Shakespeare's Hamlet is a complex play full of dishonesty and deception. In general, one must always be wary of the truth because quite often it is manipulated to serve the needs of any person who requires the truth to be on their side. The only way to discern the truth from the fabrication is by way of a deceptive act, because when an act of deception is committed, it exposes both itself and the truth to be two very different things.
Dishonesty is the key factor surrounding the deaths of many of the characters in Hamlet, the prime act of deception being that between Claudius and his nephew and also stepson Hamlet. Claudius murders his own brother; Hamlet's father Old King Hamlet, by drizzling poison into his ear. The King's death is announced to have been by snakebite, and Claudius then marries Queen Gertrude (Hamlet's mother), and subsequently becomes the new King of Denmark. Claudius is deceiving Hamlet into believing that the King was killed by snakebite, and he is deceiving Hamlet into believing that he only wants what is best for Denmark. At the same time, Claudius is deceiving his own brother by murdering him, and he is also deceiving Gertrude by making her believe that he loves her and is not just marrying her for the title.
When the ghost of Old Hamlet appears with the purpose of revealing the truth regarding his death, Hamlet decides to put on an antic disposition (a cloak of madness), and pretends that he has fallen insane. Hamlet is therefore deceiving everyone into believing an act that he has fabricated in order to learn the truth. This new side of Hamlet prompts suspicion and curiosity throughout the Danish empire, and many acts of deception consequently develop to understand the core of Hamlet's madness.
Claudius and Gertrude send away for two of Hamlet's friends, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern. The plan is for them to deceive Hamlet into believing they have arr... Continue Reading