Summary: Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and Bipolar Disorder Through The Hamlet Play

Hamlet is suffering from mental illnesses. He has Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and Bipolar Disorder. They are shown through the way that he thinks, behaves, and says things that show he is going through tough times. Hamlet has gone through very rough time dealing with his father’s death which is mainly why he has grown into these mental illnesses.

One mental illnesses that Hamlet has is a bipolar disorder. Hamlet shows a few symptoms of someone who has this disorder.

“Do you see yonder cloud cloud that’s almost in shape of a camel… Methinks it is like a weasel… Or like a whale”. This is an example of Hamlet’s bipolar behavior. While Hamlet and his friends are watching a play, Hamlet keeps saying suggestive things to his fiance. Then, when he says this about the clouds, it shows his need and his urge to keep talking. His thoughts keep racing through his mind which is a symptom of bipolar disorder.

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Hamlet also has insomnia, insomnia is the difficulty of falling and/or staying asleep ( Insomnia is also a symptom of a bipolar disorder which Hamlet proves to have. “Sir, in my heart there was a kind of fighting that would not let me sleep”. When Hamlet says this, he is complaining about his lack of sleep and his mind was restless. This shows how Hamlet is having trouble sleeping at night proving that he has insomnia.

Hamlet also suffers from Post Traumatic Stress which usually happens when someone has gone through and experienced a traumatic event.

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In this case, Hamlet went and is going through a rough time due to his father’s death. Symptoms of PTSD include: unwanted memory of trauma, heightened reactions, anxiety, or depressed mood. (google) Hamlet shows some of these symptoms throughout the play, you can notice how his reactions are heightened and his lines are mostly always said with a more aggressive tone than other characters. He shows his depressed mood sometimes as well, for example, “Sir, I lack advancement” and also in his famous line, “To be, or not to be- that is the question. Whether ‘tis nobler in the mind to suffer… or to take arms against a sea of troubles…”. Both of these quotes express Hamlet’s depressed mood, how he feels worthless. Even Rosencrantz tries to console him but Hamlet responds by saying nothing in his life means anything. He shows hopelessness about his future, has difficulty in maintaining relationships, and has negative feelings toward others. Overall, Hamlet has a lack of motivation in his life because he is depressed.

Someone else could argue that Hamlet is completely sane and is consciously doing and saying these things on purpose. A good example of this is when Hamlet kills Polonius and even though he didn’t know who was hiding behind the curtain, he still attacked whoever was there because Hamlet realized he was being spied on. Of course with all that anger Hamlet was feeling in that moment, his reaction was to go after whoever was spying on him. He had just finished sharing all his secrets that he got from the ghost and did not want the spy to let the rest of the people know. I think this argument is flawed because with Hamlet’s disorder, he was panicking and his mind led him to believe that he was doing the right thing. He had been traumatized from seeing the ghost and that trauma is the fear that was building up inside of him along with his previous trauma of his father’s death.

Hamlet is going through some serious things in his life that started when his father passed away. As he continues to live, he finds out secrets about how his father died and makes it worse because hamlet is already sad enough that he lost a loved one. All this depression is building up inside of him causing him to act out. People think Hamlet is crazy, but they don’t know that he actually has disorders that need to be treated. Without this treatment that he needs, the people who are close to Hamlet are affected by his actions and words. They just don’t realize that what he has needs to be treated in order for him to be stable.

Updated: Feb 29, 2024
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Summary: Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and Bipolar Disorder Through The Hamlet Play. (2024, Feb 29). Retrieved from

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