The concept for our Phase 2 Presentation has been finalized!
Our game plan for the group meetings was to come up with themes within Act 3 which we could use our individual tools to analyze; from these themes, we would choose the one major subject which all of our tools would be able to analyze effectively. During our first few group meetings we came up with different themes that occurred throughout Act 3 of Hamlet; amongst these were: the relationship Hamlet has with Ophelia, Hamletâ€™s mannerisms towards the female characters: Gertrude and Ophelia, and Hamletâ€™s madness. Being a self-proclaimed relationship analyst (credentials still pending), I was hoping to do an analysis of the relationship between Ophelia and Hamlet. After some work with our tools, we felt that it would be best to work with Hamletâ€™s madness. Luckily, we did spend some time analyzing the relationship between Ophelia and Hamlet, which I will be using for my final blog post in Phase Three.
Madness is a thought-provoking concept because how can one truly categorize who is actually insane and whoâ€™s not? At some point in our lives have we not acted insane in some way? One could say that everyone is insane when it comes to a certain aspect in their life, the only difference is that we all vary in our insanity; some insane quirks are accepted, others arenâ€™t. Our objective is to find out whether Hamlet is truly mad, or if his â€œinsanityâ€ is just quirk in his personality that he intensifies for his own purposes. To find the answer, I asked myself the following questions:
- What is insanity?
- How does Hamlet behave which makes others believe he is mad? Are there certain parts of his speech that indicate he is insane?
- What are some of the factors that can be attributed to his insanity?
- Can his behavior just be a cause of his anger/sadness of everything that has occurred in his life so far?
- What role does the ghost play in Hamletâ€™s insanity?
Through our group projects and this class in general, I have learned that you cannot possibly do an analysis, a decent analysis that does justice to the authorâ€™s writing, with just the tools. The questions listed above cannot easily be found by just using WordHoard; it would only be a complete analysis if I used other methods as well as WordHoard to make a solid conclusion on Hamletâ€™s madness. For my analysis I combined WordHoard, a close reading analysis of the text and my favorite site of all time, YouTube. I wonâ€™t share my final conclusion yet for Iâ€™ll save it for our presentation! Instead I will share some of my results which I found quite intriguing.
Through the use of YouTube, I found countless clips of Act 3; some made by professionals and others made by high school students for their English projects. After watching a couple of videos I found that this clip of act 3.4, showed the point that I was working towards. In the video, Hamlet (I found it funny that he is blonde in this clip as I have always imagined him to have black hair!) is agitated and angry, irrational when he kills Polonius and overall in a fit of passion. If you were to remove the seed of doubt already placed in our head that questions Hamletâ€™s sanity, you could easily compare this to when any sane rational person has a fit of passion and acts deranged; does this mean that the person is insane because they had a moment of madness? It might be that Hamlet is suffering from a moment of madness; albeit the moment becomes a series of â€˜momentsâ€™ in the play. Can ones sanity be judged by their behavior when they feel like they are in a whirlwind of emotions?
This idea helped me think of what I wanted to uncover through the use of my tool. Using WordHoard, I decided to search for words used in Hamlet, specifically Act 3, which would explain what madness is. Obviously my first search word would be madness itself. The following are some of my findings:
- The word madness is said eight times by Hamlet, most of which were spoken in Act 3. Compared to all of Shakespeareâ€™s plays, this is the most times any character has ever used the word.
- In line 144, Hamlet says â€œThat not your trespass, but my madness speaksâ€ but then in line 185 he contradicts himself and says â€œThat I essentially am not in madness, but mad in craftâ€. Both lines, said in scene 4, portray this dual persona of Hamlet; one that is mad, and one that isnâ€™t.
This isnâ€™t enough evidence to declare whether Hamlet is indeed insane, but it gives us a starting point to develop the idea that maybe Hamlet isnâ€™t mad. Our groupâ€™s conclusion on the matter will be discussed during our presentation which we look forward to. For now I wish you the reader all the best of luck in your search of Hamlet.
“All are lunatics, but he who can analyze his delusions is called a philosopher.”