Deception Essay

2490 words - 10 pages

Deception can be destructive or non-threatening. It can be practiced on others or, just as likely, self-inflicted. Without deception, there would be no plot in William Shakespeare's tragedy, "Hamlet". This play centers on a young Danish prince, Hamlet, and his quest to avenge his father's murder. Hamlet's father's death ultimately fuels the consequential multiple deaths that follow. Claudius, who is the new king, lies to the entire kingdom about how King Hamlet died. Thus the destructiveness of deception ensues. In Shakespeare's Hamlet, Claudius, Laertes and Hamlet disrupt the previously established peace in the Kingdom of Denmark through their deceptive acts, which led to their untimely deaths.One would think that blood ties would secure one from any deceitful acts. However in the case of Claudius, who was King Hamlet's brother, this did not hold true. Claudius causes genuine chaos in the Kingdom of Denmark by killing King Hamlet. "[O]ne may smile, and smile, and be a villain!"(Shakespeare, I.ii. 115). Hamlet furiously declares this insight after discovering that his twofaced uncle, Claudius, killed his father. After murdering his brother, Claudius assumes the role of king in a spectacular fashion. As he says himself, he had to convince the nobles of the court to accept his strangely timed and probably sinful marriage to Gertrude, all "discretion fought with nature" and talking about his "wisest sorrow" (Shakespeare, I.ii.5). In other words, he really didn't want to marry Gertrude, but the kingdom needed him to. Claudius deceives and misleads his way through the play. Claudius first arrives as the newly crowned King of Denmark. He expresses to the Royal Court his contradictory feelings of grief and joy; grief over his brother's recent death and joy arising from his recent marriage to Queen Gertrude. Claudius says"Have we- as 'twere with a defeated joy,With an auspicious and a dropping eye,With mirth in funeral and with dirge in marriage,In equal scale weighing delight and dole-Taken to wife"(Shakespeare, I.ii.10)From careful attention to details, such as Hamlet's line, "A little more than kin, and less than kind"(Shakespeare, I.ii.68), one could conclude that Claudius killed his brother to gain the throne, the Queen, or both. At the beginning of the play Claudius stated King Hamlet died due to a snake bit. However, the ghost of the late King Hamlet informs Hamlet, and the audience, about the true cause of the king's death. The ghost of Hamlet's father appears to him on the ramparts of the castle, revealing that he has been most foully murdered. The apparition states that, "The serpent that did sting thy father's life, Now wears his crown"(Shakespeare. I.v.46). Hamlet is not shocked by this revelation. On the contrary, he exclaims, "O my prophetic soul! My uncle!" (Shakespeare.I.v.48). He listens in horror as the ghost recounts the details of Claudius' hideous crime, explaining how he crept into King Hamlet's orchard. Then while he slept,...

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