Hamlet: End of Play Response

“What does this play ask about the nature of the following philosophical ideas — fate, betrayal, and self-doubt.  Using specific examples for all three ideas from the play, go beyond the text and discuss what Shakespeare is saying about each theme.  

Your posting should be approximately six hundred words and contain AT LEAST three properly cited quotations from the play.  You will be receiving up to 20 marks for this posting:  15 for detail, insight, and addressing the “so what?”; 5 for spelling, grammar, MLA format, etc.  Remember that your deadline (one that is a stringent one) is Tuesday, November 13th at MIDNIGHT.

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~ by Ms. Cox on November 9, 2012.

57 Responses to “Hamlet: End of Play Response”

  1. Drew Chapelle
    Ms. Cox
    ENG 4U1
    Nov. 12 2012
    Philosophical Ideas to Hamlet
    Shakespeare’s, Hamlet, is filled with philosophical debates and theories that make the task of truly understanding all the components of the play very difficult. Throughout the play, Hamlet, along with the natural questions faced by a young man making the journey to his future, faces all of these other deeply intellectual and philosophical concepts and questions in his life. Three philosophical concepts that deeply affect Hamlet are betrayal, self-doubt, and fate. The implications that these three philosophical concepts have on his mental and emotional development and also on his state of self being are tremendous as throughout the play he is driven mad with confusion and complication.
    Throughout the play, the element of betrayal is a constant philosophical concept which Hamlet encounters. Perhaps most directly related to causing the ensuing madness of Hamlet’s persona however is the event which entails the betrayal of his father, Hamlet Sr., by his Uncle Claudius, his father’s brother. This event is proven to cause trauma in Hamlet’s life when he states, “O villain, villain, smiling, damned villain!/My tables,–meet it is I set it down,/That one may smile, and smile, and be a villain;/At least I’m sure it may be so in Denmark:/So, uncle, there you are. Now to my word;/It is ‘Adieu, adieu! remember me.’/I have sworn’t.” (1.5.107-111). Hamlet has just been informed at this point in the play that his father was not killed by a snake, which is what the public was told, but rather a proverbial snake in his Uncle who wanted his father’s wife and crown. He was told this by the ghost of his late father who is only able to visit Earth as he is stuck in a religious state known as Purgatory because he was not absolved of his sins before he was killed by his brother. Hamlet does not take this news well as he is then set on seeking revenge against Claudius in order to avenge his father’s murder. This then leads him to the argument as to whether or not vengeance is right.
    The argument of whether or not Hamlet should seek out vengeance against Claudius in the name of his father can be looked at as an argument of self-doubt. This inner-personal debate which takes the broad title of self-doubt is highly controversial because it is undecided in the world as to whether two wrongs make everything even and right again. Hamlet fights with the idea of seeking vengeance against his Uncle and it eventually contributes to his madness as he becomes so obsessed with needing to perform this act that he can’t handle not having the faith in himself or not believing he is truly capable of performing the act:
    Now I am alone./O, what a rogue and peasant slave am I!/Is it not monstrous that this player here,/But in a fiction, in a dream of passion,/Could force his soul so to his own conceit/That from her working all his visage wann’d,/Tears in his eyes, distraction in’s aspect,/A broken voice, and his whole function suiting/With forms to his conceit? and all for nothing!/For Hecuba!/What’s Hecuba to him, or he to Hecuba,/That he should weep for her? What would he do,/Had he the motive and the cue for passion/That I have? He would drown the stage with tears/And cleave the general ear with horrid speech,/Make mad the guilty and appal the free,/Confound the ignorant, and amaze indeed/The very faculties of eyes and ears. Yet I,/A dull and muddy-mettled rascal, peak,/Like John-a-dreams, unpregnant of my cause,/And can say nothing; no, not for a king,/Upon whose property and most dear life/A damn’d defeat was made. Am I a coward? (2.2.544-567).

    This entire soliloquy shows just how internally tormented Hamlet truly is by his self-doubt of his ability to act in the manner which his heart tells him is proper but his brain isn’t all too sure.
    Lastly, the philosophical theory of fate engulfs Hamlet over the duration of the play. There are several different believed opinions as to what fate truly is. One opinion is that there is no such thing as true fate but that which is referred to as “fate” is simply the reactions or consequences of other’s actions which have an impact or influence on one’s life beyond the control of said person. For example, was it fate that caused someone to slip on the wet floor or simply the consequence of someone spilling the water which created the wet floor? Either way, it was out of the control of the individual who slipped and is therefore able to be regarded by society, and from the perspective of said individual as “fate”. Within the play, Hamlet has several things happen to him which can be considered fate because they are out of his control. He uses the Player King within the insert to the play that he wrote to express his focused opinion on the argument of fate and the Player King states:
    This world is not for aye, nor ’tis not strange/That even our loves should with our fortunes change;/For ’tis a question left us yet to prove,/Whether love lead fortune, or else fortune love./The great man down, you mark his favourite flies;/The poor advanced makes friends of enemies./And hitherto doth love on fortune tend;/For who not needs shall never lack a friend,/And who in want a hollow friend doth try,/Directly seasons him his enemy./But, orderly to end where I begun,/Our wills and fates do so contrary run/That our devices still are overthrown;/Our thoughts are ours, their ends none of our own:/So think thou wilt no second husband wed;/But die thy thoughts when thy first lord is dead. (3.2.196-211)

    It is assumed Hamlet wrote these lines within the play and they express his feeling of confinement and having one’s life’s outcomes be determined by fortune and fate no matter how strong their wills are and even if they directly oppose what is destined to be. The existence, or at the very least the true definition, of fortune and fate however is still up for debate.
    In Conclusion, throughout Shakespeare’s, Hamlet, the character of Hamlet is driven mad with all of his internal battles with the philosophically personal concepts of betrayal, self-doubt, and fate. Hamlet tries to win his battles with these three philosophical concepts and it can be argued that at the end of the play, right before his death, he does master the appropriate way to handle life’s situations and becomes the ideal King. He is not stricken as deeply by betrayal as he accepts Laerte’s plead for forgiveness from the act of poisoning him, he does not doubt his ability to take charge and act and makes a decision to leave Denmark in the hands of Fortinbras whom he believes to be capable of running a country, and lastly he is not afraid of fate but rather changes Horatio’s by not allowing Horatio to drink the remaining poison in the goblet but rather taking it so that Horatio may go on to tell the story of his best friend, Hamlet prince of Denmark, to all that wish to hear and wish to know the truth of this tragedy. Hamlet comes to terms with all that remained to trouble him and so he states, “The rest is silence” (5.2.351).

  2. Hamlet: A Philosophical Take

    Throughout one’s life, questions pertaining to one’s existence are constantly raised. William Shakespeare’s Hamlet is the epitome of such questions as it centers on the uncertainty of life and death as well as one’s soul purpose for being. In addition, the play presents distinct philosophical ideas that correlate with one’s constant search for self-identity. Ideas such as self-doubt, as seen in Hamlet himself, the theme of betrayal, and guilt are developed throughout the course of the play.
    It is Hamlet’s constant self-doubt and his inability to place actions to words that ultimately determine his fate as well as the fate of others. Hamlet involuntarily set a series of events into action by his reluctance to act in a timely matter. Upon his death, Hamlet comes to the realization that his hesitance had snowballed into an inevitable death for many. This realization is displayed in Hamlet’s dying words: “So tell him, with the occurrents, more and less,/Which have solicited. The rest is silence” (V.ii.350-351). This statement indicates Hamlet’s notion that actions coincide with fate in the sense that once something is set in motion, it is almost impossible to stop. Shakespeare addresses the concept that, as time passes; intention and purpose diminish, causing an increase in self-doubt. The Player King’s statement, “Purpose is but the slave to memory,/Of violent but poor validity:/Which now, like fruit unripe, sticks on the tree,/But fall unshaken when they mellow be” (III.ii.184-187), is an apt example of the progression of self-doubt and the decrease of purpose. In what concerns Hamlet, the timing of one’s actions, as well as their self-doubt, are factors that ultimately determine their fate.
    Throughout the play, trust between characters all but ceases to exist as the underlying theme of betrayal is brought to the forefront. Shakespeare displays that betrayal of any kind is awarded with unfortunate results, highlighting the importance of Polonius’ earlier statement: “to thine own self be true,/And it must follow, as the night the day,/Thou canst not then be false to any man” (I.iii.78-80). Essentially, Shakespeare is saying that the betrayal onto others is the result of self-betrayal. In what concerns the play, the absence of truth and the constant of betrayal results in complete distrust between characters and brings them to an early death. Horatio displays a thorough understanding of the repercussions brought on by betrayal when he states,
    So shall you hear
    Of carnal, bloody, and unnatural acts,
    Of accidental judgments, causal slaughters,
    Of deaths put on by cunning and forced cause,
    And, in this upshot, purpose mistook
    Fall’n on the inventors’ heads. (V.ii.373-378)
    Shakespeare addresses the fact that lies and deception can greatly affect one’s life by creating a web of betrayal and demonstrating the consequences brought to those who become entangled in it.
    Hamlet clearly demonstrates how guilt can effect one’s actions as well as how it can overpower the conscious mind. The King’s statement, “My stronger guilt defeats my strong intent” (III.iii.41), clearly demonstrates how a guilty conscience can gain complete control of one’s life. In essence, Shakespeare is displaying one’s struggle to do right by themselves and by others. He demonstrates that being driven by guilt differs greatly from being driven by passion or motive. Guilt can cause one to act impulsively, as it does with Hamlet and Claudius, or it can eat away at one’s mind until they are all but consumed by it, just as it does with Gertrude.
    Shakespeare’s Hamlet embodies various questions relating to the general curiosity of one’s mind and how it influences their fate. He presents many philosophical ideas that lay in the subconscious, such as self-doubt, betrayal of one’s self and onto others, and the power of guilty thoughts. The nature of each idea is thematically developed in the play, and leaves the audience with much to consider in regards to the uncertainty of life. However, it is Hamlet that raises the most important question of all: “To be or not to be” (III.i.56).

