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Betrayal in Hamlet

            The ultimate act of selfishness is betraying family and friends. In Hamlet by William Shakespeare, several acts of betrayal occur to shape the plot. These include Claudius betraying the king, Hamlet leaving Ophelia, and Claudius attempting to kill Hamlet. The plot of the story revolves around the original conflict, which was the king's murder. The significant act of betrayal during the play is performed by Claudius, who murders the king, his brother. Shortly after the king's death, Claudius proceeds to marry the widowed queen, Gertrude. She also played a part in betraying the king by marrying his brother, but Shakespeare hints to the reader that she may have been unfaithful to the king. When Hamlet meets the ghost, the ghost says, "Ay, that incestuous, that adulterate beast, With witchcraft of his wit, with traitorous gifts,- O wicked wit and gifts, that have the power. So to seduce!-won to his shameful lust the will of my most seeming-virtuous queen: O Hamlet, what a falling-off was there! From me, whose love was of that dignity that it went hand in hand even with the vow I made to her in marriage, and to decline upon a wretch whose natural gifts were poor to those of mine! But virtue, as it never will be moved, though lewdness court it in a shape of heaven, so lust, though to a radiant angel link'd, will sate itself in a celestial bed, and prey on garbage," (I, IV, IX). To the public's knowledge, the newlywed couple seems content and in control, but on the inside both the king and queen are suffering from severe guilt. Gertrude realizes she has not waited long enough to mourn her husband's death, while Claudius feels utterly distraught about murdering his own brother. These actions threw Hamlet into a state of insanity, seemingly resulting in an emotionally unstable state. Hamlet uses this to deceive his family members and friends in order to cause them harm for their actions.

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