Hamlet: From Feigned Madness to Authentic Madness
Shakespeareâ€™s Hamlet is a most mysterious and complex character, his psyche probably being the subject of more psychoanalysis than any other character in English literature. Hamlet is a play about the main character, Hamlet, plotting vengeance against his uncle, Claudius, who has murdered his father, Old Hamlet, and has taken over his kingdom of Denmark. Not too often do we come across such a story in which a man who feigns his madness ultimately immerses himself so deep into this fabrication to a point of actually assuming authentic madness, as is the case in this drama. Though Hamlet initially feigned his madness, this madness progressively overcame him and transpired into an authentic lunacy.
Shakespeare suggests some instability in Hamletâ€™s mind even before learning of his fatherâ€™s murder. Before Hamlet is aware of his fatherâ€™s ghost, his fatherâ€™s spirit begins to haunt his mind: â€œMy father- methinks I see my father/ In my mindâ€™s eyeâ€ (I. ii. 184-185). The fact that Hamlet sometimes imagines the presence of his father suggests that his mind is becoming unsettled under the trauma of his fatherâ€™s death. Upon hearing of his fatherâ€™s death, Hamlet also had to cope with his motherâ€™s hasty marriage to Claudius. Then, after the appearance of his fatherâ€™s ghost, Hamlet finds out that his
father was actually murdered by Claudius. The news of his fatherâ€™s death must have been devastating enough, then comes his motherâ€™s speedy remarriage, and then comes the news of his fatherâ€™s murder. All of this must have been too overwhelming for Hamlet that he just could not cope with all of his feelings and emotions.
The single event that initially drives Hamlet into madness is his encounter with the Ghost. Before this personal encounter, Horatio warns him of the danger of fol