  3. Drew Chapelle
    Ms. Cox
    ENG 4U1
    Nov. 12 2012
    Philosophical Ideas to Hamlet
    Shakespeare’s, Hamlet, is filled with philosophical debates and theories that make the task of truly understanding all the components of the play very difficult. Throughout the play, Hamlet, along with the natural questions faced by a young man making the journey to his future, faces all of these other deeply intellectual and philosophical concepts and questions in his life. Three philosophical concepts that deeply affect Hamlet are betrayal, self-doubt, and fate. The implications that these three philosophical concepts have on his mental and emotional development and also on his state of self being are tremendous as throughout the play he is driven mad with confusion and complication.
    Throughout the play, the element of betrayal is a constant philosophical concept which Hamlet encounters. Perhaps most directly related to causing the ensuing madness of Hamlet’s persona however is the event which entails the betrayal of his father, Hamlet Sr., by his Uncle Claudius, his father’s brother. This event is proven to cause trauma in Hamlet’s life when he states, “O villain, villain, smiling, damned villain!/My tables,–meet it is I set it down,/That one may smile, and smile, and be a villain;/At least I’m sure it may be so in Denmark:/So, uncle, there you are. Now to my word;/It is ‘Adieu, adieu! remember me.’/I have sworn’t” (1.5.107-111). Hamlet has just been informed at this point in the play that his father was not killed by a snake, which is what the public was told, but rather a proverbial snake in his Uncle who wanted his father’s wife and crown. He was told this by the ghost of his late father who is only able to visit Earth as he is stuck in a religious state known as Purgatory because he was not absolved of his sins before he was killed by his brother. Hamlet does not take this news well as he is then set on seeking revenge against Claudius in order to avenge his father’s murder. This then leads him to the argument as to whether or not vengeance is right.
    The argument of whether or not Hamlet should seek out vengeance against Claudius in the name of his father can be looked at as an argument of self-doubt. This inner-personal debate which takes the broad title of self-doubt is highly controversial because it is undecided in the world as to whether two wrongs make everything even and right again. Hamlet fights with the idea of seeking vengeance against his Uncle and it eventually contributes to his madness as he becomes so obsessed with needing to perform this act that he can’t handle not having the faith in himself or not believing he is truly capable of performing the act:
    Now I am alone./O, what a rogue and peasant slave am I!/Is it not monstrous that this player here,/But in a fiction, in a dream of passion,/Could force his soul so to his own conceit/That from her working all his visage wann’d,/Tears in his eyes, distraction in’s aspect,/A broken voice, and his whole function suiting/With forms to his conceit? and all for nothing!/For Hecuba!/What’s Hecuba to him, or he to Hecuba,/That he should weep for her? What would he do,/Had he the motive and the cue for passion/That I have? He would drown the stage with tears/And cleave the general ear with horrid speech,/Make mad the guilty and appal the free,/Confound the ignorant, and amaze indeed/The very faculties of eyes and ears. Yet I,/A dull and muddy-mettled rascal, peak,/Like John-a-dreams, unpregnant of my cause,/And can say nothing; no, not for a king,/Upon whose property and most dear life/A damn’d defeat was made. Am I a coward? (2.2.544-567).

    This entire soliloquy shows just how internally tormented Hamlet truly is by his self-doubt of his ability to act in the manner which his heart tells him is proper but his brain isn’t all too sure.
    Lastly, the philosophical theory of fate engulfs Hamlet over the duration of the play. There are several different believed opinions as to what fate truly is. One opinion is that there is no such thing as true fate but that which is referred to as “fate” is simply the reactions or consequences of other’s actions which have an impact or influence on one’s life beyond the control of said person. For example, was it fate that caused someone to slip on the wet floor or simply the consequence of someone spilling the water which created the wet floor? Either way, it was out of the control of the individual who slipped and is therefore able to be regarded by society, and from the perspective of said individual as “fate”. Within the play, Hamlet has several things happen to him which can be considered fate because they are out of his control. He uses the Player King within the insert to the play that he wrote to express his focused opinion on the argument of fate and the Player King states:
    This world is not for aye, nor ’tis not strange/That even our loves should with our fortunes change;/For ’tis a question left us yet to prove,/Whether love lead fortune, or else fortune love./The great man down, you mark his favourite flies;/The poor advanced makes friends of enemies./And hitherto doth love on fortune tend;/For who not needs shall never lack a friend,/And who in want a hollow friend doth try,/Directly seasons him his enemy./But, orderly to end where I begun,/Our wills and fates do so contrary run/That our devices still are overthrown;/Our thoughts are ours, their ends none of our own:/So think thou wilt no second husband wed;/But die thy thoughts when thy first lord is dead (3.2.196-211).

    It is assumed Hamlet wrote these lines within the play and they express his feeling of confinement and having one’s life’s outcomes be determined by fortune and fate no matter how strong their wills are and even if they directly oppose what is destined to be. The existence, or at the very least the true definition, of fortune and fate however is still up for debate.
    In Conclusion, throughout Shakespeare’s, Hamlet, the character of Hamlet is driven mad with all of his internal battles with the philosophically personal concepts of betrayal, self-doubt, and fate. Hamlet tries to win his battles with these three philosophical concepts and it can be argued that at the end of the play, right before his death, he does master the appropriate way to handle life’s situations and becomes the ideal King. He is not stricken as deeply by betrayal as he accepts Laerte’s plead for forgiveness from the act of poisoning him, he does not doubt his ability to take charge and act and makes a decision to leave Denmark in the hands of Fortinbras whom he believes to be capable of running a country, and lastly he is not afraid of fate but rather changes Horatio’s by not allowing Horatio to drink the remaining poison in the goblet but rather taking it so that Horatio may go on to tell the story of his best friend, Hamlet prince of Denmark, to all that wish to hear and wish to know the truth of this tragedy. Hamlet comes to terms with all that remained to trouble him and so he states, “The rest is silence” (5.2.351).

