Today, your honour, I stand before the courts to appeal for justice for my client, the young Prince Hamlet who is accused of murdering our Principal Secretary of State, Polonius, in cold blood. Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, the prosecution have presented a flimsy case against the prince; most significantly they failed to mention the fact that my client, Hamlet, may indeed have been clinically insane at the time of the Principal Secretary of State’s murder.
If my client is found to be unable to stand trial on the grounds of insanity, then he should be cleared of all charges and taken into care until such time that his mental health is restored. Your honour, one must only have to briefly overlook the actions and behaviours of Hamlet from the time of his dear father’s death to the murder of Polonius to notice that he was, indeed, acting in an irrational manner, unable to control his actions and immersed in a dark world of self-doubt and loss. One must take into account Hamlets aching depression after the death of his father and his mother’s hasty remarriage to his uncle come step-father.
Hamlet felt his mother had betrayed her first husband and was sickened by the thought of the incestuous behaviours she was engaging in with Claudius, Hamlets uncle. Conclusive evidence of this torment has been presented to the court. Upon the arrival of Horatio, Hamlet’s only friend, Hamlet asked Horatio why he had returned from Wittenberg. Horatio tells Hamlet that he came to see the King Hamlets funeral and Hamlet quotes: “I pray thee, do not mock me, fellow student; I think it was to see my mother’s wedding…Thrift, thrift, Horatio! The funeral backed meats. By this, your honour, Hamlet conveys his utter disgust and anguish at the speed in which his mother remarried after her first husband passed. These feelings would certainly have had an impact on the later events that Prince Hamlet was involved in. Further evidence of this depression and angst is palpable on a security tape recorded in the Council Chamber. After Hamlet sullenly agrees to shed his ‘nighted colours’ and not to resume his studies at Wittenberg, he is left alone in the chambers where it appears he ponders his thoughts and feelings. O! That this too too solid flesh would melt, thaw and resolve itself into a dew; or that the Everlasting had not fix’d his canon against self-slaughter! ” It is clear that Hamlet contemplates suicide or self slaughter, something only a person in the depths of depression might consider. Your honour, do you believe any sane being would expose such dire and dark inner feelings with such ease and confidence? Later, ladies and gentlemen, Hamlet was recorded, again on security footage, voicing his dismal and bleak outlook.
He said: “To be, or not to be; that is the question: Whether tis nobler in the mind to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, or to take arms against a sea of troubles. And by opposing, end them? To die: to sleep: no more; and, by a sleep to say we end the heart-ache and the thousand natural shocks that flesh is heir to, ‘tis a consummation devoutly to be wished. ” Your honour, the mental state of young Prince Hamlet is clearly in doubt to the point where suicide and an eternal sleep is all his minds eye can contemplate.
Your honour, the court has earlier been informed of the ghostly appearance of the late King Hamlet on the guard platform, and this alone would be enough to send any son mad. Hamlet is instantly consumed and infatuated by the thought of his father’s ghostly resurrection and goes to great lengths to find out more. Once Hamlet himself is in the presence with the ghost, he is beckoned, but warned by Horatio not to trust the spirit. Hamlet suggests that he does not set his life at a pin’s value and will not be afraid of something that is as immortal as his own soul.
Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, Hamlet’s actions in reference to the ghost’s beckoning can be perceived as reckless and impulsive and evidently the actions of a man possessed of something eating at his grasp of reality. Your honour, if seeing and following the ghost was not mad enough; Hamlet chooses freely to communicate with the suspicious apparition. And none the less, ladies and gentlemen of the jury, he agrees to carry out the vengeful wishes of the late king to the absolute extremities.
To the point, that he is paranoid out of his wits when he believes he hears a ‘rat’ in his mother’s bedroom and from impulsive apprehension, shoots and kills the Principal Secretary of State, Polonius. Upon learning that the dead body does not belong to the king, Hamlet is engulfed in a crazed frenzy and is revisited by the spiteful ghost. Whilst Hamlet converses with the pale and knightly ghost, Gertrude is assured that it is only herself and her son in the room, and is then convinced that the invisible figure is indeed, a coinage of Hamlet’s imagination.
She said in her statement to the court that she told her husband that she herself felt threatened by Hamlets erratic behaviour and that he was indeed insane. Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, I understand that in the lead up to the traumatic events, my client did indeed claim that he was going to act insane in order to distract Claudius from his proper plans of revenge, but I remain convinced that the earlier evidence in fact proves that this was no act. Your honour, my clients “act” was to real and confronting to merely be a show. How may one learn so suddenly how to act so mad?
In how many cases have insane defendants simply “acted” to this degree. Your honour, I do not believe that any sane man could put on such a pretence to the point where he kills another impulsively and claims this to be of virtue. Insanity, ladies and gentlemen, is no trifling illness. It has overthrown the young prince Hamlet and in that jangled state he cannot be held accountable for his actions. This is by no fault of his own. Your integrity, your honour, your recognition of truth is what will see you return a verdict of not guilty for my client and give him his freedom.