Polonius’ Observations on Hamlet’s Madness The obedient Ophelia has followed her father’s injunctions and repelled Hamlets letters and denied him access to her. Polonius is certain that these rebuffs have driven Hamlet mad. His only action is to inform the king and queen, and to let them decide what the next move will be. In lengthy discussion with the king and queen he explain the situation: ; ;Polonius: Your noble son is mad. ;Mad call I it; for, to define true , ;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;; What is’t but to be nothing else but mad? One of the most analyzed plays in existence today is the tragedy , with its recurring question: “Is Hamlet’s ‘antic disposition’ feigned or real?” This question can only be answered by observing the thoughts of the main characters in relation to the cause of Hamlet’s real or feigned madness.
In the tragedy Hamlet, each of the main characters explains Hamlets madness in their own unique way. To discover the cause behind the madness of Hamlet, each character used their own ambitions, emotions and interpretations of past events. Initially one of the most accepted causes for Hamlets instability is that of denied love, conjured by the self fulfilling Polonius. In the very first scene of the second act, Ophelia rushes to tell her father, Polonius, disturbing news: Ophelia: My lord, as I was sewing in my closet, Lord Hamlet, with his doublet all unbrac’d, No hat upon his head, his stockings foul’d, Ungart’red, and down-gyved to his ankle; Pale as his shirt, his knees knocking each other, And with a look so piteous in purport As if he had been loosed out of hell To speak of horrors- he comes before me. Polonius: Mad for thy love? Ophelia: My lord, I do not know, But truly I do fear it. (Act II scene I) It is interesting to note that Ophelia does not tell her father that Hamlet is mad because of Ophelia denied love, but that Polonius automatically assumes this.
Polonius: This is the very ecstasy of love, Whose violent property fordoes itself And leads the will to desperate undertakings As oft as any passion under heaven That does afflict our natures. What, have you given him any hard words of late? Ophelia: No, my good lord; but, as you did command, I did repel his letters and denied