a central motif in the play is trickery or deceit, whether for good or evil purposes. counterfeiting, or concealing one's true feelings, is part of this motif. everyone seems to lie; good characters as well as evil ones engage in deceit as they attempt to conceal their feelings: beatrice and benedick mask their feelings for one another with bitter insults; don john spies on claudio and hero; don pedro and his 'crew' deceive benedick and beatrice. who hides and what is hidden? how does deceit function in the world of the play, and how does it help the play comment on life in general?
The murder was driven by lust for the queen and also a desire for power, two factors which remain with the king until the final moments in the play. “Mine crown, mine own ambition and my queen. Can one be pardon’d and retain the offence?” Claudius’ deceiving nature is central to the plot of the play, and is the catalyst for the betrayal of many other characters, such as Polonius, Hamlet and Laertes. Hamlet himself is not immune to corruption, and he himself deceives those around him in his actions and in his words. Following the revelation from the Ghost, Hamlet assumes an “antic disposition”, in order to distract those surrounding him from his suspicious behaviour.
This is where manipulation comes into the equation. He manipulates others to help with his actions because if he is caught he can just pass on the blame to them and continue to follow his plan to gain the throne. An example of his manipulation is when Richard manipulates Lady Anne into marriage after telling her that he had just killed her husband. The ‘wooing’ of Lady Anne is important as it links back to the fact that it is apart of his ‘big plan’. Secondly, Shakespeare creates the theme of deception through the uses of Richard’s dramatic irony.
The ghost tells Hamlet that he was killed by Hamlets uncle: “Ay, that incestous, that aldulterate beast, with witchcraft of his wit, with traitorous gifts.” (I.V.43-80). This causes Hamlet to investigate Claudius, trying to find guilt in his face, as well as leading to his hatred towards Claudius. Another betrayal is one that most people would never expects. Hamlets two best friends who he has known since childhood betray him. Rosencrantz and Guildenstern become spies for Claudius telling him about Hamlet while pretending to be his friends after being offered payment: “ If it please you to show us so much gentry and good will, as to expend your time with us a while for the supply and profit of our hope.”(II.II.19-25).
When inquiring how he could do this Don John describes what he wants as ‘the death of this marriage’ and in reply Borachio, his accomplice, says they will ‘misuse the Prince’, ‘vex Claudio’, ‘undo Hero’ and ‘kill Leonato.’ Although their words are not literal and they’re not really going to ‘kill’ Leonato, using words such as ‘death’ give very negative connotations and make the character sound like the villain he is. When Don Pedro plots to trick Benedick and Beatrice to fall in love with each other he tells Hero that ‘I will teach you how to humour your cousin that she fall in love with Benedick’. Don Pedro uses the word ‘humour’ and in doing so makes his deceptions sound more light-hearted and harmless.
Hamlet, Prince of Denmark Act IV Notes In scene I Gertrude betrays Hamlet by immediately reporting to Claudius after meeting him. She tells Claudius of Hamlet’s murdering of Polonius’ and Hamlet’s behaviour. She does show some loyalty by concealing Hamlet’s confession of his feigned madness. Her immediate report to the king shows that she has allied herself to the king. It is her report to Claudius that seals his decision to have Hamlet executed.
He felt as if his mother had betrayed him and his dead father. His motivation was to act insane to take revenge on his uncle but he lost control of himself. He wanted his uncle to confess to killing his father so he wrote a play that explain how the murder took place and wanted to see how his uncle reacted to the play. If he showed any type of guiltiness then he knew for sure that the ghost was not dishonest
But he does. While Hamlet slowly is driven mad by visits from the ghost of his father and the scheming plots of his uncle Claudius, the one thing that actually keeps Hamlet focused and centered are his feelings for Ophelia. Hamlet’s seemingly unreasonable actions and questionable motives toward her are all part of a ruse to fool everybody at court and actually protect her from being used as leverage by the murderous King Claudius. There are several moments where Hamlet professes his love for Ophelia in moments where he didn’t have to, which in my opinion point to where his heart really lies. Let’s explore the moments within the text where Hamlet actually used his smarts to trick the other conniving characters into thinking that he didn’t love Ophelia and was going insane instead.
Hamlet in his first soliloquy demonstrates his disgust that his mother has allied herself in love and in politics with her late husband’s brother, so soon after his death, “frailty, thy name is woman... to post with such dexterity to incestuous sheets”. Claudius is clearly established as the villain in Hamlet, murdering his own brother and then plotting to kill Hamlet. He lies and is deceitful toying with the notion that the appearance of things is not their reality. The audience is privy to the ‘reality’ of Claudius ‘deed’, and of his guilt, through an aside, climactically stating, “then is my deed to my most painted word. O heavy burden!”.
This makes her questions the sanity of Hamlet throughout the play: "It's worth examining Hamlet's condition and asking whether the apparition is truly there or not"(1). At the beginning it was obvious that Hamlet was pretending to be mad, for example, n Act 3 he was aware of Claudius and Polonius existence and the fact that Ophelia was sent by them to trap him, they use her as a bait to spy on him, that's why he pretends madness, he acts in a weird way as he makes strange expressions and contradictory statements, he acts in a strange way because he knows that he is being watched by Polonius and Claudius. He used clever words in this scene ,his remarks are clearly coming out of the mouth of an intelligent man, "Even so far , Hamlet is not truly insane"(2). She adds that what makes us more convinced of Hamlet's sanity is his plan to perform a play in front of the king; he named the play mouse trap, furthermore "His plan works, and Claudius raises from his seat before the play is over". The play Hamlet's prepare was exactly what has happened between his father and his uncle; this was intentional by him to watch the reaction of the