Hamlet Vs Heart Of Darkness

Essay by EssaySwap ContributorHigh School, 12th grade February 2008

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Lying is to delude one, for the purpose of concealing reality from that person. In Shakespeare's Hamlet, characters like Polonius and Claudius are lead to their destruction by their selfish lies. In Conrad's Heart Of Darkness, Marlow's great lie, unselfish in nature, ensures the well being of Kurtz's intended. Upon the comparison of the nature of lies in both works, it is clear that selfish lies lead to destruction, and unselfish lies help to preserve life.

The most egocentric character in Shakespeare's Hamlet, Polonius is the first victim of destruction due to selfish lies. As long as Polonius is alive in the play, he continuously operates behind a false mask of loyalty and eloquence with the sole purpose of moving up on the chain of being. Although Shakespeare does not provide us with a certain statement proving Polonius's selfish motives, they become apparent when he tries to convince Claudius and Gertrude that the reason behind Hamlet's madness is his love for Ophelia, Polonius's daughter.

" I went round to work…"Lord Hamlet is a prince among stars, this must not be" and then I prescripts gave her, that she should lock her self from his resort… which done, she took the fruits of my advice; and he repelled, …fell into a sadness…into a madness wherein now he raves.(2.2.139-150)" Polonius is trying to present himself as a person who has knowledge of the matters in court. By showing that he has the ability to draw intelligent conclusions about the problems in court, he increases his chances of obtaining the genuine respect of the king and queen. At the same time he is suggesting that he has the only solution to this difficulty Claudius and Gertrude are facing. He hopes that Claudius and Gertrude will be dependant on his decisions in...