William Shakespeare, the playwright of both Hamlet and MacBeth, conveys a theme of deceit, revenge and death throughout both plays. Deceit plays a major role in the activities that result in the death of numerous innocent victims as well as the two main characters that are victimized themselves by a series of murders and plots against them that are a direct result of revenge. The guilt and remorse Hamlet and MacBeth fell as a result of these events eventually leads to their own destruction. .
In the beginning of the play Hamlet, the main character's father has been killed. His father's ghost appears to him and tells him that is was his uncle, Claudius, who poisoned him. At this point, he cannot trust any one, not even his own family. It goes even further with the fact that Claudius will be marring his mother, Gertrude. "He cannot be sure whether he can even trust his own mother in the struggle for power that takes place later in the play" (Watt 160). .
Killing for revenge is a theme exhibited throughout this play. "As events continue, the reader comes to realize that by the end of the play the characters of Hamlet, Fortinbras and Laertes have all had their fathers killed, the main reason being revenge" (Campbell 109). The fact that Fortinbras father (the King of Norway) was in fact killed by Hamlet's father before the play even began sets the tone of revenge. The theme of unending revenge killing is introduced by relaying events that took place before the play.
Hamlet and Ophelia's relationship gives other examples of deceit and revenge that eventually result in death. At first, Hamlet cannot trust anyone, so he goes to Ophelia to confide in her. Ophelia is then deceitful to her father Polonius because she is not honest about her relationship with Hamlet. In turn, Polonius is sent to spy on Hamlet's conversation with his mother Gertrude, who becomes frightened by the way Hamlet is acting.