Insane or Tragic? Shakespeare’s Hamlet


i am currently reading Hamlet and I am confused on whether or not Hamlet is supposed to be a true tragic character, or if he is manipulating others by “acting” more insane than he truly is.  Thoughts?


Great question!  While reading Shakespeare, it is important to play close attention to language usage, stage directions, historical context, major plot points, etc.  I definitely advise you to take notes on all characters, and to create a timeline of events throughout your reading of Hamlet to help you stay focused.  To answer your question, there are actually interpretations (plays, readings) of Hamlet where he is legitimately perceived as crazy, whereas in others he is shown as overly dramatic and manipulative.  In a class discussion, it’s interesting to receive feedback from others on Hamlet’s character, since opinions are typically split; although there is no “right” or “wrong” interpretation.  Good luck!