  4. Siva Tharmabala
    Shakespeare Philosophical Ideas
    Hamlet is composed of many themes, many of which stand out to the point of extreme importance. However, Shakespeare focuses on the main philosophical ideas of fate, betrayal, and self-doubt. Shakespeare uses the play Hamlet effectively to convey his ideas about fate being established in advance, and to show how betrayal leads to self-betrayal which is a much greater form of deception. Furthermore, Shakespeare shows how self-doubt can paralyze a person’s action, as ultimately, all we have in life is our actions.
    William Shakespeare uses the theme of fate to emphasize that destiny is predetermined and people do not have control over their destiny. During the mousetrap scene the Player King says, “Our wills and fates do so contrary run/that our devices still are overthrown/our thoughts are ours, their ends none of our own”(3.2.207-209). The Player King is saying that although a persons thoughts are their own and they can have goals, their destiny is already decided. Moreover Hamlet also talks about a determined fate by saying, “There’s a divinity that shapes our ends”(5.2.10). Hamlet is saying that a person can make plans or think they know what they are doing but in the end there is a godlike person that takes control and decides the results. By using these collection of words Shakespeare is drawing attention to the idea of fate being already decided.
    Along with the theme of fate, Shakespeare uses the theme of betrayal to show the consequence of being either loyal or traitorous. In Hamlet, Claudius betrays Hamlets late father so he can gain control of the kingdom, the love of Gertrude, and wealth. Claudius says,“I am still possess’d/of those effects for which I did the murder,/My crown, mine own ambition and my queen”(3.3.54-56). As a result of Claudius’ disloyalty, he starts a cycle of revenge, and in the end his betrayal leads to a betrayal of his values: his kingdom, his ambition, and his wife. Due to his greed he looses all of those material values. However Hamlet’s friend Horatio serves as the rational character with unwavering loyalty. Horatio is the only character in the play with true unwavering loyalty, to the point that he would rather die with Hamlet.“never believe it:/I am more and antique Roman than Dane:/here’s yet some liquor left”(5.2.332-334). Horatio would preferably stay true to his values: his friends, and he tries to commit suicide so he can be with Hamlet. Shakespeare uses Claudius’ treachery to stress a connection between betrayal and self betrayal and he uses Horatio to show the contrast between betrayal and loyalty.
    In addition to the themes of fate and betrayal Shakespeare uses the theme of self-doubt to show how lack in confidence can cause confusion, and stop a person from acting. After agreeing to the ghost to kill Claudius right away, Hamlet wastes two months contemplating whether to commit the deed or not. While pondering Hamlet says, “Thus conscience does make cowards of us all,/and thus the native hue of resolution/Is sicklied o’er with the pale cast of thought”(3.1.84-86). Hamlet lacks the confidence and courage in himself so he over thinks every possibility. Thereby Hamlet fails to take action. By portraying Hamlet as a thinker Shakespeare is able to show how self-doubt can lead to over thinking, and as a result it can halt a person from acting.
    Shakespeare is able to express his ideals about fate, betrayal, and self-doubt in the play, Hamlet. Through the play, Shakespeare conveys that a person’s fate is not subject to change, and that betrayal can result in self betrayal. Additionally he delves into the minds of his characters to express the effects that self doubt can have on his characters and their actions.

  5. Tarynn Delaney

    Hamlet: Betrayal and Betrayed

    William Shakespeare’s play “Hamlet” deals with the philosophical idea of betrayal. Throughout the play many characters struggle with betrayal both personally and with other characters. One of the most important themes in “Hamlet” is betrayal; the act of violating trust, alliance or loyalty. Betrayal is arguably one of the most defeating and disappointing acts of humanity resulting in the loss of trust and a feeling of guilt. The main acts of betrayal in this play arrive between; Hamlet and Ophelia, Hamlet and the Ghost and Hamlet’s own self-betrayal.
    Hamlet’s betrayal of Ophelia begins with Hamlet’s madness. During a private conversation between the two, Hamlet pretends as though he has never loved Ophelia because he fears that Claudius and Polonius are listening. When approaching Hamlet, Ophelia says “My Lord, I have remembrances of yours/ That I have longed to re-deliver/ I pray you, now receive them” (3.1 94-96). Hamlet rejects both Ophelia’s love and remembrances. Hamlet insists that he does not love her, yet after her death Hamlet’s words are a direct contradiction of these actions. Hamlet states “I loved Ophelia; forty thousand brothers/ Could not, with all their quantity of love/ Make up my sum” (5.1 263-265). The lack of love Hamlet shows for Ophelia while she is alive is ultimately what caused the betrayal between Ophelia and Hamlet. As a result of this betrayal there is the guilt and regret that Hamlet feels for not treating her better while she was alive and also a broken bond between former lovers.
    The lack of motivation Hamlet killing Claudius is the beginning of the betrayal between Hamlet and the Ghost. In Hamlet’s “To Be Or Not To Be” soliloquy Hamlet realizes he has let his father down by his lack of action. Hamlet says “Thus conscience does make cowards of us all” (3.1. 84). Hamlet has explained his fear and understands that he needs to take action immediately in order to honor his father’s demand. Hamlet passes up his chance to slay Claudius out of pure fear. To himself Hamlet says “A villain kills my father; and for that/ I, his sole son, do this same villain send/ To heaven” (3.3 77-79). Hamlet has failed his father and betrayed the trust that he has put in him to kill Claudius. This betrayal is horrific because there is no greater disappointment for the Ghost than to have been betrayed by his own son. The betrayal between Hamlet and the Ghost breaks the loyalty between father and son and creates feelings of failure and defeat for Hamlet and a feeling of disappointment for the Ghost.
    Hamlet betrays himself in the “To Be Or Not To Be” soliloquy. He is deeply struggling with himself and his thoughts on life and suicide. The Ghost had asked Hamlet to kill Claudius in Act 1, Scene 5, but Hamlet has still not done so. Hamlet’s betrayal here is that he has not stayed true to his word. Hamlet is failing not only his father but also himself here by not completing what his father had asked. Another example of Hamlet’s self-betrayal is after Ophelia’s death when he claims he loved her, even though while she was alive he pretended not to. Hamlet betrays himself by losing sight of who he is and becoming too easily manipulated by what everyone else asks of him. As the play concludes Hamlet speaks his last words “So tell him, with the occurrents, more and less/ Which have solicited. The rest is silence” (5.2 350-51). Throughout the play we see that Hamlet has not only betrayed others, but also betrayed himself. As a human losing sight of who you are and not being true to yourself is quite possibly the worst betrayal of all.
    In conclusion William Shakespeare’s play “Hamlet” deals with the theme of betrayal both between characters and in a character’s self. The betrayal between Hamlet and Ophelia, Hamlet and the Ghost and Hamlet’s self-betrayal all show that in humanity betrayal is one of the most defeating and disappointing acts and that it results in the loss of trust and a feeling of guilt.

  6. Daniel Sheogobind
    END 4U1
    Ms. Cox
    Betrayal and Self-Doubt in Hamlet
    The underlying themes of betrayal and self-doubt are used in Shakespeare’s play Hamlet; both are recurring, and each have unique morals to them. There are many instances of betrayal in the play, but the common effect is that the perpetrator receives only temporary satisfaction before a downfall by their own hand. Self-doubt, as Shakespeare claims, will cripple your efforts and make you an ineffective tool for what you intend to do. These two themes have many examples in the play, but all of them have the same effect and carry the same underlying message.
    Shakespeare takes the not-so-subtle route when it comes to the theme of betrayal; Shakespeare tries very hard to convey the message that betrayal only brings temporary satisfaction before a tremendous downfall. The most prominent of the many betrayals in the play is when it is made known that Claudius, in fact, killed Hamlet Sr: “Thus I was, sleeping, by a brother’s hand/Of life, of crown, of queen, at once despatch’d” (1.5.75-76). Claudius received a very large reward for his betrayal—the entire kingdom of his brother—but received a huge downfall as well, in the form of the death of his wife Gertrude, and his own murder by Hamlet. Betrayal is not a laughing matter or a joke, Shakespeare says. Rather, it is a pathetic attempt to attain more than one is meant to have, brought on by greed and a lack of honesty, and those who do betray will receive nothing but a handful of happiness, followed by a mountain of sadness.
    The downfall that is brought about by a person’s betrayal will also be by their very own actions, Shakespeare shows through the play. Claudius’s downfall, it is important to note, comes by his own wickedness: when he was intending to poison Hamlet with the wine, it instead kills Gertrude, and later Claudius: “He is justly served;/It is a poison temper’d by himself.” (5.2.320-321). Shakespeare is trying to say that the very downfall that is unavoidable will be by one’s own actions, and is akin to the idea of ‘what goes around comes around’. Betrayal, therefore, is not good, nor is it helpful in the slightest, as apart from only receiving temporary satisfaction from a betrayal, the downfall will be by one’s own hand, in a lovely touch of irony.
    In the play, Shakespeare also includes the theme that self-doubt is detrimental to survival. Self-doubt, as demonstrated excellently by Hamlet, causes ineffectiveness in actions, and a lack of self-trust. Hamlet, tasked with killing Claudius, begins to doubt that he can do it, or that the ghost was indeed the ghost of his father: “The spirit that I have seen/May be the devil: and the devil hath power/To assume a pleasing shape/” (2.2.596-597). In Hamlet’s self-doubt, the play drags on and on, with more pressing problems beginning to arise, such as his planned departure for England. Hamlet does not do anything to Claudius until the final scene where he knows he will die, no matter what he does. This entire issue was brought on by Hamlet’s inaction; had Hamlet taken a sword and killed Claudius at anytime before he was given the notice that Claudius would send him to England, he would not have been in any danger in the slightest. Hamlet had many chances to avenge his father and keep his own life in perfect safety; instead, through his self-doubt, the problems he faced grew bigger and more urgent, but he never acted. Shakespeare is trying to convince the audience that self-doubt is never a good thing, and will only lead to a lack of trust, a lack of action, and more problems arising than is wished for.
    Betrayal and self-doubt, evidently, are some of the most simple, yet serious themes that Shakespeare has ever explored. Betrayal is a common theme throughout the play, and in doing so, Shakespeare gets the point across that betrayal is a tool of greedy and unjust people to gain what they cannot have. The theme of self-doubt is not as obvious, but is still contained within the story, and contributes to the overall plot development and story arc. Shakespeare uses these themes to great effect in Hamlet, and both add quite well to the overall atmosphere of the play.

