Hamlet Spying Analysis

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In William Shakespeare’s “Hamlet” there are many themes and motifs that are used such as suicide, murder, poison, betrayal, revenge, and spying. The motif of spying is utilized by William Shakespeare to display the uncertainty amongst characters and within the kingdom. SPying also leads to distrust amongst characters andalso reveals how characters such as Polonius turn to spying as a solution freguqently. When spying is seen in Hamlet typically the character who is using spying to their advantage is usually uncertain, scared, or trying to protect themselves. Spying appears very early in the play and starts to happen less and less as the play progresses. The first encounter of spying happens when Horatio says “tis but our fantasy And will …show more content…
Claudius begins using spying to his advantage early on when he calls for Guildenstern and Rosencrantz to come find the source of Hamlet’s madness. Claudius asks Guildenstern and Rosencrantz “To draw him on to pleasures and to gather, So much as from occasion you may glean, Whether aught, to us unknown, afflicts him thus That, opened, lies within our remedy.(2.2.15-19)”. This example of spying shows how the King is uncertain of what is causing Hamlet’s madness and how he is concerned that Hamlet knows something he shouldn’t. At this point in the Play Claudius wants to know why Hamlet is still upset over his father 's death or if he is mad for other reasons. The King assumed that Hamlet would not suspect anything out of the ordinary when Guildenstern and Rosencrantz came to visit out of the blue, however, Hamlet was almost instantly suspicious. As Claudius continues to become more and more uncertain of the source of Hamlet’s madness Polonius turns to spying as an answer again. Polonius told the King of an incident that occurred between Hamlet and Ophelia where Hamlet seemed mad at Ophelia. The King was very surprised by this and did not know what to do, Polonius suggested that “At such a time I’ll loose my daughter to him. (to CLAUDIUS) Be you and I behind an arras then, Mark the encounter. If he love her not”(2.2.176-178). Polonius was convinced that the source of Hamlet’s madness was that Ophelia had rejected him, however the King wanted to be sure of this. To be sure of this the King and Polonius set Hamlet up so they could observe his actions towards Ophelia and decide whether or not she is the source of his madness. The significance of this spying incident was that it showed how Polonius tends to turn to spying as an answer and it also showed how desperate the King is for answers regarding the behavior of Hamlet. Another example of spying that comes from the king is “I like him

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