Hamlet is a tragedy play based in Denmark that revolves around Claudius and Prince Hamlet. It explores the revengeful missions of the latter aimed at avenging the death of his father by the help of other characters. While the plot is filled with different twists, it is mainly centered on the use of deceptive tactics to unearth the truth as well as evade suspicion among the perpetrators. Hamlet’s egoistic nature enables him to commit numerous acts of grandeur although this perception becomes his weakness since it results in the commitment of many blunders. The play is laden with the quest to seek heroism by different characters although Prince Hamlet becomes the victim of deceptive tactics by others. Carefully interwoven lies dot the play thereby exposing the fissures between the characters as well as illustrating their flaws towards an epic finale resulting in the deaths of some traits.

Hamlet feigns madness in a bid to limit suspicions, but a few mistakes reveal his true intentions. He confides in Horatio about this evil plan and even acts crazily in public thereby diverting attention to his mental health (Toshack 28). Many people become concerned about his antics while others dismiss him outrightly because they do not consider him a threat anymore. Such an approach is beneficial to him because it would provide him the cover he needs to undertake his heinous plan. In pretending to be mad, it makes other people especially Claudius aloof thus enhancing hamlet’s chances of conducting undercover investigations. It provides him with the mobility and flexibility to make insinuations about the death of his father in a bid to gauge the reactions of the latter hence enhancing his investigative skills.

Usage of false identities is applied in many instances although the murderous plots are thwarted by quick interventions resulting from instinctive reflex reactions. Upon sending Hamlet to England while concealing his death warrant, Guildenstern and Rosencrantz are tricked by Hamlet into handing over the sealed decree. Once he has perused it, he changes the name to those of his friends while maintaining anonymity thus facilitating their deaths knowingly. His timely intervention manages to save his life while ensuring the death of his enemies and that jolts him into remaining vigilant throughout the play. He realizes that anyone can be a killer regardless his/her closeness to him.

A reenactment of the death of hamlet’s father through the mousetrap play is done in a well-choreographed play before the king and members of the public thus stirring debate and ultimate capture of his killer. Hamlet decides to use this clever tactic to guilt trip Claudius while offering evidence to the people about the crime (Hirsh 33). Such an approach leads to the quick exit of the king upon witnessing the gruesome yet truthful scene hence becoming a cue for Hamlet to avenge the death. The use of this deceptive method is meant to exert pressure on the king while providing Hamlet the opportunity to develop self-control as well as broaden his speculative skills. It also enables him to hide his emotions behind a fictional play thus teasing the leakage of the truth.

Hamlet’s deceit to Ophelia about his real murderous intentions serves to cloud her judgment while limiting the number of witnesses for maximum effect. He relies on her unconditional love for him while evading revealing his motives to her because he acknowledges her obedience to the king. Whereas he could have slipped and informed her of the plan, he is forced to lie that he loves her while secretly exploiting Ophelia’s closeness to the throne to gain insider information. In this way, he is able to be cunning by balancing the need to signify the continuity of their relationship and a meticulous attachment to the accomplishment of the deadly mission. He exploits this proximity to power to ward of suspicion and make appropriate changes to his plans to suit the prevailing circumstances.

The deception of Gertrude by Hamlet is geared towards forcing her to conform to his plans although it only fuels further divisions. Upon meeting in the closet, Hamlet fakes the rage he exhibits in a bid to frighten his mother into abandoning Claudius. While he has no intention to harm her, he is poised to frighten her but she manages to retain her composure. Maintenance of resentment albeit fake is vital in evaluating his negotiation skills with the characters and that aids in the creating of a compelling narrative to convince as many people as possible about the king’s complicity in the murder. It is a learning experience designed to test the temperaments of other people as well as seek to know their breaking points so that he can use them to his advantage.

Self-deception also plays a significant role in the play although it mellows Hamlet as well. He postpones the death of Claudia several times by giving himself excuses. For instance, he abandons the plan due to the victim being in prayer since he reasons that such an action would lead him straight into heaven. It is a habit that he forms which results in second-guessing his plans thereby delaying the crime for a while longer (Bloom 21). Whereas it could be viewed as cowardice, this act helps to seek justification for the murder even among the people and aids in unraveling the deceptions of other characters.

The seesaw relationship Hamlet has with Ophelia aims at creating series of lies on which to fuel her death thereby reducing the number of enemies within the court. Hamlet cheats her that he does not love her, and probably never had. He does so in a bid to drive a wedge between them. Such a rift is hurtful to the hapless romantic Ophelia thus she commits suicide. This lie suits Prince Hamlet because, as the daughter of the King, Ophelia is a threat to his ascension to the throne of the king’s death. Eliminating her even through depression-related means is a good way of accomplishing that as it also increases the level of torment for the royal family. The suffering inflicted on self and the people that love her drives hamlet’s desire for redemption against the king and helps to build the revenge narrative that is central to the plot’s theme.