  7. Christine Combe
    Ms. Cox
    ENG 4U1
    Nov. 13, 2012
    Hamlet: A Play About Questions

    The play Hamlet, known to be written by William Shakespeare, is a sad story that quickly turns into one of Shakespeare’s most well written tragedies. Shakespeare uses the main character Hamlet to display many emotions and themes throughout the play however; the main themes Hamlet demonstrates are fate, betrayal and self-doubt. Hamlet struggles with the characters around him including his friends and family, but most of all Hamlet struggles with himself in making the right decisions and finding the will power to do what he believes is right. Shakespeare asks the viewers of the play philosophical questions throughout Hamlet and uses the characters to express the struggle with fate, betrayal and self-doubt. Hamlet’s character demonstrates these themes throughout the novel as the viewer observes how he deals with his father’s death and the secrets that become revealed throughout the play.

    Betrayal is shown a lot throughout the play Hamlet, in particular when looking at Hamlet’s life. Not only has his uncle betrayed Hamlet’s father, the King, but his uncle has betrayed him by stealing his throne, his father’s life, and in the end his mothers life. Other examples of betrayal between good friends and family would be the relationship between Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, and Hamlet. Growing up together, the pair was two of Hamlet’s best friends, but with the change in power they are quick to stand by Claudius’ side and ruin the valuable friendship in order to please the new King. Many examples of betrayal throughout the play demonstrate the unanswered questions of Hamlet.

    Hamlet demonstrates self-doubt throughout the play by continuously neglecting the task at hand; seeking revenge for his father and killing King Claudius. Out of fear, or out of doubt that the ghost is telling the truth, Hamlet has self-doubt and puts off the task at hand. Hamlet says “Haste me to know’t; that I, with wings as swift/ As mediation of the thoughts of love,/ May sweep to my revenge (1.5.29-31). He makes this promise in the first act of the play, however it takes him until the last act in the play to actually commit the murder and seek the revenge he seemed so willing to seek in the beginning. Hamlet questions himself many times throughout the play, and suicide is a common thought that enters his head.

    Fate is a controversial topic throughout any Shakespearian play, in particular Hamlet. Hamlet takes it upon himself to reach out to the ghost in the beginning of the play; “My fate cries out,/ And makes each petty artery in this body as hardy as the Nemean lion’s nerve” (1.4.82-84). Refusing the suggestions thrown at him, Hamlet follows his father’s ghost to learn the news that brings him to his death; he must seek revenge for his father by murdering King Claudius. Hamlet also looks upon the death of Polonius as fate, and takes the wrath upon him, but still hints that his death was his fortune and that he got what he deserved.
    “For this same lord,/ I do repent: but heaven hath pleased it so,/ To punish me with this, and this with me, That I must be their scourge and minister./ I will bestow him, and will answer well/ The death I gave him” (3.4.174-179)
    Hamlet believes that the misfortunes that have happened to him throughout the play are fate, and follows the signs that he believes will lead him to the right place.

    The play Hamlet by William Shakespeare is a play made up of many betrayals, self-doubt, and fate. Hamlet demonstrates these qualities throughout the scenes of the play by sticking up for what he believes in, even if the end result takes more courage that he believes he has. These themes have resulted in another tragedy ending with broken hearts, deaths, and sorrow.

  8. To Betray or Not to Betray?

    William Shakespeare’s Hamlet addresses many intrinsically important philosophical ideas as it follows the actions, or lack thereof, of Hamlet, a Danish prince whose life is overcome by betrayal as members of his court conspire against him after his father is murdered for his throne by his own brother, Claudius. Throughout the play, Shakespeare uses both main and secondary characters to discuss the concept of betrayal and the resulting betrayal of self that occurs because of it. As consecutive characters are affected by the results of their own betrayals, Shakespeare uses the losses of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, Claudius, and Ophelia to ask the audience if any level of betrayal is ever truly worth committing.

    Throughout the entire play, Shakespeare uses Rosencrantz and Guildenstern to ask the audience if any level of betrayal is ever truly worth what it costs the perpetrator. Despite growing up as close friends to the prince, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern both eagerly accept Claudius’ offer to betray Hamlet and assist the king in sending their friend to his death in England. As this plan progresses, however, and Hamlet becomes aware that his friends have betrayed him, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern show definite signs of guilt for their actions and realize that in betraying their friend, they have fundamentally betrayed themselves. Upon this realization, Rosencrantz says, “My lord, you once did love me” (III. ii. 310). With this quotation Rosencrantz is expressing that both he and Guildenstern have betrayed not only their friend, but also betrayed themselves by lowering the level of respect that they give to those that they are supposed to care for. Through the realization of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern that they have negatively altered their own moral codes in their betrayal of Hamlet, Shakespeare displays the imminent effect of the betrayal of self as a follow up to the betrayal of others, and asks the audience if any level of betrayal is ever truly worth committing.

    Shakespeare also utilizes Claudius to prompt the audience to decide if any level of betrayal is ever truly worth the effects it will cause. While Claudius does gain his kingship and his wife through the murder of his brother, these are not the only things that the new king inherits from his betrayal; after having time to truly consider his actions, Claudius is plagued by an intense sense of guilt for the crime that he has committed. While attempting to pray in order to absolve himself of his sins, Claudius exclaims, “Oh, my offence is rank. It smells to heaven/ It hath the primal eldest curse upon’t/ A brother’s murder. Pray can I not” (III. iii. 37-39). In this quotation Claudius shows that the betrayal he has committed upon his brother is causing him immense guilt as he feels comparable to the biblical betrayer Cain, and feels unable to ask for absolution of his sins due to the weight that they carry .Through this guilty confession, Claudius demonstrates that he has betrayed himself as well as King Hamlet as his crime took not only the life of his brother, but Claudius’ ability to maintain a clear conscience and thereby connect with God as well. With the resulting guilt of the new king of Denmark, Shakespeare displays the correlation between the betrayal of others and the betrayal of self and thereby prompts the audience to decide if any level of betrayal is ever truly worth the effects it will cause.

    The character development of Ophelia is also used by Shakespeare to once again propose the concept of betrayal to the audience and ask if any level betrayal is ever truly worth what will be lost as a result. Despite being Hamlet’s girlfriend when the play begins, Ophelia readily betrays the prince as she, in cooperation with her father’s plans, knowingly speaks to him while being spied upon in order to help Polonius and Claudius gather information about Hamlet’s apparent madness. Upon the realization of this betrayal, Hamlet’s behaviour is significantly altered as he ends his relationship with Ophelia and attempts to invalidate the love that they once shared by telling her he had never loved her and that she is an indecent woman. After the rupture of Ophelia and Hamlet’s relationship, Hamlet proceeds to kill Polonius after the court adviser is caught spying on him once more; after losing both her boyfriend and her father, Ophelia is plunged into a state of madness. While overcome with her madness, Ophelia states, “We know what we are, but know not/ what we may be” (IV. v. 42-43). As this is Ophelia’s philosophy towards life, she is by extension stating that although she was once someone who loved her partner and honoured him with respect and privacy, she was overcome by coercion and succumbed into betraying the one that she loved, thus effectively betraying herself in the process and becoming a person she never thought she would have. As Ophelia devolves into a state of madness as a result of losing both Hamlet’s love and her father’s life, Shakespeare uses her character development to once again propose the concept that the betrayal of others leads to the betrayal of self and to ask the audience if any level of betrayal is ever truly worth what will be lost as a result.

