Madness in Hamlet - Sanchez 1 Madeleine Sanchez Mr....

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Sanchez 1 Madeleine Sanchez Mr. Benjamin Holloway English Per. 4 9, October 2012 Madness in Hamlet Madness, as defined by society, may be considered a deviation from the “normal” state of mind or human conduct, however, in classic literature, madness holds so much purpose that such a definition can hardly be applied to the term. When a character goes mad, as in Shakespeare’s Hamlet , the audience is able to observe the development of this character in mind and body and come to learn from this character’s point of view, brash actions and the consequences that follow. Hamlet utilizes “madness” as a central theme and establishes it as an influence that brings such a broad perspective to a person’s mind, that the mind itself becomes separate from the flesh, resulting in irrational decisions or behavior. Hamlet features a man whose apparent madness allows him to attain a thorough understanding of existence and the human condition that no other person in the play sees until he is dead. As the story develops, Hamlet’s outlook on life, his priorities and his decisions, shift, along with his mindset, from cravings of the flesh such as the revenge for his father’s death, to physical and mental isolation from his peers, to a deep realization that all life, although ending in death, is part of a vast continuum and because of this, fate cannot be prevented or challenged. “We do it wrong, being so majestical, to offer it the show of violence; for it is, as the air, invulnerable, and our vain blows malicious mockery”(I.i.142-145). As the play progresses and the plot thickens, Hamlet begins to
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2 internally question the concept of life, reassessing his role as a single person in the grand scheme of humanity. In everyday life, such complex thoughts rarely pass through one’s
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This note was uploaded on 12/01/2011 for the course LITERATURE 101 taught by Professor Corlin during the Spring '11 term at University of Houston - Downtown.

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Madness in Hamlet - Sanchez 1 Madeleine Sanchez Mr....

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