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An Analysis of Hamlet’s “antic disposition”

Is Hamlet mad? A close analysis of the play reveals that Hamlet is straightforward and sane. His actions and thoughts are a logical response to the situation in which he finds himself. However, he assumes antic-disposition to undercover the truth of his father’s death.
In the first act, Hamlet appears to be very straightforward in his actions and thoughts. When questioned by Gertrude about his melancholy appearance Hamlet says, “Seems, madam? Nay it is know not seems” (I, ii, 76). This is to say, “I am what I appear to be.” Later he makes a clear statement about his thoughts of mind when he commits himself to revenge. Hamlet says, “I’ll wipe away all trivial fond records, All saws of books, all forms, all pressures past, That youth and observation copied there, And thy commandment all alone shall live Within the book and volume of my brain” (I, iv, 99-103). With this statement, the play makes a transition. Hamlet gives up the role of a student and mourning son, and commits himself to nothing else but the revenge of his father’s death. There is no confusion and certainly no sign of madness in Hamlet’s character. In Chapel Scene, when Claudius is praying alone for his guilt, Hamlet accidentally sees him. He realizes that this is the perfect opportunity to perform the revenge. Seeing the opportunity, Hamlet says, “Now might I do it pat, now a’ is a-praying; And now I’ll do it, and so he goes to heaven, And so am I reveng’d. That would be scann’d; A villain kills my father, for that, I, his sole son, do this same villain send To heaven. O, this is hire and salary, not revenge.” (III, iii, 73-79). This shows, Hamlet has a sound mind and is not mad. He knew that if he killed Claudius, he would go to heaven upon death whereas his father’s soul was unprepared for death and so went to purgatory. He has said earlier that he is what he ap...

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