The theme of madness in Shakespeare plays

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Topic: Shakespeare’s Plays and Mental Illness

PROMPT:

In many Shakespearean plays, characters suffer from real or imagined mental illnesses (Hamlet, Othello, Macbeth, Ophelia, Lady Macbeth, etc.). As these characters dissolve into mental instability, their language hints at obsession, grief, and guilt. What triggers the descent into madness for these characters? Are there different degrees of madness? What is Shakespeare suggesting about human reason and emotion?

Use four characters, one from each of the following plays: Macbeth, Hamlet, Othello, and Richard III. And craft a thesis that examines the thematic function of insanity in the plays and takes a position on whether or not the characters are genuinely insane.

  • Minimum of 5 pages, double-spaced (at least 1250-1500 words)
  • Includes at least four plays, each play must have at least one quote and example from each play, and line citations
  • Include a Works Cited & Consulted page
  • Include at least TWO references to material from The Norton Shakespeare introductions, with page numbers
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