Madness

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  • Madness
    • Shakespeare allows us to question sanity as a social construct
      • Neely argues that our perception of madness always remains unfixed-forever changes
        • She comments that Shakespeare wrote in a time where people were infatuated mentality and madness
          • The same still applies today which is why Hamlet is so engaging and enjoyable
    • Mack argues that Shakespeare uses madness as a tool to reveal truths within the play and society
      • He comments on madness allowing freedom of speech, although insights may be dismissed by others
      • Madness is perceived as a type of divine punishment but still give the sufferer insight and freedom to speak the truth
        • Shown within Hamlet when he witnesses the Ghost in the closet scene and reveals the truth about his father's death
        • Shown within Ophelia when she sings of truths about her, Polonius and Hamlet as well as giving out symbolic flowers
        • Provides social truth/commentary
    • "The excess of any passion approached madness"
      • The passion Hamlet felt for avenging his father, or arguably saving his mother
      • Mack argues that Shakespeare uses madness as a tool to reveal truths within the play and society
        • He comments on madness allowing freedom of speech, although insights may be dismissed by others
        • Madness is perceived as a type of divine punishment but still give the sufferer insight and freedom to speak the truth
          • Shown within Hamlet when he witnesses the Ghost in the closet scene and reveals the truth about his father's death
          • Shown within Ophelia when she sings of truths about her, Polonius and Hamlet as well as giving out symbolic flowers
          • Provides social truth/commentary
      • Ophelia's was not as much passion but more mere loss as the men in her life she was dependent on either died or went away
    • The debate that madness could be feigned
      • "This be madness, yet, there be method in it"
        • Ironic as Polonius believes his madness to be "the very ecstasy of love!" for Ophelia
        • Hamlet begins to act 'mad' to fool people to think he is harmless
          • Makes him lose grip on reality-suffers the implications
            • Sparks the audiences' opinions on Hamlet's true mental state
          • His deterioration shows he is far from acting mad but is dealing with his deeper problems as he takes anger out on Gertrude and Ophelia
          • The boy who cried wolf?
        • Act II Scene II

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