In William Shakespeare s play, Hamlet, one of the most important issues is Hamlet s sanity, in which many question his thoughts and actions. In the beginning, Hamlet and Ophelia are sane, but as the play progresses, Shakespeare slowly shows how their minds deteriorate and how Hamlet goes crazy. An example of Hamlet s insanity is when he tells Ophelia to Get thee (to) a nunnery in Scene i of Act III. He is being cruel to Ophelia by telling her to go to this whorehouse. Then, in the end, Hamlet is sane and protests his own love and grief for Ophelia to Laertes. He says, I loved Ophelia. Forty thousand brothers could not with all their quantity of love make up my sum, showing that he did love her a lot. Hamlet s sanity is a controversy surrounding the play. We don t know if he actually loses his mind, or if he only pretends to, as he claims. The answer is probably that his decision to feign madness is a sane one; he has a strategic move to confuse his enemies and conceal his intentions. On the other hand, his mind is so troubled, confused, and desperate in the absence of any truth that his pretense assumes the intensity of real madness and something of its quality as well. Another time of insanity is when Polonius reports his discovery that Hamlet is mad for love in Act II, Scene ii. Polonius had seen this hot love on the wing (and Hamlet is) into the madness wherein he now raves. Hamlet is in love with Ophelia and had written a letter about his love for Ophelia, which Polonius found and read. The final example of Hamlet s insanity is when he talks to the ghost in Act III, Scene iii. The ghost reminds Hamlet that his real purpose is to avenge his father s death during Hamlet s attack. And since Gertrude cannot see the ghost, she says Alas, he s mad and pities his madness. Hamlet loses his sanity due to the situations surrounding them. Through these evidences, Shakespeare develops sanity as one of the significant issues in Hamlet.
In the end, many say that Hamlet claimed to be insane just to escape the consequences of his actions. He probably built up his insanity as an excuse throughout the play so that people wouldn t punish him and just think his was insane. Shakespeare doesn t match his issue to a simple answer to create a unique style to the play. If there was an answer, the play would just come to an end and no suspense would be built. None of the characters would do anything if Hamlet were sane, so to keep the play alive, Shakespeare adds these complications to keep an intense plot. Sanity is related to our society today. There are many pressures in our world that cause people to go insane. A child may go crazy due to peer pressure and make unwise decisions that will affect his future. The parents of the child, as a result, may go insane as well because they don t know how to handle their child. From the stress that comes from daily life, people go insane because they cannot deal with the pressures and sometimes cause others to go insane as well. Insanity will always remain in our society due to the situations we encounter.