Hamlet: Acting Crazy or Actually Crazy?

When Hamlet is confronted by his father’s ghost, claiming he was murdered by his uncle, Hamlet decides “to put an antic disposition on- (1.5.172)” or as we would say, act crazy, to find out more about the circumstances of his father’s death. Hamlet’s new personality is noticeable by Ophelia when she says “Lord Hamlet with his doublet all unbraced, no hat upon his head, his stockings fouled, ungartered, and down-gyvèd to his ankle, pale as his shirt, his knees knocking each other, as if he had been loosèd out of hell. (2.1.76-81)” Is Hamlet really acting crazy because of some ulterior motive, or has his fathers death pushed him to insanity while he tells himself he is still in control? In a study found that there is a connection between mental instability and madness. Not that one causes the other, but that when one is overly smart, he is more likely to suffer from schizophrenia or bipolar disorder. Hamlet could be trying to infiltrate his brother’s government and bring him down, or he could be suffering and trying to cope by telling himself he has control.


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