2016 Student Research Conference:
29th Annual Student Research Conference

Hamlet's Sanity and Insanity
Julia N. Davis
Dr. Hena Ahmad, Faculty Mentor

According to some critics, Hamlet feigns madness by deliberately exhibiting symptoms of insanity, such as the use of crude language and violent and abrupt mood changes. Other critics insist on Hamlet's insanity, claiming that Hamlet's mental state is a reflection of his madness. Consequently, classifying Hamlet as completely sane or completely insane presents a very difficult challenge. However, this essay will explore the possibilities of Hamlet's supposed madness or real sanity by examining the evidence of madness and counter-evidence in the play, such as the fact that Hamlet appears logical in the presence of those he trusts, like Horatio, claiming his own sanity. Moreover, this essay will argue that the evidence of Hamlet's "acting mad" in the play, perhaps suggests that logic and reasoning underlie Hamlet's deception at portraying madness, a pretension crucial in order to uncover the truth of the ghost's pronouncement of his father's murder by Claudius.

Keywords: Hamlet, Shakespeare


Presentation Type: Oral Paper

Session: -3
Location: VH 1010
Time: 1:30

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