William Shakespeare 's Hamlet - Eavesdropping And Spying

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William Shakespeare uses eavesdropping and spying to advance the plot and enlighten the theme of revenge in his renowned play, Hamlet. Eavesdropping and spying can be seen in many instances throughout the drama, but examining two particular cases shows how the trickery progresses the plot and promotes revenge. The first espionage example is Hamlet being spied on by Polonius as Polonius was attempting to discover the source for Hamlet’s madness. Hamlet’s anger resulting from these secretive acts advances the plot and the theme of revenge. The second situation in the play was Polonius listening in on Hamlet’s conversation with Gertrude in her chamber. He was killed as a result of his behavior, but his actions had everlasting effects, propelling the plot forward and promoting the ever-present need for revenge. As a part of Hamlet’s plan for revenge against his father’s killer, he fakes being insane. Busybody Polonius was curious about the source of Hamlet’s madness and if his condition was a result of Hamlet’s love for Ophelia. Polonius tells his daughter “Ophelia, walk you here… we will bestow ourselves” explaining how he and King Claudius will listen to her conversation. Polonius and Claudius hide and Hamlet comes in to talk with Ophelia. Hamlet, although acting crazy, completely understands what is going on and calls Ophelia and the listeners out on their trickery. He says to her “Go thy ways to a / nunnery. Where’s your father?” a comment that both shames her and lets everyone listening know, that he knows he is being watched. Hamlet’s conversation with Ophelia fuels his anger. Hamlet correctly assumes that the King was involved in the spying and Hamlet becomes more driven to avenge his father’s death. Hamlet had... ... middle of paper ... ...n the story has helped to keep the play timeless. The practices of eavesdropping and spying are prevalent in the play and examining two important instances details how the espionage adds to the story. The first example cited is when Claudius and Polonius listen to Hamlet while he is talking with Ophelia and the second is when Polonius is killed by Hamlet while he was eavesdropping on Hamlet and Gertrude. Eavesdropping and spying helps to bring the story back to its main focus in the first case, and it gives the story a whole new direction in the second. Both instances are essential for the storyline of the drama; they both promote and encourage the theme of revenge. William Shakespeare, being such a great literary prodigy, incorporated many different literary devices to convey his message in Hamlet, with one of his most successful being eavesdropping and spying.

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