Hamlet is a complex character with multiple character traits that lead him through his many confusing and often conflicting actions throughout the play. Shakespeare has developed a character whose conflicts of interest and personality traits combine to lead him through actions that eventually led to his ultimate downfall, along with many of his former friends and acquaintances. Despite his innate characteristics, events in Hamlet's life cause him to act differently than his characteristics may imply. This type of insanity affected him in many ways, though true insanity was not achieved through the events and experiences that plagued Hamlet through the course of the play. .
As "insanity" was undoubtedly a striking characteristic of the personality which drove Hamlet's actions in the play, the causes of "insanity" must be analyzed in order to fully understand Hamlet's character. In fact, Hamlet may have been feigning insanity, using madness as a mask to protect him from Claudius's fury at him. Behind the mask, is hidden the secret of King Hamlet's death, and Hamlet's promise to the ghost to avenge his father's death. By pretending to be insane, Hamlet escapes King Claudius being furious with him, while in fact Hamlet does know the truth about how his father died.
Hamlet is faced with mixed emotions regarding his father's death. He is very hurt, about losing his father, and the ghost tells him that his brother, Claudius, murdered him during the night. When Claudius marries Gertrude, Hamlet's mother, Hamlet is filled with rage and disgust. The ghost asks Hamlet to avenge his father's death, and Hamlet promises that he will do so. After the ghost leaves, Hamlet asks Horatio and Marcellus not to repeat what the ghost said. "Never make known what you have seen tonight." The choice that Hamlet made, to believe what the ghost said and to avenge his father's death, shows that he is not crazy.