In William Shakespeare’s Hamlet, the author weaves a tale of deception, murder, and love into five dramatic acts. Maintaining a fierce plot of murder between both Claudius and Hamlet, in some way each leads to death in the end. Along the way, however, all the characters suffer form the slings and arrows of their devious measures.
Claudius and Hamlet, being related by blood are both alike in the sense that they too are filled with an eternal drive to fulfill their goals by whatever procedure necessary. While Claudius wears a mask of a loving brother who now has to take the role of father upon his nephew, Hamlet convinces even his own mother of his insanity. Claudius refers to his nephew in the sense that, “Though yet of Hamlet our dear brother’s death The memory be green, and that it us befitted To bear our hearts in grief, and our whole kingdom To be contracted in one brow of woe” (I, ii, ll. 1-4) This only sets the tone for the entire play for his deceptive actions of being a doting parent, husband, and king while in reality having committed a heinous murder in order to obtain the power of the throne. His falsified feelings towards honestly and loyalty are dashed within act three, when he promotes his love for Hamlet, arranges for his death. The King plans for his stepson to be murdered while traveling to England, but is unsuccessful. He then resorts to an alternate plan, but soon the guilt of his actions takes its toll as he cries, O ‘tis too true. How smart a lash that speech doth give my conscience The harlot’s cheek, beautied with plast’ring art, Is not more ugly to the thing that helps it Than is my deed to my most painted word. O heavy burden! (3,I,49-53)
Even the ghost of Hamlet’s father makes a comment referring to his brother as, “Revenge his foul and most unnatural murder.” From these words of his father breeds the thought of revenge and hate against his uncle. In Act two and three, he leads his fellow friends and family to believe that he is, in fact, insane. Polonius, the father of Laertes and Hamlet’s love, Ophelia makes the comment that, “That he’s mad; ‘tis true”(2,ii,97) A plan that later leads to the insanity of Ophelia, most possibly the only one that Hamlet truly cares for. Also, in Act three, characters portray the actual event that is most likely the true cause of the death of the original King. It is humorously titled “The Mousetrap”(3,ii,219) because this is the proof Hamlet will need to positively be sure of his parent’s guilt. After the play ends, Claudius leaves in a rage and Hamlet’s mother calls to see him alone, confirming Hamlet’s theory to be true. While speaking to his mother alone he knows that he is being spied upon and draws his sword. He approaches a wall hanging that an intruder is hiding behind. Stabbing the person, and seeing his mother reaction he asks,“Is it the King?”(3,iv, 32).But, unfortunately, it is Ophelia’s father, Polonius. Because of his suspicion and anger from grief he kills an innocent person and also his love’s father. It is because of these lies and miscommunication that another person dies at the hands of tainted blood.
Trickery, lies, and betrayal all mark the lives of this tragic family all destined for an early death. A King that murders his own brother for his crown, a mother who weds her dead husband’s brother, and a son who grieves to completely and utterly for his father that he leads himself into murder. All these factors lead into the overwhelming idea that commit these actions willingly, and not under a supreme power. Perpetrating the effects into occurrence, it only leads to the destruction of almost everyone who comes into contact with the characters.