Madness-Hamlet

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Webster defines being mad as disordered in intellect and insane, and in Hamlet the defining theme is that of madness.As the many layers of the tragedy of Prince Hamlet unfold, characters who are crazy, insane, furious, infatuated, and madly in love are introduced.Prince Hamlet, the main character of the play, responds:"'Seems,' madam?Nay, it is.I know not'seems.' " (1.2.79) to a simple comment his mother makes.Seems is not important to the conversation, yet he makes a point of stating that he does not know what the word'seems' means.Curious minds wonder: Does he know the meaning of'seems,' and play on it to confuse his mother, or is he truly gone so mad as to no longer know the meaning of an unmistakable five-letter word.He later says to himself:"O, that this too, too sullied flesh would melt, thaw, and resolve itself into a dew,"Hamlet is not wanting to die, but to change; he wants to become something simpler.He is perplexed at his own humanity and that of those close to him.Hamlet does not get along well with Polonius, the father of his girlfriend, but Polonius sums up the madness in the play better than any other character in saying:"More grief to hide than hate to utter love." (2.1.133)Polonius is discussing suppressed emotions and masking one's true feelings.In the end, those who needed forgiveness find it in each other where they had least expected to find it.There are many parts of the play where I believe he must be mad, but I understand what drove him to lunacy: His father's death, a murder by his uncle, the marriage of his mother and his father's killer, his true love being driven away from him, his being disallowed to return to the one place that he is happy: school.On a final note, I believe that the only two truly sane characters, Hamlet and Ophelia, are driven to insanity by those surrounding them…