Shakespeare’s Hamlet’ is a complex piece of literature in its entirety. In fact, the story is so multi-fauceted that it is almost open to interpretation, which many scholars argue that this was actually Shakespeare’s intention. Nonetheless, a variety of points of views come to mind as the story unfolds, accompanied by an even broader variety of themes.
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For instance, pieces of the plot and the way in which they were articulated demonstrate perspectives such as traditional revenge trajety, Fruedian elements, religious, Marxist’s approach of mourning, and most importantly, a Philosophical or existential approach. Hamlet’s epic tale of loss, self discovery, morality, and faith, alongside the variety of thematic approaches, all spark the question: was Hamlet crazy?
This question is not merely subject to debate, but is impossible to prove or solve because psychological soundness knows no specific criteria to meet in order to be either sane or not; the concept in itself is usually too nuanced for a reader to find irrefutable proof about someone’s sanity, especially a round character like Hamlet. However, Shakespeare intended to depict lessons regarding morality and the inner workings of humanity as a whole, and had he written Shakespeare to be completely mad to the point where his decision making may differ from the majority of the human race, such themes would be lost and so would the majority of the story’s meaning. In essence, each perspective and point of view listed previously bleeds together and helps understand this piece of literature in its own unique way, while also dealing with the running continuity regarding Hamlet’s sanity.
For example, Freudians structural theory details how experiences/adversity a person faces shapes behavioral habits and personality traits. The main and defining conflict Hamlet faces is the fact that he is supposed to avenge his father’s death by killing his uncle. In his fear and uncertainty, Hamlet takes a lot of time to stall and think about whether or not Claudious was truly the perpetraitor and that the ghost was really his father. This is the way he operates all throughout the story, opting to convince himself he needs more time to think when he is truly just afraid to face the music. In his famous to be, or not to be speech (act three, scene one) , Hamlet dramatically articulates his conflict within himself: his unease about whether or not he should be a thinker or a doer, i.e to be or not to be.
According to Freud, Hamlet’s personality begins to manifest in a narcissitic manor because he deludes himself into believing that he is not a coward, but a carefully calculated and clever man who is a thinker before a doer not because he’s afraid, but because he is intellectually superior to his foes. In retrospect, some may argue that this perspective is slightly reaching,
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