InShakespeare`s work, "The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark",sanity of Hamlet is questionable throughout the play. There areinstances in which the character seems to behave the usual way whilethere are certain times in which he seems to be completely mad.Whether his perceived madness justifies his actions is subject todebate because of the occurrences such as the death of his father andOphelia and the finding that his mother was already remarried by KingClaudius (Rubik 42). It is evident that these events can lead todepression which in turn may be a reason for acting illogically. Thispaper aims to express the dramatization of every ethical humanitystruggle it shows how Hamlet, the protagonist, and McMurphyexemplify mad and violent traits in their interactions.
However,Hamlet actions of killing King Claudius are driven by revenge. Hebelieved that he was his father’s heir to the throne andimmediately after returning from Germany to attend his father’sfuneral, he was shocked to find that the throne was already taken. Hesuspects foul play from King Claudius (Youngson 91). He plots on howto kill the King by pretending to be mad so that no one would suspecthis motives. One instance in which he shows signs of sanity is whenhe pretends to be idle when he notices that Queen Gertrude, Ophelia,Polonius, King Claudius, and others are coming to play (Shakespeare,98). He does not want the rest to suspect him in any way by tellingHoratio that he should be idle when the rest of the people enter thestage. It is because he has a mission to accomplish. Revenge thedeath of his father and restore power to the right people. Hisactions are also reasonable because of the way he hands over powerafter killing the King (Gabbard et al., 52). He identifies the personto be the next king and instructs, Horatio, to narrate the events tothe people.
Hamletexhibits some strange conduct. First, his love for Ophelia stops eventhough he had loved her dearly. His sanity is questionable because ofthe number of killings made. These murders were not justified in anyway. At one instance, he shows inconsistency in his thoughts byaddressing Polonius as someone he had never seen (Bali 81). He callshim a fish seller yet Polonius has never engaged in fish sellingbusiness before this shows irrational or eccentric manners.
InKen Kesey`s work of “One Flew over the Cuckoo`s Nest”, thecharacter McMurphy shows violent action on many occasions. However,they are directed towards a particular person Miss Ratched. Becauseof his violent conduct, he is seen as mad (Pink et al., 641). First,he consistently beats up the black workers. At one time, McMurphybroke the Nurse`s window this is an indication that he is not actingnormally.
Althoughhe is seen as a mad person, he can help other patients. Sometimes, hecould try to make jokes with the patients and seems to defend them byfighting the nurses. He provides hope to the patients by supportingand protecting them. By depicting McMurphy as a madman, Kesey canshow hopefulness to the patient making the actions of violencereasonable (Fleming et al., 186). Patients can become lively whenthere is someone who does actions likely to make them happy.
Inconclusion, the use of madness in plays makes people judge thecharacters with their actions. Depending on the intention, someactions can be seen as reasonable while others may have no basis atall (Chen 16). Therefore, these plays form a good source for scholarsto make their argument. For example, people will argue differentlydepending on how they understand the situations.
Bali,Shweta. "Mechanics of Madness in Hamlet, Macbeth and King Lear."IUPJournal of English Studies9.4 (2014): 81.
Chen,Yi-Chi. "Pregnant with Madness—Ophelia’s Struggle andMadness in Hamlet." (2011).
Fleming,Michael Z., Ralph L. Piedmont, and C. Michael Hiam. "Images ofmadness: Feature films in teaching psychology." Teachingof Psychology17.3 (2014): 185-187.
Gabbard,Glen O., and Krin Gabbard. Psychiatryand the Cinema.American Psychiatric Pub, 2012.
Pink,Jim, and Lionel Jacobson. "One Flew Over the Cuckoo`s Nest."BMJ334.7594 (2013): 641-641.
Rubik,Margarete. "Descriptions of madness in English Literature andthe cognitive empathy they elicit." (2013): 40-47.
Shakespeare,William. Thetragedy of Hamlet Prince of Denmark.Chamberlain Brothers, 2016.
Youngson,Robert. TheMadness of Prince Hamlet & Other Extraordinary States of Mind.Carroll & Graf Publishers, 2011.