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The Act of Madness by Hamlet

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The act of madness by Hamlet is very effective in establishing the guiltiness of Claudius in the murder of the king. It allows him to get the evidence he needs to prove that Claudius is guilty and sets out to sacrifice his own sanity to avenge his father’ s death. It is evident for him that king Claudius sacrificed his father so that he could be the king and inherit his widow in a culture where such practice was not practiced. By feigning madness, Hamlet risks his life as he sets out to kill King Claudius as requested by the ghost of his father.

King Hamlet tells him that by poisoning his ear, “ the whole ear of Denmark / Is by a forgè d process of my death / Rankly abused” (1.5.36-38), and therefore he should make it clean again by killing King Claudius. Hamlet stages play The Murder of Gonzago, which he uses other characters to identify the guilt of Claudius. This play involves the murder like the one which involved his father. He stages the play in the palace while Claudius watches them perform.

Hamlet observes Claudius reaction as the play progresses. He cannot contain himself as he is very disturbed by his conscience. During the poisoning speech, the king could not contain himself and Hamlet was convinced that he was indeed guilty of the accused crime. Hamlet’ s madness benefits him a lot in the play. Through his act of madness, he is able to know the people who can be his allies in this plot. His encounter with Ophelia reveals to him that he cannot trust her to be his confidant.

This is because she immediately rushed to his father and discloses to him that Hamlet is mad. Polonius rushes to Claudius and tells him about Hamlet’ s madness. This shows him that the two cannot be trusted since they will tell Claudius about his plot. He also succeeds in convincing his mother that he is mad and this allows him to plan his revenge. When Gertrude hears of his son’ s madness, she remarks, "I doubt it no other but the main, / His father's death and our overhasty marriage" (56-57).

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preview essay on The Act of Madness by Hamlet
  • Pages: 6 (1500 words)
  • Document Type: Essay
  • Subject: English
  • Level: Masters
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