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“Give him heedful note, for I mine eyes will rivet his face, and, after, we will both our judgments join in censure of his seeming” (3. The fact that he thought this out in such an organized and clear way makes it hard to believe that he is mad because a madman would never be able to think like that. Many of Hamlet’s actions can be seen as feigned, which he uses it to his advantage.Hamlet also knows how to act properly around the players. The interaction between Hamlet and the ghost of his father in front of his mother is all an act to make his mother think he is crazy. She explains to him that she cannot see anyone besides themselves in the room.
The antic disposition reoccurs throughout the play, but is merely an act.
Hamlet is mad in craft because he admits that he is not mad several times, he behaves irrational only in front of certain individuals, and he has many feigned actions.
It is this consistent cleverness that is the ultimate evidence of his complete sanity. "How strange or odd some'er I bear myself/(As I perchance hereafter shall think meet/To put an antic disposition on)/That you, at such times seeing, never shall,/With arms encumbered thus, or this headshake ,/Or by pronouncing of some doutful phrase,/As "Well,well,we know," or "We could an if we/would,"/Or "If we list to speak," or "There be an if they/might,"/Or such ambiguous giving-out, to note/That you know of me-this do swear,/(I,v,190-201).
Hamlet states that from this point forward I may act weird but to ignore my acts of madness for they are just that, acts, and are in no way a sign of true madness.
Hamlet uses his feigned madness to an advantage earlier on in the play as well when he is talking to Polonius and says, “Slanders, sir; for the satirical rogue says here that old men have gray beards, that their faces are wrinkled, their eyes purging thick amber and plum-tree gum… While the play is going on, Hamlet does exactly this with Ophelia by making sexual remarks to her when he says, “That’s a fair thought to lie between maids’ legs” (3. Stating what is on his mind allows him to speak his true feelings and still feel safe knowing he has nothing to fear.
Using madness as an excuse is something an insane man would not be able to do.From the very start, the ghost of Hamlet’s father tells him that Claudius is the one who murdered him. An antic disposition means to act in a grotesque manner.As soon as he is aware of the news, Hamlet begins to plan his next steps, saying, “How strange or odd soe’er I bear myself, as I perchance hereafter shall think meet to put an antic disposition on” (1. This simply means that Hamlet is going to play a role of a mad person throughout the play.An example of this is when he asks, “You could, for a need, study a speech of some dozen or sixteen lines, which I would set down and insert in ‘t, could you not? Gertrude, not being able to see the ghost, says to Hamlet, “No, nothing but ourselves… This bodiless creation ecstasy is very cunning in” (3. Gertrude is bound to think Hamlet is mad since she sees him talking to nobody. Hamlet cleverly insults Polonius here and his wit shows how he is not mad.The audience knows that Hamlet is not in fact mad and is actually talking to the ghost of his father. By feigning his madness, it allows him to speak whatever is on his mind without anyone being suspicious. Expressing his feelings induces reactions from others just as he wants.When he is around Polonius, Claudius, Gertrude, Ophelia, Rosencrantz, and Guildenstern he acts completely irrational.When Hamlet is around Horatio, Bernardo, Francisco, the players, and the gravediggers Hamlet acts completely sane.While talking to Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, Hamlet says, “I am but mad north north-west. Another time that he admits he is acting crazy is to his mother, “I essentially am not in madness But mad in craft” (3. Besides admitting he is mad in craft, it is obvious that Hamlet is sane by his choice of actions around select audiences.When the wind is southerly, I know a Hawk from a Handsaw. If Hamlet can decide who he wants to act mad around then he is aware of what he is doing and he knows that he has not really lost his mind.He acts irrational around Polonius, Claudius, Gertrude Rosencrantz, Guildenstern and Ophelia but remains calm and rational around Horatio, Marcellus, and the players.A big part of the play is when Hamlet lashes out at Ophelia and convinces her he has actually gone mad.