Hamlet Critics: Melancholy, Madness and Memory

Arthur Kirsch argues that Ophelia picks up the scepter of grief that Hamlet laid downand it overwhelms her sanity and breaks her.
Anna K. Nardo argues that Hamlet’s feigned madness is how he escapes truemadness. The aspect of play in his madness allows him to express the crazy feelings hehas, but still keep his mental capacities in control. Ophelia is also caught in a doublebind situation.
Carol Thomas Neely argues that Ophelia’s madness differs from Hamlet’s because of genderdifferences and the different forms of madness associated with men and women. Opheliais singing songs and carrying on because that’s what women do in that period of time,while Hamlet’s more reserved madness is reflective of the melancholy that was typicallyassociated with men. Neely contends that Ophelia’s madness is a hysterical reflection ofHamlet’s madness, just as her suicide is a hysterical reflection of Hamlet’s contemplationof suicide.
Sigmund Freud spelled out in “Remembering, Repeating and WorkingThrough”, in 1914. The memories may not be possible to put into words at all, but areexpressed non-verbally, encoded as bodily experiences.
Nataša Šofranac Ophelia’s madness is focused on speaking in such a way that she cannot be ignored,because she is silenced and ignored all the time
Nataša Šofranac Having heard the Ghost’s traumatic experience of fratricidal death, he is inducedby this traumatic memory, which his “prophetic soul” had already known.
Alexander W. Crawford. From the opening of the play Hamlet has been marked as a melancholic man

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