By the way, this notion of Hamlet as "metatheater" is explored, among several other places, in Lionel Abel's book, Tragedy and Metatheatre: Essays on Dramatic Form.
From Hamlet’s constant struggle to murder his incestuous uncle to Macbeth’s sudden ability to see ghostly blood-covered daggers, it is clear to see that Shakespeare has a method to his madness.
Hamlet appears to be a coward as well as depressed.
In Antony and Cleopatra, Shakespeare again explores the idea of the victim within a patriarchal society. However, in this play the gender roles are inverted and it is Antony who is the true victim. Stifled by the rules of the patriarchal society of Rome which expects him to retain a masculine side only, and not to adopt the feminine qualities of passion, emotion, and love, Antony's control over his life diminishes. Within such patriarchal confines the role of lover must be subordinate to the male's political role. After finding an extraordinary and powerful love with Cleopatra - which Shakespeare establishes to perfection - Antony is unable to accept the 'business first' principle of the patriarchal laws. Like the typical female heroine of a tragedy, Antony's plight escalates when he is rushed into an arranged marriage of convenience. He cannot remain away from Cleopatra and faithful to Octavia who symbolises Caesar and the power of Patriarchal Rome. He says 'though I make this marriage for my peace,/ I'th' East my pleasure lies'. Inevitably he returns to Egypt and Cleopatra, and causes a rift which can never again be cemented between himself and Caesar, which ultimately results in war.
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Hamlet’s supposed madness not only becomes his way of relating to the other characters during the majority of the play, but also that which develops his character as throughout the play.
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Phyllis Abrahms and Alan Brody in “Hamlet and the Elizabethan Revenge Tragedy Formula” consider the madness of the hero to be completely feigned and not real: Hamlet is a masterpiece not because it conforms to a set of conventions but because it takes those conventions and transmutes them into the pure gold of vital, rele...
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Revenge and greed has the power to turn a complete civil man into a total savage and Shakespeare showed the reader in one of his most popular fine works called Hamlet.
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Although Antony occasionally lapses into judging himself by the standards of the patriarchy - for example, towards the end of the play dejected and shamed by his diminished political power, he becomes jealous and irrational and claims that Cleopatra has emasculated him: 'O thy vile lady, / She has robbed me of my sword.' In the conflict between love and politics - love wins. Ultimately, Antony is not debased by his loss of power, but rather, through his love of Cleopatra envelops a manhood of stronger parameters - an 'alternative masculinity' as Woodbridge puts it. The end of the play can be seen as a tribute to love; a celebration rather than a downfall. Antony does not cease to be a valiant Roman by choosing Egypt over Rome; love over politics, but becomes vanquisher of himself in his suicide. By dying simultaneously in the Roman fashion, and with Cleopatra and for Cleopatra (he kills himself when he believes she is dead), Antony combines the two polarities which have been evident and separate throughout the play: the masculine Rome and the feminine Egypt.
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Hamlet, dying, tells Horatio to tell his story and not to commit suicide. Hamlet recommends Young Fortinbras as the next King of Denmark. Young Fortinbras arrives, cleaning up the massacre. Horatio promises to tell all the story we have just witnessed, ending the play.