Essay by JayZEE July 2014

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Deception can be destructive or non-threatening. It can be practiced on others or, just as likely, self-inflicted. Without deception, there would be no plot in William Shakespeare's tragedy, "Hamlet". This play centers on a young Danish prince, Hamlet, and his quest to avenge his father's murder. Hamlet's father's death ultimately fuels the consequential multiple deaths that follow. Claudius, who is the new king, lies to the entire kingdom about how King Hamlet died. Thus the destructiveness of deception ensues. In Shakespeare's Hamlet, Claudius, Laertes and Hamlet disrupt the previously established peace in the Kingdom of Denmark through their deceptive acts, which led to their untimely deaths.

One would think that blood ties would secure one from any deceitful acts. However in the case of Claudius, who was King Hamlet's brother, this did not hold true. Claudius causes genuine chaos in the Kingdom of Denmark by killing King Hamlet. "[O]ne may smile, and smile, and be a villain!"

(Shakespeare, I.ii.

115). Hamlet furiously declares this insight after discovering that his twofaced uncle, Claudius, killed his father. After murdering his brother, Claudius assumes the role of king in a spectacular fashion. As he says himself, he had to convince the nobles of the court to accept his strangely timed and probably sinful marriage to Gertrude, all "discretion fought with nature" and talking about his "wisest sorrow" (Shakespeare, I.ii.5). In other words, he really didn't want to marry Gertrude, but the kingdom needed him to. Claudius deceives and misleads his way through the play. Claudius first arrives as the newly crowned King of Denmark. He expresses to the Royal Court his contradictory feelings of grief and joy; grief over his brother's recent death and joy arising from his recent marriage to Queen Gertrude. Claudius says

"Have we- as 'twere with a defeated...