.. ons as proof of his insanity. But if one were to observe and analyze these passages, they would see that truth and sanity behind them. But the sanity is only a small part. For these passages hold great and profound thought.
There are many situations in which Hamlets thoughts are profound. These are not the ponderies of a man gone mad, but of a brain contained within a prison. Of a man whose intellect is holding him back. The first occasion in which Hamlets words, perceived mad, proved to be profound, was with his encounter with Polonius. Polonius, trying to keenly pry from Hamlet his ailment, strikes up a seemingly innocent conversation with Hamlet. To test his madness, Polonius asks Hamlet if he knows Polonius.
when Hamlet replies wittingly, Polonius is assured that it was the talk of a mad man. “Do you know me, my Lord? . . . excellent well.
You are a fishmonger . . .”(II.II. 173-4) For in the ordinary sense”it is . .
. Polonius . . . breed . .
.” A fishmonger being a honest tradesman would prove mad for Hamlet to say to Polonius. But in the sense related above, it makes perfect sense. Besides making perfect sense, it could be thought to be the speech of the great Socrates or Aristotle. This shows Hamlets great depth of knowledge, uses of words, and creativity in punning. Fit to be a witty philosopher, this young man proves not to be a good politician. Not digressing, Hamlets ingeniousness continues. Hamlet then precedes with further banter: “For yourself, sir, shall grow old as I am – if like a crab you could go backward.”(II.II.
202-3) Though his words seem absurd, Hamlet has hit the mark. For Polonius would indeed need to crawl backwards in order to reach hamlets age. All Polonius can retort is, “. . this be madness.” (II.II.205) The next great display of hamlets ingeniousness is when all within the castle are looking for the late Polonius body. Already thinking Hamlet is mad they begin to clutch harder to that theory when questioning Hamlet.
Upon being asked where Polonius body is, Hamlet, once again, gives a philosophical and intellectual comment. To the non-universitat student, these statements prove to be the evocations of a mad man. But to a great philosopher like Hamlet, Socrates, or even Plato they hold more truth than they are thought to hold. Not where he eats, but where a is eaten. A certain convocation of politic worms are een at him.
. . . A man may fish with the worm that hath eat of a kind, and eat of the fish that hath fed of that worm. (IV.III.
19 -28) This is one of the most profound statements that Hamlet has mad thus far. For it is humbling to think that those who are royal now, may soon be humbled by the fact that they will simply return to the dirt. To not digress from out earlier statement, we have to acknowledge how and when Hamlet has mad his transition from a “prince of philosophical speculators” to a price of actions. The road and journey to action was a hard and treacherous one for Hamlet. Many acts went by where Hamlet had to sit and contemplate every action, reaction, and consequences.
This proved Hamlet to a very poor prince, heir to the throne, but a very wise intellect. Many attempts and ponderies did Hamlet have towards his revenging actions. His first attempt toward revenge was while Claudius was praying. this plan failed as Hamlet had to sit, once more, and contemplate Claudius ascend into heaven, thus proving not the be a true and victorious revenge. This left Hamlet in a mournful sate.
For he knew that he was a thinker and not a man of action. In act I, scene V , Hamlet promises “that, I with wings as swift as meditation . . . may sweep to my revenge.” But Hamlets swift meditation slowed the process of his revenge. When met with the players great display of emotions of Hecuba (Act II, Scene II), Hamlet is moved to think about his feeling, his duty, and his lack of action.
Whats Hecuba to him . . . that he should weep for her . .
. yet I, a dull and muddy-mettled rascal, peak . . . unpregnant of my cause and can say nothing .
. . who does me this. (II.II.552-570) Hamlet mourns over his inability for swift and hasty action. He knows that he is damned to his prison of though. Hamlet has no control over what he does, or better yet, what he does not do.
Hamlets first act towards “action” is with the death of Polonius. In a heated argument with his mother, Hamlet believes to hear the outcry of Claudius. Believing he has caught the newly kind in an enraged state; thus sending him straight to hell; Hamlet finds it the best time to take what is due him. But the life of Claudius was not taken. For it proved to be Polonius.
From here Hamlet began his decision into action. Hamlet still begins to question why he, unlike others, have a problem moving himself to action. When he hears about Fortinbras plan to take over the polish and he begins to scold himself, for Hamlet believes that he, at least, has just cause to avenge his fathers death. How stand I then, that have a father killd . .
. and let all sleep . . . the imminent death of twenty thousand men . .
for a fantasy and trick of fame . . go to their graves like beds, fight for a plot. (IV.V.55-63) The true test of Hamlets transcendence into kingship is his arrangement over the death of Rossencrantz and Guildenstern. Hamlet, like a true politician, uses his great mind to save his life, and pay back what was given to him.
“That on the view and knowing of these contents, without debatement further more or less, he should those bearers put to sudden death, not shriving-time allowd . . .” (V.II 44-47) When he tells this well designed plan to Horatio, Horatio retorts “why, what a kind is this!” And Horatio is correct. For this was Hamlets second attempt, which was followed through, over the death of another person. Hamlet was on the right track for kingship.
But the true show of his transcendence was his not repenting. Hamlet justified his actions. He believed that I was right to kill his friends. ” My excellent good friends” (II.II. 224) because of their deceitful plan.
Why, man, they did make love to this employment. They are not near my conscience, their defeat does by their own insinuation grow. “Tis dangerous when the baser nature comes between the pass and fell incensed point of mighty opposites.( V.II. 57-62) Hamlets thought , “Be bloody or be nothing worth.” In retrospect one may see that Hamlets problem was one that was easy to diagnosis. It is humorous when one find critics that spend years upon year trying to figure the ailment to this fictional character.
However, There can be no set diagnosis for Hamlet. Hamlets character is very much complex and intricate. For a critic or scholar to single his character down to one thesis or report would be impossible. Despite this seemingly true statement, this paper should have given the reader some insight onto one of the many ailments that troubled Hamlet. I believe that in order for Hamlet, and the rest of Denmark to avoid the troublesome butchery at the end of the play, it would have been advisable for them to send Hamlet back to Wittenberg. It is not good to keep one out of joint, for that person will try to find some way to get back into joint. All and all, Hamlet has fulfilled the role that he set out to fulfill.
By the end of the play, Hamlet made a rough and rocky transcendence from price of scholars to a prince of action. By they end of the play, Hamlet had no need to think, for action was his newfound friend. Even Fortinbras, in the last scene, saw that Hamlet had the makings of a very, very admirable king. Bibliography Bevington, David. Twentieth Century Interpretations of Hamlet.
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