William Shakespeare's tragedy Hamlet opens with there being "[s]omething rotten in the state of Denmark" (Madden 81). Given that the rotten state of Denmark becomes center stage, it is the perfect setting for madness to emerge; "Denmark's a prison" (Madden 96) for those who are inflicted with madness. The main thesis is that in all it's forms madness reveals truths and the understanding of these truths are interconnected. The text's reference to truths told by Hamlet, Ophelia and Laertes create this concept. These three types of truth when interconnected result in total understanding. .
Ever since the death of King Hamlet young Hamlet has been in what appears to be a state of madness; using madness as his guise Hamlet reveals empirical knowledge of the past which leads to present suffering and future self-destruction. Hamlet is "born to set [his father's murder] right" (Madden 86). He will "remember [his father]" (Madden 83) by "[avenging] his foul and most unnatural murder" (Madden 82). His quest for revenge has led him "[i]nto the madness wherein he now raves" (Madden 94). Using madness to his advantage Hamlet keeps the court occupied with his mental state so that his true doings may not be revealed. Hamlet tries to "[make] mad the guilty" (Madden 103) by changing the show that the players perform to resemble his father's death so he may see if Claudius is guilty. Hamlet knows the true nature of his father's death and tires to reveal it to all. This overwhelming revelation of truth causes Claudius to be overcome with guilt. Since Claudius is "[t]he serpent that did sting [King Hamlet's] life" (Madden 82) he fears what may happen if the court becomes aware of his evil doing. Anxiety is inflicted into Claudius and this apprehension causes his suffering. Hamlet speaks empirical truth of past understanding, guised by madness, which leads to present suffering and fear of the future. .
Ophelia brings to the court truth of the past, masked by her madness, which leads to a present understanding and in turn creates future suffering.