Having double standards about his commitment or loathe to deceit is troublesome for Hamlet while also advancing his agenda in a subtle manner. While the play begins with hi furiously abhorring deception, he becomes one of the perpetrators of this vice throughout the play as a means of acquiring information, exposing the secrets of horrible actions of others and receiving accolades for his heroism (Whitney and Packer 53). His tricky demeanor and clever machinations of various situations reveal his cunning nature, which increases the level of self –evaluation within the play. It is thus evident that even his death is caused by this double personality especially after his initial boasts about his integrity.

Rosencrantz and Gildernstern are integrated into the king’s murderous plot thereby faking their friendship with Hamlet although it comes to haunt them later on. They coat their evil plans behind the bond their share since childhood and use this attachment to plan the fall of Hamlet. Such deceptions serve to improve their standing with Claudius but dent their relationship with the prince thereby resulting in their unlikely deaths. In exposing their intentions and eliminating them, Hamlet learns to be distrustful of others and avoiding confiding in many people since such actions are bound to scuttle the process.

Gertrude pretends to be noble yet she unwittingly deceives herself leading to her death. She believes the innocence of the king despite the revelations to the contrary hence her consent reprimand of Hamlet. According to her, the death of her former husband was an accident and the current accusations are figments of imagination yet she too becomes a victim of this plot. The delusions she immersed herself in increase her vulnerability while emboldening Hamlet to pursue his secret murder plan (Toshack 70). In fact, these lies drive the latter into overdrive hence forcing him to hasten the plot to prove the veracity of his claims to his mother as well as other people. It facilitates the adoption and implementation of clearer techniques meant to expose Claudius while as a testament of his guilt. Hamlet understands that Gertrude is trapped in a bubble hence her nonchalance. It thus makes him more determined to proof the authenticity of his claims.

Ophelia agrees to spy on Hamlet after instructions from her father, Polonius yet this undertaking becomes her downfall. She is roped to investigate the sudden change in personality in Hamlet as well as attempt to extract information from him. By pretending to be loving and dutiful, she masks her intentions during her interactions with him but he eventually suspects her clandestine actions and drives her into depression. Hamlet’s detection of this plot saves his life because he refuses to be drawn into her scheme thereby avoiding being entrapped. His relationship with her is thus a source of motivation to collapse the royal’s plans while preparing him to face his detractors without fear of favor.

She also hides her carnal pleasures that are likened to a prostitute behind a veil of faithfulness and good manners although she soon exposes her fatal flaws. Living a lie is quite challenging, and while she attempts to maintain a clean image, her secret love interests come to the fore thus enhancing Hamlet’s hatred of her. It even angers him so much that he makes the decision to torment her as a warning to other conspirators. By understanding the rationale for her actions as her loyalty to Polonius, he is able to unleash suffering upon her to distract his adversaries and accomplish his ultimate goal. Her insanity later on serves to prove that she is lascivious hence the need for her elimination before she could inflict further damage or derail his plans.

In the above instances, Hamlet becomes aware of his frailty in detecting some of the deceptions hence lowering his verbosity and pride. In the beginning, he considers himself intellectually superior as well as flawless hence entitled to slay the king and ascend to the throne. It is amusing that for a person with such lofty perceptions of himself, he fails to detect some of the lies being peddled. It is a testament to the imperfect nature of humanity as it shows that he too could commit mistakes just like anybody else. In fact, such scenarios are traumatizing to him because he would like to be revered as one of the greatest warriors but it becomes apparent that such accolades are earned (Shakespeare and Cantor 68). While these instances provide him with the impetus to accomplish his mission, they also act as reminders of his normal nature rather than consider himself special. He, therefore, becomes more sensitive to the surroundings because it is clear that the mishaps being hatched by his enemies have the potential of succeeding, hence the need to maintain a low profile. Upon realization of the shortcomings, he develops a consultative approach to decision making, marked by his confiding in Horatio. It also marks his integration of deceit in the dealings with various characters as a way of causing divisions among them thereby limiting their chances of success. It also fosters a confrontational attitude that serves to scare competitors hence allowing him to exert influence over others. Such bravado and courage aid him in the killing of Claudius because he manages to attack the latter in public without the fear of reprisals. Such a spectacle was unthinkable but is possible due to the transition that Hamlet makes towards avenging his father’s death, as revealed by the Ghost.


Works Cited:

Bloom, Harold. William Shakespeare’s Hamlet. New York: Bloom’s Literary Criticism, 2009. Print.

Hirsh, James E. Shakespeare, and the History of Soliloquies. Madison, N.J: Fairleigh Dickinson University Press, 2003. Print.

Shakespeare, William, and Paul A. Cantor. Hamlet. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2004. Print.

Toshack, Howard. Hamlet: A Study Commentary. WordSmith at LitWorks.com, 2003. Print.

Whitney, John O, and Tina Packer. Power Plays: Shakespeare’s Lessons in Leadership and Management. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2000. Print.

Ziolkowski, Theodore. Hesitant Heroes: Private Inhibition, Cultural Crisis. Ithaca, N.Y: Cornell University Press, 2004. Print.










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