Respond to four (4) of the following topics with thoughtful, well-supported, well-written paragraphs of 150 – 200 words each. Be sure to use quotations to support your ideas. While Hamlet's "mad" behavior starts out as an "antic disposition," his mental state deteriorates over the course of the play to a point where it would be accurate to call him truly mad. It's no accident that the play makes it impossible to know whether or not Hamlet is actually "mad" – the audience's uncertainty about Hamlet's mental state mirrors the general ambiguity and doubt that characterizes the entire play. The fact that Hamlet is still talking about suicide even after he has sworn to avenge his father shows that the Prince's problems lie much deeper than simple grief over his father's murder. Hamlet himself defines theater as an art designed to "hold, as 'twere, the mirror up to Nature" (3.2.1). But in Hamlet, Shakespeare presents theater as something that shapes reality, rather than merely reflecting it. Hamlet is miserable in Denmark not just because of his father's death, but because he craves honesty while everyone else around him is engaged in deception and manipulation. There is justice in Hamlet because every character that practices deception is ultimately punished for doing so, often by his own form of treachery. The play does not share Hamlet's sexist attitude. In fact, it paints a sympathetic picture of Ophelia and seems to suggest that her madness and tragic death are the result of unfair attitudes toward women. In Hamlet, parents cannot be trusted to care for their children, especially when matters of politics are involved.