Deception in Hamlet
“Oh what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive”, is most definitely a statement that applies in William Shakespeare’s Hamlet.   With the initial act of King Hamlet’s murder, the resulting events affect the lives of all the characters in the play Hamlet.   A web of lies and deceit spread widely throughout the play and it is this deception that contributes to fatal ending of the main characters in the play. In attempt to fulfill all his selfish needs, Claudius is determined to keep the throne of Denmark and the Queen through treachery, tricks and lies. Claudius is very skillful at manipulating those around him in order to achieve his goals and keep his secret safe. The effect on Prince Hamlet is profound as it launches him on a journey of revenge. In his quest for revenge, Hamlet is guilty of using deception as a means to achieving his ultimate goal of killing his dishonest uncle Claudius. Polonius who is Lord Chamberlain shows his deceitful nature early on when he hires Reynaldo to spy on Laertes and when he convinces Ophelia to spy on Hamlet. Gertrude and Ophelia both are deceitful in their own way, Gertrude as a method of being loyal to her husband and Ophelia as an obedient daughter still in love with Hamlet.
Claudius’ murder of his brother, King Hamlet is the incident that sets the wheels in motion for the tragic chain of events to follow. His selfish desire to have the kingdom of Denmark and its queen allows him to lie to everyone in the play at one time or another in order to keep them from knowing the truth about him killing the King. He is deceiving not only the people of Denmark, but Hamlet into thinking that his father was killed by a poisonous snake and that he wants what is best for Denmark. Claudius would like nothing better than for Hamlet to put aside his mourning so that life can go back to normal, “From the first corse till he that died to-day,/“This must be so.” We pray you, throw to earth/ This prevailing...