Is Hamlet Deceitful?

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Francesca Montemarano
Hamlet Essay #2
In the first two acts of Hamlet there are a few characters that are deceitful. In the play, there are a couple of situations where the outer appearance of characters does not always match their true intent. Hamlet acts differently when he is with others. He acts insane to avenge his father’s death. Ophelia’s loving father, Polonius, goes behind her back to discuss her relationship with Hamlet to the King. There are other characters in the play that are deceitful such as Claudius, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern. Claudius is not an honest King and Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are pretending to be Hamlet’s friend to find out information for the King.

After Hamlet speaks to his father as a ghost, he decides that pretending to be insane is the best way to avenge Old Hamlet’s death. He says to Horatio,
“Here as before, never, so help you mercy
How strange or odd some’er I bear myself
(As I perchance hereafter shall I think meet
To put an antic disposition on)” (Hamlet I.v.169-172).
Hamlet tells Horatio that he will act crazy and to go along with it. He wants people to believe that he is insane so he can find out what happens. If Hamlets decides to do something bad no one would suspect that he meant to do it on purpose because he is insane. He would use is “illness” as an excuse. Hamlet is making people believe that he is crazy through his actions and his words. One of the first times, Hamlet is crazy is when he goes to Ophelia’s room. After Hamlet leaves Ophelia’s room, she goes to tell Polonius about their encounter. She says,

“Lord Hamlet, with his doublet all unbraced,
No hat upon his head, his stockings fouled,
Ungartered, and down-gyved to his ankle,
Pale as his shirt, his knees knocking each other,
And with a look so piteous in purport,
As...
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