EN 360 Shakespeare I
Throughout many of Shakespeare’s plays, one of the central themes with which he provides his readers is the topic of madness and insanity. In Karin S. Coddon’s, “Such Strange Desygns”: Madness, Subjectivity, and Treason in Hamlet and Elizabethan Culture, the author depicts the reasons behind the psychosis of Shakespeare’s characters and what led to their insanity. The author expresses insight for not only the themes of madness in Hamlet but also helps explain the aspect of madness in one Shakespeare’s other plays, Macbeth. Through her analysis, Coddon successfully offers her readers a deeper understanding of Shakespeare’s choice to portray his characters in this way and provides the …show more content…
Throughout Coddon’s article she argues that Essex’s internal disobedience represents in itself-as much as in the desperate actions it precipitated- a casting off of the modes of obedience demanded by the state; “ as the sinner was to the Church, now the disordered subjectivity is to the secular state” (“Such Strange Desygns,” 382). Here Coddon is expressing the idea that Essex’s internal desire to rebel against authority and gain all the power is what drove him into insanity. Coddon is able to reveal the method to character’s madness, their selfish emotions and ambition take over their minds, like Hamlet and Macbeth, they allow these desires to control everything they do even if it is not morally right.
Macbeth, Lady Macbeth and Essex all have a deep readiness to rule, their power hungry quality was a major aspect that led to their psychotic mental status. All three of them were so wrapped up in gaining power that they were unable to think in the right mindset. Coddon discusses that fact that Essex’s madness can be read as a sign of his transgression against authority and also his eagerness to rule (386). Macbeth like Essex proves his eagerness for power when after he kills King Duncan he states:
Here lay Duncan,
His silver skin laced with his golden blood;
And his gash'd stabs look'd like a breach in nature
For ruin's wasteful