Mad Mad Hamlet

A quick Google search of the definition of the word mad will tell you the following:

Mad Definition

This makes the word mad more than apt to describe Hamlet in the second act of Shakespeare’s play. Hamlet, is enraged. In fact, Hamlet is so greatly provoked over the murder of his father, the late king of Denmark, and so irritated at the marriage of his mother, Gertrude, to his uncle Claudius, who he believes to be the murderer, that Hamlet becomes well, mad. To the world around him, the Prince of Denmark is truly insane, yet in the mind of Hamlet he is still in control (whether he’s in complete control is another matter). His outward madness is not without calculation though, as Hamlet proves to be one shrewd fellow. He believes that his calculated madness and insane scheme is the key to unlocking his uncle’s secret, the key to avenging is fathers death.

Troll Hamlet

Its during Hamlet’s state of madness that he says the most striking things. His witty phrases and sharp mind, all under the cloak of mental instability, allow him to say things he would normally never say. Hamlet’s feigned madness becomes his mask and humor his dagger. Reading the single-sided verbal spar between Hamlet and Polonius is incredibly amusing. His insults, ranging from “fishmonger(Act II, scene ii, 173) to “It shall to the barber’s, with your beard. (475), fool Polonius into thinking that he has completely lost his marbles while at the same time gives Hamlet the pleasure of expressing his true feelings towards him.

This scene seems to be extremely important yet at the same time incredibly light-hearted and humorous. It revels the extent Hamlet is willing to go in order to try to bring back order to a world that, for him has turned completely inside out. It shows the extent of Hamlet’s anger and grief. I think most importantly it shows Hamlet’s complete love for his father and his willingness to place himself in such a position so that he may finally avenge his death.


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