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The Deceit of Hamlet

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The Deceit of Hamlet

Deceit is often used in politics and everyday life to acquire power and success. The theme of deceit is often repeated in Shakespeare’s Hamlet. Hamlet’s hesitation in killing Claudius, and Hamlet’s eventual death are a direct result of deceit in the court. Hamlet tries to deceive everyone into thinking that he is crazy. He believes that with this "antic disposition" he can kill Claudius without any consequences, and avenge his father’s death. When Cladius and Polonius hear of Hamlet’s madness, they decide to find out the reason behind it. They spy on Hamlet to figure out why he is acting this way. Through this Cladius learns that Hamlet is dangerous, and a threat to him. Hamlet’s trickery also leads to the death of Ophelia and her father Polonius. As well as triggering Laertes to seek revenge on Hamlet for causing the death of his family. After several attempts to kill Hamlet fail, Claudius teams up with Laertes and tries to murder Hamlet once and for all. Each of these plans directly or indirectly cause Hamlet’s death.
After Hamlet talks to the ghost of his father, he finds out that Claudius killed him to gain the throne of Denmark. Hamlet has to get revenge by killing Claudius. To do this, he must act insane to draw away suspicion from himself. Hamlet says to Hortaio "How strange or odd some’er I bear myslef as I perchanse hereafter shall think meet to put an antic dispostion on,"(I;v;170-172), this indicates that from this moment Hamlet will act insane. He believes this way he will be able to kill the king and get away with it. Polonius becomes aware of Hamlet’s madness and wants to uncover the reason behind it. He says "Mad let us grant him then, and now remains, that we find out the cause of this defect, for this effect defective comes by cause."(II;ii;100-103). Claudius and Polonius spy on Hamlet and Ophelia as they talk. After hearing their conversation Claudius says "And I do doubt the hatch and the disclose will be some danger; which for to prevent, I have in quick determination thus set it down: he shall with speed to England"(III;i;163-166). This means that Claudius is starting to believe Hamlet is dangerous and wants to send him to England. From this point Claudius is very suspicious of Hamlet, he suspects that Hamlet is plotting against him, he says, "Madness in great ones must not unwatched go.
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