The method of madness of Hamlet

Question: Do you agree that there was a method in Hamlet’s madness? If so why? The method of madness of Hamlet


William Shakespeare (1564-1616) is the supreme artist in the field of drama. In his best known and largest tragedy “Hamlet” here the madness of the hero Hamlet is a great concerned to the critics and the audience whether it is real or fake. The critics could not agree with their opinions about Hamlet’s madness that is why some say that it was real. Other critics say it was feigned. Hamlet’s madness is not only fake but also a method. The reason behind this madness is illustrated below with the reference to the tragedy “Hamlet”. 

To be pretended as a madman

At the very outset of the tragedy Hamlet, we find the hero of the tragedy is a very sensible, reasonable, and accountable person. But the two reasons have to bind him to act like a mad person. The reasons are Ghost’s message and the hasty marriage of his mother. Hamlet is pretending to find out the suspect of his father’s death.

“Haste me to know that I wish wings as swift

As meditation or the thoughts of love

May sweep to my revenge”

From these quoted lines we clearly perceive that Hamlet is a sensible man and he requested the Ghost to reveal the name of his father’s murderer so that he can take revenge on that person.

A procedure

Hamlet’s madness works as a method to take revenge for his father’s death. Being a madman he silently investigates his uncle whether he is really the murderer of old Hamlet or not. For this, he arranges a play named “The Murderer of Gonzago”. This play is considered as the play within a play. By this play, Hamlet is conformed that Claudius is the real murder of his father, Old Hamlet. Also in Act II, scene II, Polonius remarks that Hamlet’s madness is not really rather it is a method. As he says,

“Though this be madness, yet there is a method”

Shakespeare’s play-acting excellence

Shakespeare is an extraordinary genius in the history of English literature and is unique in styles and his own excellence. Each of his plays has introduced a new kind of style such as supernatural elements, play within a play, tragicomic elements, and so on. Like these, in the play “Hamlet” the madness of the hero has introduced to the audience Shakespeare’s play-acting excellence. To establish this technique the playwright has given utmost interest towards the hero. So it can be called that Hamlet’s madness is not only a method of Hamlet himself but also it is a method of Shakespeare to make his tragedy praiseworthy.

To find out revenge motive

The playwright William Shakespeare has designed the tragedy as an unconventional revenge tragedy being influenced by the ancient Roman Playwright Seneca. So in this tragedy, we find some elements of a revenge motive. Among them, Hamlet’s madness is one of them. Hamlet pretends to be crazy so that he can observe his suspect. 

To escape from Claudio’s attention

Hamlet’s madness is a cunning process to escape from Claudio’s attention. Because Hamlet knew that his uncle Claudius was a shrewd person who had a minute observing power. In that time, if Hamlet makes any mistake, he will murder Claudius’ hand. So when Claudius has ordered to judge the authenticity of Hamlet’s mind. Hamlet has pretended to be a real crazy man. The quoted lines proved the fact of Hamlet’s madness.

“Love? his affections do not that way tend;

Nor what he shake, though it lack’d form a little,

Was not like madness.”


In the light of the above discussion, we must say that Hamlet’s madness is not real. It is undoubtedly proved from the above discussion. Shakespeare has established Hamlet’s madness in a cunning method to reach his goal.

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SR Sarker
SR Sarker
Articles: 380

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