Hamlet Lies and Deceit Essay

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“Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain,” advice that would have served Polonius well. Both L. Frank Baum's Wonderful Wizard of Oz and Shakespeare’s Hamlet had had a common theme, lying and deception. Lies and deceit affect each central character of Shakespeare’s Hamlet as they develop on social, psychological and moral levels. Prince Hamlet, the protagonist, is morally opposed to deception and constantly craves truth. Hamlet's apparent psychological state as the play progresses changes from that of a scholar, to that of a madman, though contradictorily this change is in itself a deceptive act. Polonius, a lord and right hand to the King, is involved in a large amount of lying and deception. Polonius manipulates his children to benefit his social status and relationship with the King and has no moral objections at any time. Commonly a co-conspirator to Polonius' spying plots is the King, Claudius. Claudius, Hamlet's uncle is the most serious offender of lying and deceit. Although he has committed the most heinous acts, Claudius is the only characters who develops a guilty conscious as a result of dis devious actions. As each of the main characters develops on social, moral and psychological levels, lying and deception is an ever present theme and an integral part of the plot. From his very first scene in the play, Prince Hamlet establishes himself as someone who is morally opposed to deception. When Hamlet's uncle and mother urge him to “cast [his] nighted color off,” (Shakespeare 1.2.68) and stop acting and appearing so depressed, he replies that his “inky cloak.../ [and] river in the eye.../ are actions that a man might play” (Shakespeare 1.2.78-84). Hamlet is directly suggesting that his his true feelings cannot be reflected by how he acts or appears, he is also indirectly showing his displeasure with how his parents are more concerned with appearances

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