The Theme Of Deceit In Hamlet

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Deception in Hamlet Throughout this play, the reoccurring theme of deception constantly resurfaces, and contributes greatly to the outcome of the play. This deception, which can be seen as both harmful and benign, is closely linked to the actions of the majority of the characters in the play, and is both inflicted onto others and onto oneself. Deception is closely linked with the corruption in the state of Denmark, and revolves around the foul deeds committed by the king. “Something is rotten in the state of Denmark”. No character is spared from this deception, and therefore, it stands as a key theme in the play, “Hamlet”. Behind everything else in this play, there is a constant awareness of the murderous nature of the king. He breached his brotherly trust by killing his brother, and deceived his country by lying about the “rank” deed. “The serpent that did sting thy father’s life now wears his crown”. 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 in itself is a lie to the people around him, who, before being told otherwise, are convinced of his madness. “My uncle-father and aunt-mother are deceived”. Despite being only “mad in craft”, Hamlet’s madness becomes a cover up for his rash actions, and becomes a means for Gertrude to protect her

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