Deceit, misleading information, and spying on others can lead to their demise, intentionally or accidentally. The misleading and deceitful instances in the play are indirectly responsible for Hamlets’ death. Claudius misleads Hamlet when he shipped him off to England under the guise of a restful retreat and when he realizes that the new king has lied to not only him, but the people of Denmark about the death of the former king. Hamlets’ deceit comes from his mother, believing that she has betrayed his father’s love by not mourning for long enough after his death, and by marrying Claudius. Spying also causes problems for Hamlet down the line since it leads to the killing of Polonius, and the deaths of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern.
Misleading instances in the play occur frequently.The moment when the Ghost tells Hamlet that his death was not accidental and that he was poisoned by Claudius is what starts the trail of lies and murder in the play, ( I;v;74-77 ) “Thus I was sleeping by a brother’s hand…/…/ cut off even in the blossoms of my sin, unhouseled, disappointed, unaveled.” Until the night of the “Mouse trap”, Hamlet still has some doubt in his mind about the Ghosts words. As soon as the king reacts negatively to the plot, Hamlet is one hundred percent sure that Clauduis was deceiving the whole country about Old Hamlet’s death; (III ;ii ;267) “O good Horatio, I’ll take the ghost’s words for a thousand pound. Didst perceive?” Hamlet witnesses the king storming out of the play, showing he was affected by the death of the player king, seeing as how the he died the same way as his brother. It is also apparent that Hamlet is out to mislead the general public by putting on a false face. His “antic disposition” allowes him to act without consequence. He is able to appear mad when it is convenient for him, and this allowes him not to raise any suspicion about his actions, ( I; v; 171-172 ) “As I perchase hereafter shall think meet to put on an antic disposition on.”
After the killing of Polonius, his antic disposition allows Hamlet not to be held responsible. This leads to him being sent away to England under the guise of a trip for rest. Claudius once again deceives Hamlet and his mother by having an alternate agenda.
Free Hamlet Essays: Deceit and the Downfall of Hamlet
Deceit and the Downfall of Hamlet
Deceit is a major cause of the downfall of Hamlet. This is demonstrated in three instances in the play. First, Polonius spies on Hamlet while he is talking privately with his mother Gertrude. Second, Claudius sends Hamlet away to England. Finally, Laertes and Claudius scheme to kill Hamlet.
The first way that deceit leads to the eventual downfall of Hamlet is Polonius’ spying. In Act III, scene iii, Polonius decides to help the king by spying on Hamlet and his mother when he says, “My lord, [the king] he’s going to his mothers closet. Behind the arras I’ll convey myself to hear the process.” (III; iii; 28 – 29) In Act III, scene iv, Polonius gets his chance and listens to a conversation between Hamlet and his mother, hoping that Hamlet would confide something in his mother that could be used against him. Unfortunately for Polonius, Hamlet hears him behind the curtain, and (thinking that Polonius is actually a spying King Claudius) immediately stabs and kills him. This event contributes to Hamlet’s downfall because Claudius is able to use it as an excuse to send Hamlet away to England. Officially, the king sends Hamlet away, “for thine especial safety,” (IV; iii; 37) with Rosencrantz and Guildenstern because the murder might earn him some enemies. Privately though, Claudius plans to have Rosencrantz and Guildenstern go with Hamlet to convey a message to the King of England that Hamlet is to be executed. In addition, by sending Hamlet away, Claudius is protecting himself because Hamlet is, “loved of the distracted multitude [the public].” (IV; iii; 4) So, if Hamlet were to show the people that Claudius had killed Hamlet’s father, then they might believe him, and as a result, overthrow and kill Claudius. Thus, the downfall is that Claudius wants Hamlet dead. In addition, if Claudius’ plan works, then Hamlet dies and his father’s death would not be avenged. So, if Polonius had not spied on Hamlet and Gertrude, Hamlet would not have killed Polonius and thus, Claudius would not have a good enough excuse to send Hamlet away to England.
Fortunately for Hamlet, Claudius’ deceit fails. This deceit, however, still does contribute to the eventual downfall of Hamlet. Aboard the ship to England, Hamlet discovers Claudius’ message being sent by Rosencrantz and Guildenstern. Hamlet explains later, “Groped I to find out them, [Rosencrantz and Guildenstern] had my desire, fingered their packet, and in fine withdrew.