    As successive characters are affected by the consequences of their own betrayals, Shakespeare uses the losses of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, Claudius, and Ophelia to ask the audience if any level of betrayal is ever truly worth committing. As Rosencrantz and Guildenstern lose their lifelong friend, Claudius loses his ability to connect with God, and Ophelia loses both her love and her sanity due to their respective betrayals of Hamlet, Shakespeare addresses both the betrayal of others and the subsequent betrayal of self that occurs as a result. Through the downfall of these characters, Shakespeare displays that although it may be easy to run from the betrayal enacted on others, eventually one must always deal with the fact that they have inherently betrayed themselves in the process.

  9. The Nature of Betrayal
    By: Alex lastewka

    Betrayal is the act of breaking ones or a violations of ones trust. The play Hamlet by William Shakespeare uses the nature of betrayal as a heavy theme throughout the play. Characters in the play learn to not violate the moral code of friendships and relationships. They learn this out of the life consequences such as guilt, destroyed friendships and ruin reputations. The realizations of the three consequences are never made into the end of betrayal.

    Guilt is an emotions that occurs when a person believes that they have violated a moral standard. This is the emotion that Hamlet feels after discovering of Ophelia death. Telling Ophelia that he never loved her is a huge betrayal of her trust. “You should not have believed me: for virtue cannot/ so inoculate our old stock but we shall relish of it: I/ loved you not.” (3.1. 117-119). Claiming he never loved her, but later with emotional feelings he claims his love for Ophelia. “I loved Ophelia; forty thousand brothers/ Could not, with all their quantity of love,/ Make up my sum. What wilt thou do for her?” (5.1. 263-265). Not realizing what he had before he lost it. Hamlet must now live with her death on his hands with guilt of never letting her know the truth of his love for her.

    Betraying a friend and killing the trust that you built up, is what destroys friendships. Rosencrantz and Guildenstern destroys their friendship they had with Hamlet. By choosing to side with Claudius and spy on hamlet for him, breaks the trust they once had. After being great friends for such a long time one would not think that they would do this to good friend. It seems to be that Rosencrantz starts to feel some regret as he exclaims his thoughts to Hamlet. “My lord, you once did love me…/ You do freely bar the door of your own liberty, if you/ deny your griefs to your friend.” (3.2. 326. 329-330). But his words mean nothing to hamlet because he is not fool and knows of there betrayal. “Why, look you now, how unworthy a thing you/ make of me!” (3.2. 354-355). With no trust left and a broken friendship it’s the consequence they must live with and what leads to there downfall.

    The truth always eventually comes out, it’s the consequence of not telling the truth at the begging. Near the end of the play Claudius makes this mistake with Gertrude. As the Gertrude goes to take a sip of the poisonous wine, that’s when Claudius awkwardly screams out. “Gertrude, do not drink” (5.2.282). This was not enough information to change Gertrude’s mind. By not saying that there was poison in the wine Gertrude took a sip. With the fear of ruining his reputation as king, he says nothing. This proves that he never truly loved Gertrude because he would betray her by letting her die over ruining his reputations. But eventually the truth comes out as Gertrude makes the realization of the poison in the wine and calls out Claudius exposing the truth to everyone. With a reputation ruin and the betrayal is out to the kingdom, Claudius faces fate.

    In conclusion betraying someone trust has consequences in the very end followed by the moral code. William Shakespeare uses a lot of examples of betrayal during his play Hamlet. From guilt, a destroyed friendship and a ruin reputations these betrayals are what shape the play its self. Fate also catches up to ones who betray, proper consequences are giving to the ones who committee these offences, words do meet there actions in the end.

  10. Steven Eyman
    Hamlet’s Inner Struggle
    The play Hamlet deals with many issues and explores many profound themes about life and the world we live in. Through-out the play Hamlet wrestles with these themes as he tries to figure out his purpose and realize who he truly is. The main themes Hamlet contends with are betrayal and self doubt, two very important factors in the actions preformed in the play. He fights his own self doubt and attempts to answer his philosophical questions about whom he is and why he feels out of place in the world around him. He struggles with all of this while his own friends and family plot to betray him and each other.
    The results of Claudius’ and Laertes’ plan to kill Hamlet is an example of how betrayal is not beneficial to the betrayer and always comes with negative consequences. The two betrayers in the end do succeed in completing their mission of killing Hamlet with the poisoned sword, however Claudius’ actual goal was to remove Hamlet as a threat and secure his position on the throne. This he did not accomplish because along with losing his life Claudius loses his throne, his wife, and all his honour and respect just by betraying Hamlet. “Unbated and envenom’d: the foul practice/Hath turn’d itself on me; lo, here I lie,/Never to rise again: thy mother poison’d:/I can no more: the king, the king’s to blame” (5.2. 310-313). This is a very clear scene where betrayal never works out the way it is planned and the benefits never last. This point is also proven when Claudius kills Hamlet Sr. because he succeeds in betraying him, but loses everything he gained and more in the end.
    From the beginning of the play Hamlet deals with many personal problems and tries to understand the actions in the world around him. Then the ghost of Hamlet Sr. appears and gives Hamlet the task of killing his uncle, the king, in order to avenge his father. “How stand I then,/That have a father kill’d, a mother stain’d,/Excitements of my reason and my blood/And let all sleep” (4.4. 55-58) Hamlet is unable to act against Claudius and begins to doubt his courage and criticizes himself harshly for not being capable of acting when he should. This self doubt leads him to lose trust in everything around him and further convinces him that he is unable to act against Claudius, even after he has confirmed Claudius’ guilt. Being unable to avenge his father, Hamlet develops much doubt in himself and his capability to act which causes him to believe he is unable to act at all, which begins to destroy his life. This is an example of how one inability to act can lead to the complete loss of confidence in ones self and in the end destroys Hamlet.
    When the ghost appears to Hamlet he orders Hamlet to get revenge for him by killing Claudius, the man who murdered Hamlet Sr. Hamlet was convinced Claudius was guilty and was determined to avenge his father, however his self doubt stopped him from killing Claudius and by not acting against Claudius, Hamlet is betraying his father. “Do you not come your tardy son to chide,/That, lapsed in time and passion, lets go by/ The important acting of your dread command?” (3.4. 108-110). The message that is being portrayed is that doing nothing or not acting is still making a choice and by choosing not to act Hamlet betrayed his father and his father’s wishes. Gertrude also makes the choice to do nothing when she finds out Hamlet is not insane but decides not to tell Claudius and therefore betrays him.
    Hamlet struggles with issues that are far beyond his understanding and never finds peace with himself because of these themes. Betrayal and self doubt are huge factors in Hamlets life and influence his choices and how he feels about his own actions. Through-out the play Hamlet is betrayed as much as he betrays others and his self doubt leads to inaction and even more betrayal. The play Hamlet revolves around these themes and would not be as influential without them.

  11. Robert Kukalis
    Ms. Cox
    ENG4U1
    12 November, 2012

    Life is Depressing

    In Shakespeare’s play Hamlet, Shakespeare shows that life is really a depressing event through the speeches of his characters Hamlet, Ophelia, and Claudius. Throughout the play, Shakespeare allows his characters to speak for him and talks about different aspects of life in a negative and daunting sense which questions the point of living and how it seems utterly pointless.

    In Act 5 Scene 1, Hamlet talks about how once we die, we are all the same no matter who we were. “This might / be my Lord Such-a-one that praised my Lord Such-a-one’s / horse when he meant to beg it, might it not? / …Why e’en so. And now my Lady worm’s, chapless / and knocked about the mazard with a sexton’s spade./ Here’s fine revolution, an we had the trick to see’t. Did / those bones cost no more the breeding but to play / at loggets with them? Mine ache to think on’t”(5.1. 82-90). Hamlet talks about how the skulls and bones in the grave in front of him could be those of a great hero or king or someone, yet they all end up as worthless bones in the end. Shakespeare is saying that no matter how bad, good, great, beautiful, or heroic you are and no matter what you do in life, in the end we all just become worthless bones whose flesh gets eaten away by worms and bugs.

    In Act 4 Scene 5, Ophelia makes a statement that also can be related to fate. “Lord, we know what we are, but know not / what we may be” (4.5. 42-43). Ophelia is saying that we may know who or what we are now as people, but we do not know what we will be or become in the future. What Shakespeare is saying is that in life, we may know who and what we are in the present however, we do not know what we will be or what will become of us in the future. We do not know what kind of fate we will have.

