What Does A Method to the Madness Mean?

A Method to the Madness Meaning

Definition: Despite one’s erratic behavior, that person has a plan.

Origin of A Method to the Madness

The current locution of this phrase comes from a line in the play Hamlet, written by the English playwright William Shakespeare in the year 1602.

  • Though this be madness, yet there is method in’t.

In this play, the main character, Hamlet, is the prince of Denmark. His father died, and his father’s ghost visited Hamlet to tell him that he had been murdered.

Hamlet decides to pretend that he has gone crazy, in order to spy on those at the castle and learn who murdered his father. Therefore, although he seems insane, he has a plan.

Madness is another word for insanity.

It’s likely that this expression existed before Shakespeare, but he coined it in its current form.

Examples of A Method to the Madness

method to your madness Here is an example in which one roommate is engaging in strange behavior.

Mario: Hey, Axel.

Axel: Hi, Mario. I couldn’t help but notice that you’re crawling around on the floor like a dog. Are you feeling okay? Are you having a mental breakdown?

Mario: Don’t worry. There’s a method to my madness. I lost my contact lens somewhere around here, so I am crawling back and forth in a systematic way to find it. I’m sure it looks crazy. Oh, look! Here’s my contact lens!

method in the madness In this example, a professional singer is acting strangely.

Producer: What is wrong with you? You’re acting insane. You’re posting a bunch of nonsense all over social media, and you’re insulting all these celebrities. Have you lost your mind?

Singer: Not at all. There’s a method to my madness. All publicity is good publicity! The crazier I act the more people notice me, and the more social media followers I get!

More Examples

This quote is from an actor explaining his seemingly strange career choices.

  • “And not let the fact that it may not be the most successful commercial venture at the moment stop you from saying, ‘Do it.’ Because eventually people will get it and say, ‘Oh, there was a method to this guy’s madness.’” –LA Times

The second quote shows a man trying to explain the actions of a professional hockey player. Some people believe that he is acting erratically. The speaker giving the quote believes that the athlete has a plan.

  • “Mark Giordano is a true pro. And we’re going to go into the series not worried about what’s happened before. I don’t think making comments about opposing players … there’s a method to the madness [so] as to try and put something in the officials’ head going into the series. But we’re not focused on that.” –LA Times


The saying a method to one’s madness means that despite acting in a strange way, a person is working towards achieving a reasonable goal, and has a strategy to get there.