How sanity affects Hamlet, its characters and plot:


  • Hamlet faking his insanity
  • Horatio’s continuous support seems to keep Hamlet from falling off the brink
  • Ophelia’s death brings an end to Hamlet’s facade, and he confronts Claudius and Laertes
  • Laertes learned to think clearly during his fight with Hamlet


  • Ophelia driven crazy by father’s murder
  • Was Hamlet really faking, or did he actually go mad
  • Hamlet’s supposed insanity first shown by the remarks he makes after his uncle and mother’s wedding
  • Many people betray him (his mother, uncle, friends Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, Polonius, etc.)
  • Hamlet thinks of suicide, showing madness
  • Shows madness when he loses track of when his father died
  • ”But two months dead: nay, not so much, not two: /  So excellent a king; that was, to this, /  Hyperion to a satyr; so loving to my mother”(I.ii.138-140)
  • Hamlet’s insanity is shown again when he plans to  yell at his mother
  • “This is the time of night when witches come out, when graveyards yawn open and the stench of hell seeps out. I could drink hot blood and do such terrible deeds that people would tremble even in the daylight. But I’ve got to go see my mother.” (III.ii.380-399)
  • Hamlet killing Polonius led to Laertes fall into a mad hunger for revengeAlso led to Ophelia’s insanity and suicide/accident
  • Claudius’ plan started messing up: “It is the poison’d cup. It is too late.” (V.ii.282)
Dramatic Irony in Hamlet

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