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Theme Of Betrayal In Hamlet Essay

Anger, disappointment, and disbelief are often reactions an individual encounters after confronting betrayal. In fact, it is an unwanted experience due to its reputation of dissolving relationships. In history, fine literature has provided us with novels and plays that reveal betrayal as the basis and central theme of the story. The fact is, it can emerge from acts of revenge and even through pure selfishness. Furthermore, betrayal is a recurring topic in the tragic play, Hamlet, written by William Shakespeare. Many characters deceive one another as well as deny their own feelings, causing the betrayal of their emotions. The universal notion of betrayal is exemplified through Shakespeares portrayal of dishonesty in his characters. They demonstrate…

Tragically, the state of Denmark is lead falsely to believe that a poisonous snake was the cause of his death. In reality, the king’s death was a murder committed by his brother-and-current-king, Claudius. During the course of the play, Claudius claims in his soliloquy, “I am still possessed / Of those effects for which I did the murder: / My crown, mine own ambition, and my queen. May one be pardoned and retain th’ offense?” (III, iii, 57-60). He recognizes his fault through repentance, but his ambition undermines his ability to abandon the throne. Being the king’s brother, Claudius’s coronation is a natural duty. It opposes the grief and relieves the mourning of the people of Denmark. In actuality, his ambition for power causes him to betray his loyalty towards his brother. Even though he deceives his subjects by compelling them to place their trust in his kingship, his duplicity does not go unseen for long. The first person to see through his deceit is prince Hamlet, when an apparition of the king Hamlet, prince Hamlet’s father, tells him, “Tis given out that, sleeping in my orchard, / A serpent stung me. So the whole ear of Denmark / Is by a forged process of my death / Rankly abused. But know, thou noble youth, / The serpent that did sting thy father’s life / Now wears his crown” (I, v, 42-47). The appearance of the ghost itself shows the unnatural nature of Claudius’s murder and symbolizes…

The King and Queen summons them in hopes of quelling Hamlet’s “madness.” Since they were childhood friends, it may have seen like a simple task, but Hamlet sees right through them. He questions their loyalty when he says to them, “how unworthy a thing / you make of me! You would play upon me, you / would seem to know my stops, you would pluck / out the heart of my mystery … Do you think I am easier to be played on than a pipe? / Call me what instrument you will, you fret me, you cannot play upon me” (III, ii, 393-396, 400-403). From what seemed like a genuinely happy reunion at first, Hamlet soon grows sceptical, recognizing that R&G are merely pawns of King Claudius. In partial denial, Hamlet is in a state of disbelief that his friends would try to manipulate him under the orders of the king. In fact, this seems undeniable, as they have said to the king, “[W]e both obey, / And here give up ourselves in the full bent / To lay our service freely at your feet, / To be commanded. (II, ii, 31-34). While appearing to make a point of curing Hamlet of his madness, they are really only tring to justift themselves in faithfully carrying out the king’s orders. In truth, their attempt to cure Hamlet’s madness was only an effort to please the king. They were sycophants wanting Claudius’s praise – just like Polonius, the chief counsellor. Pathetically, they are taken advantage of…

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