Madness in Hamlet

4 April 2015
A critical review of Shakespeare’s Hamlet, with specific reference to the theme of madness.

This paper reviews Hamlet by Shakespeare, focusing on the concept of madness. It investigates what the nature of madness is and whether madness can even be defined in a mad world. It then strives to espouse what a person can learn about his/herself by studying Hamlet’s interaction with the concept of madness.
“Sometimes there’s a fine line between madness and sanity. Sometimes there’s a fine line between pretense and reality. Pretending madness for too long, could send one over the brink, especially if one has a propensity to brilliance, instability and over-analysis. Shakespeare asks his audience to look deeply into the themes he incorporates into his dramas, offering them an opportunity to explore how his ideas might apply to their own lives. In Hamlet Shakespeare weaves madness into a complex thematic tapestry. He is not asking us to decide if Hamlet is really mad, rather he is asking us to consider several questions: What is the nature of madness? Can madness even be defined in a mad world? What can I learn about myself by studying Hamlet’s interaction with the concept of madness?”

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