    Claudius himself is a perfect example of betrayal. At one point he says “Oh, my offense is rank, It smells to heaven; It hath the / primal eldest curse upon’t, / A brother’s murder. Pray can I not / … May one be pardon’d and retain the offence?” (3. 3. 37-57) He is acknowledging that his crime of betraying and killing his brother is an extremely horrible one however, he also admits that even though he committed a horrible crime and betrayal, he would not want to give up any of the rewards of his crime. In Claudius’ soliloquy, Shakespeare is saying that betrayal will happen, whether it be a large scale betrayal, or a mediocre betrayal and that it is completely normal and common that a person would not want to give up the rewards of the betrayal even though they feel guilty about it. Shakespeare is also saying that humans themselves are very contradictional.

    In conclusion, through his characters Hamlet, Ophelia, and Claudius, Shakespeare shows life from a more negative perspective which questions the point of even bothering to live. Through Hamlet’s soliloquy, Shakespeare shows how that after death, we all become worthless bones. Through Ophelia, Shakespeare shows that the future and our fate is unknown to all of us. And through Claudius, Shakespeare shows that betrayal will happen and you or the person who betrayed someone might feel guilty but not want to give up the rewards.

  12. Jayden Gesch
    Ms.Cox
    ENG 4U1-03
    12, November, 2012
    Hamlet: The Rifts in Revenge
    Irrational deeds create troubled circumstances and destructive results. Such is the destiny for Hamlet’s irrational plot for revenge when he is faced with the decision to avenge his fallen father. In William Shakespeare’s play, Hamlet deals with many uncertainties and conflicting emotions and thoughts when is his faced with the an unfortunate fate that he can not escape, a betrayal from his girlfriend and doubts that he won’t accomplish the vengeful deed tasked upon him. Hamlet continually questions the meaning of his life, the people he can trust and rely on and his courage and swiftness to act upon his thoughts. These circumstances produce a great burden upon young Hamlet’s back as he balances on the rifts and borderlines of life.
    Hamlet believes himself to be cursed because he is destined to set his father’s soul at ease after his murder. The task falls upon Hamlet alone, the only heir of Hamlet Sr. even though he is meek and mild. Hamlet is an academic not a warrior. Despite the task being thrust upon him, he gladly consents and accepts his fate to honour his father in his death. Even though Hamlet accepts the destiny he originally struggles with the idea that his life is in the hands of fate. He says, “To be or not to be: that is the question:/ Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer/ The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,/ Or to take arms against a sea of troubles/ And by opposing them end them.” (III.i. 57-61) Hamlet is left with questions that unnerve him causing an mental and emotional barrier. The fate causes a rift in his thought process. Later on in the play Hamlet accepts his fate, he realizes if providence does exist to let it be and if not then it is by his own actions that he reaches the end result therefore it is better not to ponder on it. Before fencing with Laertes he says, “There’s a special/ providence in the fall of sparrow. If it be now, ‘tis/ not to come; if it be not to come, it will be now; if it be not now, yet it will come: the readiness is all: since no man has aught of what he leaves, what isn’t to leave betimes? Let be.” (V.ii. 210- 215) Hamlet means something to the effect, what happens, happens by the father’s will whatever that may be. Hamlet seems to be accepting the fact that he will never completely understand life and will always stand right at the brink of the true knowledge of existence.
    Hamlet is deceived by the one he used to love. Hamlet is betrayed by his girlfriend the moment he does something out of line. She does not discuss with faults with him but instead goes for advice from her father revealing Hamlet’s supposed madness. Hamlet puts her to a test and she shows him her lack of faith and trust in him and his sanity. Hamlet returns the favour by rejecting her because she is no longer the woman he fell in love with. This is the reasoning for the manner in which Hamlet treats Ophelia throughout the play. Hamlet plays with her emotions, betrays her and plays an unfortunate crucial part in bringing about her madness and death. When Hamlet realizes he is being betrayed and abandoned by Ophelia he denies that he had ever given her anything. To him, she is not the same person he once loved and gave those things. He says, “No, not I. I never gave you aught…Ay, truly, for the power of beauty will sooner/ transform honesty from what it is to a bawd than the /force of honesty can translate beauty into his likeness:/ this was sometimes a paradox, but now the time gives/ it proof. I did love you once.” (III.I. 96-115)Hamlet makes an allusion to Jephthah a biblical man who sacrifices his daughter to fulfill an oath when he talks to Polonius in Act 2 Scene 2. Hamlet foreshadows the tragic death of Ophelia. Hamlet finds himself on a rift when he looses his dear love from betrayal because of his mad quest for ancient justice and her distant allegiance with Claudius’s through Polonius.
    Hamlet doubts his true intentions and their validity. He doubts whether his actions are justified. Hamlet is slow to act because of these many doubts. He carefully plots out his revenge but does not believe that he will have the courage to go through with it in the end. It is arguably his slow planning and lack of action that causes the death of so many which ultimately delays what is fated to happen. Hamlet doubts that the ghost is truly his father. Hamlet says, “The spirit I have seen/ May be the devil: and the devil hath power/ To assume a pleasing shape; yea, and, perhaps/ Out of my weakness and my melancholy,/ As he is very potent with such spirits,/ Abuses me to damn me. I’ll have grounds/ More relative than this. The play’s the thing/ Wherin I’ll catch the conscience of the king.” (II.ii. 596- 603) It takes an entire play for Hamlet to realize that he is in cowardly hesitation. When he sees the way Fortinbras has passion and heart when he takes back land in his father’s name that does not even have any worth to it. Hamlet says:
    “What is a man…/Be but to sleep and feed? A beast, no more./ Sure, he that made us with such large discourse,/ looking before and after, gave us not,/ That capability and godlike reason/ To Gust in us unused. Now whether it be/ Bestial oblivion, or some craven scruple/ Of thinking too precisely on the event,-/ An thought which quarter’d, hath but one part wisdom,/ and ever three parts coward,- I do not know/Why yet I live to say” this thing’s to do,”/… My thoughts be boody, or be nothing worth!” (IV.iv. 32-65) Hamlet has trouble doing things right away. He is cautious and very patient in how he acts. This ends up to be the downfall of him. He stands on a rift because he worries he does not have the will to kill his uncle.
    Hamlet deals with three major rifts in his life after the death of his father because of the specifics of his death. They include: Fate, Betrayal and Self Doubt. His dead father tells him to avenge his murder. He has many conflicting thoughts, emotions and questions that stand in his path. His unfortunate fate is too much for him to bear. In his grieving he must deal with the betrayal of the people he loves most as their turn to his uncle and his own feelings of self doubt as he plans his uncle’s murder. He does not have faith in himself to do what he believes must be done. Hamlet does not get revenge without his own frailties and the rifts in his fragile life overcoming him and sharing blame in his death. Despite the unbelievably odds Hamlet had up against him he was the ultimate winner in the end. He stabs his uncle and makes him drink his own poison, finally avenging his father. The true story of the horrors and life of Hamlet live on through Horatio. With the life that Hamlet no longer valued, he finished one last epic task before he passed on. It was a foolish task but still one of legendary passion, love and commitment.

  13. Zach Godin
    Ms. Cox
    ENG 4U1
    Nov. 13 2012

    What is he saying?

    Shakespeare is better known not for the quantity of his work, but rather the quality of his work. Over his lifetime he has written many plays, but it is the moral concepts and values he writes about, that makes him a renowned playwright. Of the many plays he wrote, none speak of these concepts in such great depth, like Hamlet does. Shakespeare gives the audience a gruelling play that is constructed of many philosophical ideas such as fate, betrayal, and self-doubt, which has Hamlet continuously asking the question “Why?’ What is Shakespeare trying to say about these concepts? Throughout the play these concepts and questions are explored along with many other life questions; To be or not to be, that is the question?

    Man likes to think of itself as the dominant species, with logic, complex thinking and reasoning giving it the upper hand. If all said were true, then why do we face betrayal? For as long as man has walked the Earth, man has been a trader, a nasty truth the audience experiences in Hamlet. Of all the betrayals of the play, the one that arguably stands out the most is that of Claudius towards Hamlet Sr. Claudius is Hamlet Sr’s brother and murder. The Ghost tells Hamlet of the act of betrayal,
    “Upon the secure hour thy uncle stole
    With juice of cursed hebenon in a vial
    And in the porches of mine ears did pour
    The leprous distilment”( 1. 5. 62-65)
    Claudius pores poison into the sleeping Hamlet Sr’s ear, and kills him, betraying thy own blood and flesh. For what was this betrayal necessary? It was for his own personal growth and benefit, which is usually the case for betrayal. Man is a selfish, demanding being, that will at times do anything to better oneself and their circumstance. Betrayal often times seems to be the only answer or is the only option, which perhaps explains Gertrude’s quick marriage to her husbands’ brother & killer. Shakespeare really shines light on mans’ greed and the betrayal that is the result of it. A man can be so blinded by greed that they’d betray their own brother and husband, betray their love, to secure and obtain their own selfish desires.

