Dishonesty in Hamlet

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“Many critics have suggested Hamlet chronicles the perils of life within a largely false and dishonest world. To what extent has this been your experience of Shakespeare’s play?”

The world we currently know has experienced many stages and eras such as the Renaissance era and the New World Era. In each of these eras, falsehood, dishonesty, deceit and revenge all seem to grow rich, however remorse and guilt grow poor. Like a domino effect, with all this tremendous falsehood come fatal and destructive dangers in life. Whether it be due to the risks of overthinking, or perhaps the risks of taking action, they seem to grow exponentially with time. William Shakespeare portrays evidently this changing world and it’s forever increasing perils of deceit throughout the play Hamlet, representing the aftermath of lying and its effects on everything around us, specifically the Great Chain of Being and Nature itself.

The world the audience is shown as they enter Hamlet is stuck in a phase between the Renaissance and New World Era. The men of the Renaissance era were warriors and put trust in themselves, whereas in the New World, more men are thinkers as they have lost a sense of existential trust. This transition is essentially portrayed in the allusion to the story of the Helen of Troy, recited by Hamlet himself in Act 2 Scene 2 where Pyrrhus, a son who vows to avenge his dead father, seeks revenge on his murderer, Priam. Pyrrhus goes on to slay Priam, but before doing so, “like a neutral to his will and matter [does] nothing”. However after this pause, he is able to follow through with his mission. Pyrrhus hence portrays a true warrior. Similarly, we see in Act 3 scene 3, Hamlet following in Pyrrhus’ legacy to avenge his father, however there is a detrimental difference in Hamlet’s methods. Hamlet, being a thinker from the new world, pauses before striking King Claudius, however he does what Pyrrhus would not dare do – think. Essentially, Hamlet changes what should...
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