Two points I need to disprove for an essay on Hamlet's Sanity : LUSENET : Kenneth Branagh's Hamlet : One Thread

I have to prove that Hamlet was sane for my final. I was given a list of points all of which I had to argue againts. I have responded to them all except two. They are as follows: He jumps aboard the pirate ship without anyone to back him up and He jumps into Ophelia's grave, and fights with laertes in her grave. Can some one help me disproves the insanity of these acts?

-- Alicia Sawyer (, December 14, 2003


I think you just need to on some other reason(s) or motivation(s), and explain how and why Hamlet feels and thinks them - eg. anger, bravery, being offended, being a man of decisive action when there is no great moral dilemma involved, ... .

But anyway, regarding the pirate ship, Hamlet doesn't say that he had no one to back him up. He says 'WE put on a compelled valour'. Possibly he simply boarded the pirate ship first (i.e., was leading the men on his side), and as he says, the pirates then immediately pulled their ship away because they only wanted Hamlet.

-- catherine england (, December 14, 2003.

Thanks a bunch, I really appriciate that. I was just kind of stumped with those two. I was supprised no one had mentioned them earlier on the arguements to his sanity. I think part of the problem is it is hard to argue he is sane when things are taken out of context.

-- Alicia Sawyer (, December 15, 2003.

There is no real good evidence to support the idea that Shakespeare's Hamlet "jumped into Ophelia's grave". The only stage direction to be found supporting this comes from the First Quarto, (or the Bad Quarto) and all this version of Hamlet is of much real use for, is to tell us some of the stage practices that took place on Shakespeare's Globe stage. And it was also accounted that Richard Burbage did on many occasions "leap into the grave", so I guess this was a piece of stage business invented by Burbage. But as I said, the Hamlet that Shakespeare wrote probably didn't leap into the grave. It also causes impracticalities in that the two of them need to be parted by attendants. It is more realistic I think to assume that Laertes leaps FROM the grave. I believe Q2 and Folio versions of Hamlet simply imply "they grapple".

-- Patrick Walker (, December 15, 2003.

Yes. "The Arden Shakespeare" edition has a detailed note on this. I also think Laertes jumps out, rather than Hamlet in, for the simple reason that Laertes would only get his fingers on Hamlet's throat if he jumped at Hamlet, taking him by surprise. (Hamlet says, 'I prithee, take thy fingers from my throat ... .')

-- catherine england (, December 15, 2003.

Apparently, despite popular belief, hamelet did not infact jump in the grave, he wrestled with him beside the grave. cant go into it now, in class, but yeah.

-- sharon parr (, May 20, 2004.

Yeah indeed. I understand that Hamlet jumping in was a habit that arose though early performance of the play. But it doesn't really make sense according to the text.

-- catherine england (, May 20, 2004.

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