    Hamlet struggles throughout the play to act upon his words, declaring he would avenge his father’s death, and for fill his father’s wishes by avenging his murder. Where does this self-doubt stem from? Perhaps from a lack of confidence and a feeling of worthlessness. It is clear throughout the play that Hamlet is depressed, and it is questionable but also notable that the 4th soliloquy is about suicide. In this soliloquy Hamlet says,
    “To be, or not to be, that is the question
    Whether ’tis Nobler in the mind to suffer
    The Slings and Arrows of outrageous Fortune
    Or to take Arms against a Sea of troubles
    And by opposing end them: to die, to sleep
    No more; and by a sleep, to say we end” ( 3. 1. 58-61).
    These lines show the true extent of Hamlet’s depression, so perhaps this self-doubt is caused by the fogging of Hamlet’s mind. Distracted by his sadness, he is unable to seek out what he needs to do. He is unable to act, because he is blinded by his emotions. His environment has altered the way he feels about himself and his views on life. If one feels no purpose to live, then why would one feel purpose in carrying out a dead man’s wishes. It isn’t until the end of the play that Hamlet is truly distracted from his melancholy feelings. Hamlet, now angry and passionate, is feeling enough rage and desire to carry out the deed; he murders Claudius. Once he puts aside his dark views of life, his mind is distracted and seperated from the sadness. It is then that he can act and trust in himself.

    To believe in fate, is to believe that everything is done for a purpose, that there is a certain way things are meant to play out. Shakespear certainly plays with this concept in Hamlet. There are many times during the play where fate plays its hand. In what seems to be the only time in the play, prior to the last scene, that Hamlet is prepared and ready to kill Claudius, Hamlet says
    “Now might I do pat, now he is parying
    And now I’ll do’t: and so he goes to heaven” (3. 3. 73-75).
    Coincidence or fate? The only time that Hamlet is fully pepared to kill, Claudius is praying, making Hamlet question his act, scared that if he had killed Claudius during prayer, ( Hamlets view) Claudius would of gone to heaven, a place not suitable for a villian like him. Also note that if Hamlet had killed Claudius there, the deaths that follow in the play would most likely not have occured. Was it coincidence or fate? If Hamlet had never killed Polonius, Laertes would most likely never had come back to duel Hamlet in the final scene where the thruths of everyones lies and betrayals unfold. Fate brings them together and fate brings them to their untimely deaths. What we do in our everyday lives sometimes may seem not important, but can very well be the deciding factor in where we go in the long run. Shakespear has done a great job of using fate to reveal that things happen for a reason, and that it’s fate more times than not. It’s our job to recognize these signs and chose to either accept or ignore them, and not turn a blind eye.
    Perhaps the answer isn’t always the most important thing, although Shakespear has asked many questions, the fact that the questions have been asked, is what the audience should think about. Shakespear has given Hamlet this wonderous intelect and curiosity towards the important questions of life. The play puts a focus on the philisophical ideas that matter, the day in day out problems that the human race is challenged with. Although these questions may still be unanswered, they have been addressed, and give the audience a chance to reflect on the moral concepts and values that shape human kind. Shakespear is not renowned for the words he said persay, but rather the way he used them. The way they open his audiences’ eyes and have them look beyond the text and see what Shakespear was really trying to convey; to make the audience see that betrayal is formed by greed, that self-doubt stems from self-pity and that fate makes the world go around.

  14. L. Hidvary
    D. Cox
    ENG 4U1 – 04
    14 November 2012
    To Be or Not To Be – Hamlet’s Destined Fate
    Fate is the predetermined development of events outside of a person’s control. Every thought taken, work spoken, and action committed leads a person to this destiny that is already laid out for them. William Shakespeare demonstrates this in his play Hamlet by using the main character, Hamlet, as an example; at the beginning Hamlet’s fate is given to him by his father’s ghost, and throughout the play Hamlet must learn that his plans might not be the same as what fate has predetermined the end result to be. Through Hamlet’s fated destiny to avenge his father, and how he illustrates his knowledge of this by admitting that he cannot govern his destiny so he finally accepts it, Shakespeare explains the philosophical idea of fate: that one cannot control their own destiny because it has already been decided for them.
    A person’s fate has already been decided for them before this person is even aware of it. That is why Hamlet explains to Horatio and Marcellus that he must follow his father’s ghost because he feels compelled by his fate: “My fate cries out,/ And makes each petty artery in this body/ As hardy as the Neaman Lion’s nerve” (1.4.81-83). Fate is driving Hamlet to follow his father’s ghost because this is when the ghost is going to tell Hamlet of his destiny and of the act that he must commit. Hamlet must commit this act of murder because of an action that he couldn’t control: his father’s murder by King Claudius. None of these things were in Hamlet’s control, but because his destiny had already been determined for him his fate compels him to act.
    Fate also results in a difference of the plans one might make and the end result. This difference is because one cannot control what fate will actually bring, as can be seen in Hamlet’s portrayal of the situation by the play The Mouse Trap, “Our wills and fates do so contrary run,/ That our devices still are overthrown,/ Our thoughts are ours, their ends none of our own” (3.2.207-209). Through the Player King’s dialogue, Hamlet expresses that the plans one makes for the future might be very different from what the future actually brings. By saying ‘our will and fates do so contrary run’ the Player King is explaining that one’s plans might not run parallel with what fate has already determined will happen. This applies to Hamlet’s situation because in the beginning of the play Hamlet commits to avenging his father, but now halfway through Hamlet still hasn’t done it. This lack of action is because his power isn’t strong enough to overcome the strength of fate, as explained by the Player King when he says ‘that our devices still are overthrown’. Hamlet has the Player King depicting his difficulty in dealing with his fate: he has his own plans for what he wants to happen, but now he is beginning to understand that the end result is not going to be because of the plans he makes, but because of fate.
    In Hamlet, Shakespeare also argues that one must accept their fate because it has already been destined for them. Before Hamlet is to go and duel Laertes he is
    explaining to Horatio how he finally understands that he must accept his fate because he has realized that there is nothing he can do to change it. Everything will work out as it was destined. “If it be now, ‘tis/ not to come; if it be not to come, it will be now; if it/ be not now, yet it will come” (5.2.210-213). What Hamlet is essentially saying is that what comes will come, when it comes. By this he means that what has already been predestined to happen will happen, at the time it is meant to. Hamlet continues by saying: “The readiness is all” (5.2.213). Here Hamlet is explaining that one must be ready to accept the fate that has been given to them because they cannot change it; it has already been decided for them. Hamlet is admitting that he can’t control what will actually happen, but he will know when it happens that it will have been his fate all along.
    Through Hamlet’s fated destiny to avenge his father, and how he illustrates his knowledge of this by admitting that he cannot govern his destiny so he finally accepts it, Shakespeare explains the philosophical idea of fate: that one cannot control their destiny because it has already been determined for them. From the very beginning of the play, when Hamlet’s fate compels him to follow his father’s ghost, to the end when he finally accepts his fate because he has realized that it has already been destined for him, Shakespeare illustrates how one cannot choose or control the fate they have already been given. This play forces the audience to analyze their own philosophical idea of fate and how they perceive it, as Hamlet had to do to finally accept his destiny.

  15. Garrett Dion
    Ms. Cox
    ENG 4U1
    Nov. 12, 2012

    The Role of Themes In Hamlet

    The play Hamlet by William Shakespeare is about a character named Hamlet and his journey for revenge of his fathers death. Eventually ending this tragic play with a epic duel resulting in death between the two entire families. In the play themes are a key role. The main themes that Shakespeare presents is fate and betrayal.

