The Theme Of Deception In Shakespeare

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The theme of deception in Shakespeare’s plays

The typical themes of Shakespeare’s works, especially his plays, often reflect popular moods, problematic occurrences and typical traits of human nature from his time which are relevant even today. One such theme is deception. The idea of deception in Shakespeare’s plays has many different faces. In one instance, it is accidental, as in The Comedy of Errors. In another instance, it is used as defense against greater harm, as in Othello. And of course, let’s not forget the instances when deception takes the form of well-planned tactics in the hands of evil characters, as in Julius Caesar. In comparing any two plays, such as Hamlet and A Midsummer Night’s Dream for example, one can easily list many dualities– tragedy and comedy, an unhappy and happy ending and seriousness and mockery. But when it comes to similarities, the repeating patterns of deceit should be the first to come to one’s mind. A short essay cannot investigate all instances of this occurrence in all works of the author, but could provide the reader with the major categories. This way, deception will become more recognizable and appreciated as a major element and a spine of the particular story.
In two of the most famous Shakespeare’s plays where deception appears as a building block of the story are Hamlet and Othello. In Hamlet the prince uses deception as a tool to distract attention and hide better his strange but vital moves and activities necessary to gather enough information regarding Claudius. The deception comes in the form of fake madness. There is aim, there is purpose. Deception appears like a tool and is part of the overall strategy of the deceiver. Furthermore, deception can be found in the staging of The Murder of Gonzago which is Hamlet’s attempt to catch out Claudius in his guilt. What is curious for this particular play is that in
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