The Failure Of Deception In William Shakespeare's Hamlet

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As Leonardo Da Vinci says, “The greatest deception men suffer is from their own opinions.” William Shakespeare’s Hamlet depicts the tactic of deception as a tool that the characters use to mislead others of their true intentions. In the play Hamlet, the deceptive actions of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, Laertes, and Hamlet are the fatal flaws that lead to their demise. Firstly, the characters of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern deceive Hamlet by using their friendship to spy on him. King Claudius and Queen Gertrude ask them to discover the trigger that is provoking Hamlet’s insanity. Their decision to obey the request of the King and Queen destroys their relationship with Hamlet. Hamlet says, “You were sent for, and there is a kind of confession …show more content…
I know the good king and queen have sent for you” (Shakespeare, Act II, Scene ii, Line 300-304). Evidently, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are unable to deceive Hamlet. Hamlet recognizes their guilt and associates their honesty with their inability to disguise their intentions. Thus, Hamlet realizes that Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are unreliable and dishonest. As the play progresses, the King decides to send Hamlet to England as part of his plan to kill him. He chooses Rosencrantz and Guildenstern to join Hamlet on his journey. However, Hamlet’s newfound lack of trust in Rosencrantz and Guildenstern compel him to check their stuff before he leaves. He discovers a letter from King Claudius asking the King of England to assassinate him upon arrival. Hamlet says to Horatio, “An earnest conjuration from the King, As England was faithful tributary, As love between them like the palm might flourish, As peace should stiff her wheaten garland wear And stand a comma ‘tween their amities, And many suchlike axes of great charge, That, on the view and knowing of these contents, Without debasement further, more or less, He should the bearers put to sudden death, Not shriving-time allowed” (V, ii,43-52). Hamlet chooses to seek revenge on Rosencrantz and …show more content…
Hamlet believes that by behaving in an insane manner, he is successfully disguising his suspicious actions. Hamlet says to Horatio, “Here, as before, never, so help you mercy, How strange or odd soe’er I bear myself, As I, perchance, hereafter shall think meet To put an antic disposition on, That you, at such times seeing me, never shall, With arms encumber’d thus, or this head-shake” (I, v, 189-194). Hamlet forces Horatio to swear that he will never tell anyone about his plan to act crazy. Hamlet uses the human body as imagery to emphasize that Horatio must be able to deceive others with his gestures and expressions. While Hamlet is executing his plan, his deranged behaviour makes Claudius want to kill him. Thus, both Hamlet and Claudius plan on killing each other. Finally, Hamlet gets a perfect opportunity to kill Claudius but he begins self-deceiving his own idea. Hamlet states, “Now might I do it pat, now he is a-praying, And now I’ll do ’t. And so he goes to heaven, And so am I revenged. That would be scanned: A villain kills my father, and for that, I, his sole son, do this same villain send To heaven. Why, this is hire and salary, not revenge” (III, iii, 77-84). Hamlet knows that killing Claudius while he is praying is not true revenge, as Claudius will go to heaven instead of hell. Hamlet uses money imagery through the words of hire and salary to represent that he is doing Claudius a favour if he

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