Shakespeare’s tragedy Hamlet is a play about the life of a young Prince of Denmark following his father’s unnatural death. The essential story is that Hamlet is mourning for the death of his father. When his father's ghost is seen haunting the castle, Hamlet seeks out the ghost and learns that his father was murdered by Hamlet's uncle, Claudius, who has now taken the throne, and the hand of the queen in marriage. The rest of the story is focused on Hamlet seeking revenge, and his setbacks and hesitations. Although many themes are present in Hamlet, a big one being the claim of Insanity, I will discuss the theme of Betrayal as it is the most preeminent theme in the play. The whole reason the story took place was due to Claudius betraying the king, also his brother, because he was power hungry. Throughout the play we also see Rosencrantz and Guildenstern betray Hamlet, the Queen betrays Hamlet and many other instances of betrayal. This theme really gives a new meaning to Hamlet’s statement that “Something’s rotten in the state of Denmark.” In order to make the paper a valid one, I will also choose to discuss the theme of loyalty alongside betrayal as if loyalty didn’t exist, then the word betrayal would have no meaning. Furthermore, this essay will compare and contrast the two types of betrayal, treason, and justified betrayal. While there are some that might argue that betrayal is always treason (in the sense that it is never justified), Hamlet’s treacherous act of killing Claudius was very justified as Claudius had killed his parents, although both at different times, and Hamlet himself. Thus by betraying Claudius, Hamlet avenged his parent’s and his own death.
(Note: I will leave it at that as of right now because if I continue to expand more it will go into revenge and whether or not it is justified or not, and since that is another theme, I am trying to stay away from it).