Hamlet's Behavior in Hamlet by William Shakespeare Essays

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Hamlet's Behavior in Hamlet by William Shakespeare

Hamlet's behavior affects that of the other characters in the play in that his action drastically alters, not only their perception of Hamlet and his intentions, but also their actions and words in dealing with Hamlet. It is difficult to classify Hamlet as either sane or insane; however, it is certain that his mad behavior, whether feigned or authentic, serves only to heighten the confusion and eventual suspicion of the court, particularly Ophelia, Rosencrantz and Guilderstern, and Polonius and Claudius duo.

Hamlet's mental state is hard to decipher due to the complexity of the issue and the variety of ways his actions can be viewed. Edward Strachey believes that Hamlet
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The complexity of Hamlet's sanity is most evident in Ophelia's description of him at this point in the play. Hamlet is championed for his intellect and wit, so at first glance it might seem as if he put on an extravagant show for Ophelia, knowing she would alarm her father and he in turn the King. However, the description of Hamlet looking as if he had come straight out of hell with his face paled and knees shaking, suggests a truly wary man teetering on the edge of madness. Regardless of Hamlet's true mental state, his behavior forced Ophelia to turn to her father and disregard her prior comments about Hamlet's honorable intentions; instead condemning him a mad man.

The query into Hamlet's madness raises too many other unanswerable questions; however, the effects of his odd behavior are clearly visible. After Ophelia relates her tale to her father, Polonius, he immediately becomes wary of Hamlet and promptly reports all new information to the King. Polonius and King Claudius, in Act II Scene II, plot to set up a chance meeting between Hamlet and Ophelia in the lobby of the palace, in order to monitor Hamlet's behavior. The madness they perceived in Hamlet, from Ophelia's description, led them to spy on him. After Hamlet's meeting with Ophelia, the King becomes unsure of Hamlet's sanity. He notes that although Hamlet's words do have something beneath the surface attached to them, it did not sound like madness. "Now what he spake,

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