Hamlet’s Mental Condition Essay

Why evidence does the text offer about Hamlet’s mental condition? Hamlet goes through a whirlwind of emotions throughout the course of the play. When reading the play you see signs of depression and mania. By modern standards, I believe he had bipolar depression. Claudius describes Hamlet’s emotional state by saying “the clouds still hang on.” What he means by this is that Hamlet’s sadness goes deeper that just the mourning of his father. He has had a wave of depression come over him. In an attempt to explain to his grieving process to his mother, Hamlet states, “But I have that within which passeth show.These but the trappings and the suits of woe.” In Hamlet’s own words, he is explaining how heavy his depression is. It’s more to him than just the passing of his father and he knows how his unhealthy coping mechanisms are affecting his day to day life. One of Hamlet’s most famous depressive episodes occurs during his first soliloquy. During this speech, Hamlet is contemplating suicide, an element of the depressive stage of bipolar depression. Then he comes up with the idea of putting on a play revealing what he believes Claudius did to his father. He seems to become revved up when he devises this plan, perhaps entering the euphoric state. Hamlet’s thoughts jump all over the place, another clear sign of madness. When given the opportunity, he does not kill Claudius, while in prayer, because he does not want him to go to Heaven. However, he did not have that same concern for himself when he was considering suicide. Impulsivity is also a sign of depression. Hamlet displays the ultimate recklessness when he suddenly kills Polonius. Poor Hamlet never went into remission, if he had been alive today, he may have benefitted from some mood stabilizers and therapy.

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