Hamlet. Her dear son she felt was mad because of the death of his father and her rapid marriage to her brother in law. It was not until she truly believed he was mad when he started speaking to the ghost of his father. Although, Gertrude could not see him.

A huge factor to his madness was his father. At least the ghost, or illusion, of his father. Asking Hamlet to avenge him but to leave the queen alone. Because he loved his father so very much he was blinded by everything and only focused to do as his father wished. This is what led him to straight madness towards the end where all the deaths took place.

Shakespeare felt madness was an important theme because it symbolized why the play was a tragedy. Every little factor added up. He was incredibly driven by revenge. He lost the love of his life and his father. When the deaths had started it did not matter anymore. His madness drove him to do gruesome things whether it was an act or not.

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