Stage 2 English Studies
Single Text: Hamlet
“How does Shakespeare use arrange of techniques to explore the main idea of madness presented through Hamlet’
When grief turns into madness, it becomes unclear whether it is revenge or sadness. In the play of Hamlet, author William Shakespeare presents the idea that madness has taken over grief after the death of his father. Shakespeare explores the idea of madness that is present throughout the play, the sympathy of the audience for Hamlet in Shakespeare’s play is enhanced through the use of imagery, dialogue and soliloquy. The various techniques enable the audience to connect with the characters as they have a deeper understanding of the characters and circumstances.
The use of imagery by Shakespeare compares the situation to a more familiar one, thus highlighting the madness surrounding the circumstances and the characters involved. The characters of Hamlet and Ophelia are affected by a loved one’s death and while their grief turns into madness the one’s close by become affected by the suffering characters. After the passing of Hamlets father, he becomes someone who is unrecognisable to even the ones who knew him best. Following the murder of his father, his mother, Gertrude compares the sea beneath the storm to explain Hamlet’s madness as she declares he is as “mad as the sea and wind when both contend/ which is the mightier,” (IV, i, 8-10). Hamlet is not the only one who is affected by the madness, nor does the madness go unseen. Laertes was the witness of Ophelia’s madness, which becomes evident when he cries, “Tears seven times salt” (IV, v, 130-131), the salted tears of which could burn his eyes out. Ophelia’s madness continues to be highlighted as Laertes continues, “by heaven, thy madness shall be paid weight”, (IV, v, 132-133), exclaiming the scale of revenge involved in Ophelia’s madness, which will be found in heaven. Shakespeare’s use of imagery portrays madness and allows the reader to connect with the characters. Whilst connecting with the characters the audience is opened up to a deeper understanding through Shakespeare’s descriptive language.
Shakespeare’s use of dialogue heightens the intimacy between the protagonist and the audience, allowing them to explore the idea of madness. Dialogue enables the reader to understand not only Hamlets character’s thoughts and true intentions but also how the other characters perceive his actions. Polonius is the first to declare Hamlet mad, although there is confusion as to why. Polonius is under the impression it is because Ophelia repelled his love and therefore reports to the king that “your noble son is mad” (II, ii,145-150). Although he sees the madness he admits “though this be madness, yet there is method in’t” (II, ii,193-206), explaining Hamlets clever toying. Hamlet himself reinforces Polonius’ opinion by stating “I am not in madness, but mad...