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Written by Cheryl
(6/10/2003 1:20 p.m.)
in consequence of the missive, GR: Hamlet-just how crazy is he?, penned by Jezkalyn
] For me, esp. after this group read, I believe that Hamlet is more or less in his right mind until he gets confirmation of Claudius evil deed. At which point he gets somewhat carried away with his revenge and has a hard time controlling his passions. I think I would have to say that I don't think he ever goes completely off his rocker. He is too much of a thinker for that.
I mostly agree with this. He was putting on his "antic disposition" before the play, another role he took on to allay suspicion. After the play, I think he does lose it, but I think it a temporary thing.
I think he is feverish, almost completely out of control when he kills Polonius. But then right away, he is talking sensibly, if emotionally, to his mother. I do wonder, if he really did see the ghost while he was with his mother, or if that was an invention of his mind. After all, plenty of other people have seen the Ghost, but Gertrude can't. And what he says to it - "Do you not come your tardy son to chide?" It almost sounds as if he is feeling guilty, especially after his failure with Polonius. Could he have produced the Ghost himself? What do you think?
But after that scene, he is himself. He is very flip and arrogant and angry during the scene with Claudius when he gets sent off to England. But I don't see any evidence of madness from that time on. He dealt with the pirates, R&G, returning, the fencing match, etc all rationally.
He did lose it and have another outburst over Ophelia and tangle with Laertes there, but again, did he not have cause for emotional distress?
I'd love to hear from those who think he does go mad, and when that happens for them. I don't really see it, myself.
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