Deception In Hamlet

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Shakespeare had to make recourse to a wholly artificial device in order to show Hamlet in action, or inaction – the soliloquy. Another strain that goes through Hamlet, and a disturbing one, is the abuse by Hamlet of his former beloved and his mother, Ophelia and Gertrude. In his scenes with Ophelia, Hamlet is relentlessly cruel, charging her with a lustful nature, a dishonest heart, a dissembling appearance, and so on. He builds up, in scene three, to an utterly misogynistic rant, beginning, “I have heard of your paintings well enough.” Men in the English Renaissance were obsessed with women’s make-up, which they took to be a symbol of feminine wiles, excuses, manipulations, artifices, and hypocrisies. Shakespeare, especially, has a long rhetorical history with this line of vitriol; it shows up in many of his plays and features strongly in his Sonnets. Readers have long sympathized deeply with Ophelia’s position in the play; as far back as 1765, Samuel Johnson wrote, “[Hamlet] plays the madman most, when he treats Ophelia with so much rudeness, which seems to be useless and wanton cruelty.” draw attention the artifice of the play. Through meta-theatre the audience are presented with the fact that they are watching a production, actors acting and quite often there is are explicit reference made to the literary artifice within the production. Meta-theatrical devises also include plays within a play, such as the Mousetrap in Hamlet, or the Mechanical’s In the play "The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark," William Shakespeare has used the theme of deception, and how its use by one or more characters leads to their downfall. Polonius explicitly stated this theme when he said to Laertes in I, ii, "By indirections find directions out." Each major character in Hamlet, in his or her own way, provided an example of this theme. By using deceit the characters in

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