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We’re All Mad Here. Hamlet. MADNESS. Silvia Witt & Karianne Tremain. Definition. Mad-ness noun The state of being mad; insane. Introduction . Thesis There is madness in everyone throughout the play Hamlet written by William Shakespeare, a nd the first act foreshadows it all. .

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Silvia Witt & KarianneTremain



There is madness in everyone throughout the play Hamlet written by William Shakespeare, and the first act foreshadows it all.



  • “O that this too too sullied flesh would melt, / Thaw, and resolve itself into dew, / Or that the Everlasting had not fixed / His canon ‘gainst self-slaughter. O God, God, / How weary, stale, and unprofitable / Seem to me all the uses of this world!” (1.2.129-134)


In Hamlet’s soliloquy he talks about how he wishes to end his life but that God had made it a sin. He says that there is nothing to live for in this world. In his whole speech he appears he has lost his mind and gone mad.

This foreshadows madness throughout the play because showing how much on edge Hamlet really is.



  • “Unhand me, gentlemen. /By heaven, I’ll make a ghost of him that lets me!” (1.4. 84-85)


  • Hamlet wishes to speak with his father’s spirit and is willing to kill anyone who tries to stop him. This foreshadows madness because Hamlet is willing to hurt his friends in order to get what he desires.


“Something is rotten in the state of Denmark” (1.4.90).


  • This foreshadows madness because Marcellus can tell something is wrong in the kingdom. It also is a turning point in the play. Hamlet starts to struggle with himself and he starts to go mad.


“With mirth in funeral, and with dirge in marriage, / In equal scale weighing delight and dole” (1.2.12-13).


  • Claudius tries to cover up his brothers death by marrying his brother’s wife, Hamlet’s mother, and telling his people that it is time to move on. He is trying to keep the attention away from Hamlet’s death. This foreshadows madness because it shows that Claudius has a twisted mind and is very manipulative.


“’Tis unmanly grief. / It shows a will most incorrect to heaven, / A heart unfortified, a mind impatient, / An understanding simple and unschooled” (1.2.94-97.)


  • Claudius is trying to convince Hamlet that he needs to move on. He insults Hamlet in order to try and convince him that he needs to “man up” and not think about the loss of his father. This shows that Claudius is hiding something that could turn out to be mad because he tries to manipulate Hamlet and trying to keep Hamlet away from him or trying to figure out what happened to his father

Shakespeare foreshadowed madness through various characters during act 1. There is madness in everyone but some are better at hiding it than others. Madness is a state of mind that can make you lose control and become something we’re not. But it develops over time and slowly takes over. Madness can be very selfish and usually consequences are not considered.

  • What do you consider madness?
  • Do you think Shakespeare presents madness effectively in act 1? Why or why not?
  • Do you think Hamlet was always mad or becomes mad throughout act 1?
  • Do you think any other characters portray madness in the play?