    The first theme of the play is fate. Fate begins in the play by Hamlet being approached by his father’s ghost which demands him to get revenge on his death. Hamlet feels that he was born to get revenge on his father’s death. “The time is out of joint: O cursed spite,/ that ever I was born to set it right!” (I.v.190-191). In the play Hamlet had many chances to kill the murderer of his father but decided it was not the right time. He feels that Claudius should be murdered but the more he thinks about killing him, the more he stops himself from action. Hamlet is not the luckiest guy. The one time he tried to get revenge, he killed the wrong person. At the end of the play when Hamlet is talking to Horatio after the murder of king Claudius, he starts to realize that fate will come when it is the right time, “There’s special/ providence in the fall of a sparrow . If it death be now, ‘tis/ not to come; if it be not to come, it will be now; if it/ be not now, yet it will come. The readiness is all” (V.ii.210-213). Shakespeare is trying to tell the readers that fate will eventually come, but there can be physiological obstacles in the way to effect your decisions to change fate.

    The next theme that is a key role in the play is betrayal. At the beginning of the play Rosencrantz and Guildenstern were schoolmates with Hamlet. Throughout the play Rosencrantz and Guildenstern had no option but to betray Hamlet. Claudius demanded them to go spy on Hamlet, but in the end Hamlet found out they were against him. He knew Rosencrantz and Guildenstern is helping send him to England to become murdered, so Hamlet had nothing better to do then betray them to survive, “I sat me down;/ Devised a new commission; wrote it fair: I once did hold it, as our statists do,” (V.ii.31-34). Shakespeare may state that if you betray someone that your actions will always come to stab you in the back. Rosencrantz and Guildenstern betrayed Hamlet but eventually there actions reversed resulting them to be murdered by Hamlet.

    Another example of betrayal as a theme in the play is his mother Gertrude and the betrayal of Hamlet and his father. Gertrude married his uncle, Claudius, within a very short period of time after his father got murdered. Gertrude did not realize that Hamlet was still depressed about his father’s death and marrying king Claudius made it even worse. Hamlet tells his mother that he and his father feel very upset and betrayed about the marriage. “Mother, you have my father much offended…/No, by the rood, not so: You are the queen, your husband’s brother’s wife” (iii.iv.10-17). Hamlet is so disgusted that the marriage led him with physiological problems. Throughout the play, suicide is always brought up for an option when Hamlet thinks about the marriage, which results in weak characteristics. Even though Gertrude did not realize the effect of marrying king Claudius had on Hamlet, it might show why Hamlet did not take action in his words.

    The play Hamlet displayed key themes which include fate and betrayal. After Hamlet struggles to discover his fate, he realized that it will come eventually with patience. The betrayal that Rosencrantz and Guildenstern had on Hamlet displayed disloyalty towards a close childhood friend which eventually caught up with them, and gave them what they deserved. Lastly, the betrayal that Gertrude had on Hamlet causes him to have thoughts about suicide which shows that Hamlet had a weak personality, which causes him not to take action.

  16. Olivia Johnson
    Ms.Cox
    ENG 4U1
    November 13, 2012

    The Honour of Hamlet

    Shakespeare’s Hamlet is a play full of revenge and death that questions the distinction between what is morally right and what actually acceptable. Hamlet is a timeless masterpiece that discusses the nature of philosophical ideas such as self doubt, fate and betrayal. It is ultimately these elements that enable this tragic play to depict the importance of honour and dignity of one self.
    The subject of self doubt occurs quite regularly throughout the play, and Hamlet himself is a good example of self doubt as he is constantly questioning his own ability to kill Claudius. Hamlet doubts himself because he does not ever seem to take action in killing Claudius. Likewise, Hamlet views the struggles of others, such as the Polish fighting against the Norwegian armies over a little patch of ground, as meaningless. Ironically, Hamlet does not realize that the Polish people are not only fighting for land, but for their honour as well. Hamlet himself struggles with defending his father’s honour, and is tormented with the decision to kill Claudius, because the memory of his father depends solely on this action:

    Of thinking too precisely on th’ event
    A thought which, quartered, hath but one part wisdom, And ever three parts coward—I do not know Why yet live to say “This thing’s to do,”
    Sith I have cause and will and strength and means,
    To do ’t Examples gross as earth exhort me:
    Witness this army of such mass and charge,
    Led by a delicate and tender prince,
    Whose spirit with divine ambition puff’d
    Makes mouths at the invisible event,
    Exposing what is mortal and unsure
    To all that fortune, death, and danger dare,
    Even for an eggshell. Rightly to be great
    Is not to stir without great argument,
    But greatly to find quarrel in a straw
    When honour’s at the stake. How stand I then,That have a father killed, a mother stained,Excitements of my reason and my blood (4.4.40-57).

    Hamlet is unable to act based on these values, regardless of his opinion on the matter. Due to the amount of time that has passed, he doubts his decision, and fears that too much time has gone by without him attempting to seek revenge for his father. This inability to act based causes Hamlet become indecisive. Ultimately, it is this self-doubt could contributes to Hamlet’s fate.
    Similarly, Hamlet’s fate is intertwined with his self-doubt. The hesitation that Hamlet experiences when considering the murder of Claudius could be due to the fact that Hamlet is not meant to kill Claudius, and suggests that murder is not is not a part of his fate. In fact, it is this predetermined hesitation that is the true course of events; as the time to act has not happened yet. When Hamlet finally attempts to kill Claudius, he witnesses a moment in which Claudius appears to be praying. It is this moment of Claudius’ vulnerability that Hamlet chokes; and decides that he will not kill Claudius. Even though the audience is able to recognize the fact that Claudius is not actually praying, Hamlet believes that if he kills Claudius, he will go to heaven instead of hell, which is something that Hamlet wishes to prevent from happening:
    Now might I do it pat, now he is praying;
    And now I’ll do’t: and so he goes to heaven:
    And so am I revenged. That would be scann’d:
    A villain kills my father; and, for that,
    I, his sole son, do this same villain send
    To heaven (3.3.74-79).
    Ultimately, this can be interpreted as a predetermined fate, and indicates that Hamlet is not destined to kill Claudius at this particular moment. It is significant that Hamlet should misjudge the actions of Claudius, as it reflects the fear that Hamlet has of accidentally sending Claudius to heaven or. However, it is also fate’s way of preventing the murder. It is Hamlet’s fate to not kill Claudius at this time in the play, as Hamlet himself will eventually die in a tragic way, and killing Claudius would alter this course of events. This fatal betrayal foreshadows the deception of the people that Hamlet believes are close to him.
    One of the philosophical ideas behind Hamlet is the betrayal of the characters to each other. In some ways, Ophelia betrays Hamlet because she is suppose to love him; however, when her father orders her to stop all communication with Hamlet, she obeys without the slightest form of rebellion. Her lack of defiance indicates a lack of true affection toward Hamlet. “No, my good lord; but, as you did command/ I did repel his letters and denied/ His access to me” (2.1.109-111). Ophelia tells her father that she has completely given up contact to Hamlet, and appears somewhat proud of the fact that she followed her father’s demands so thoroughly. The audience is able to observe a different side of Ophelia’s feelings toward Hamlet, and the viewer is left with a sense of pity for Hamlet, who is unaware that Ophelia’s intentions are false. Hamlet is also betrayed by two of his closes and oldest friends Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, who agree to spy on Hamlet and report everything they are told by Hamlet back to Claudius. Ironically, Hamlet pours all of his trust into Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, only to be blindsided by them, only to be sold out to the king. Hamlet eventually intercepts their deceit and confronts them. “ you would play upon me; you would seem/ to know my stops; you would pluck out the heart of/ my mystery; you would sound me form my lowest note/ to the top of my compass: and there is much music” ( 3.2.355-358). Here Hamlet is asking Guildenstern to play a flute, Guildenstern kindly refuses telling Hamlet that he does not know how to play. Hamlet then reminds him of his ability to play on Hamlet’s life, yet lacks the talent to play a simple flute.

    Shakespeare’s play Hamlet is full of questions about the nature of philosophical ideas of self doubt in which Hamlet struggles to come to terms with himself for not being able to, or not having already, killed Claudius. It is uncertain as to whether it is Hamlet’s fate not to kill Claudius, or the timing of the incident that prevents him from doing so. Ultimately, it is this uncertainty that contributes to Hamlet’s own untimely demise. Betrayal is also questioned with some of the people who are seemingly close to Hamlet; his two best friends and his lover. Although these characters appear to be important in Hamlet’s life, in a way, they all give up on Hamlet. Shakespeare’s play Hamlet is full of philosophical ideas of self doubt, fate, and betrayal; all of which lead Hamlet to question not only his judgement, but his true honour to both his father and to himself. Hamlet’s struggles are a reflection of society, as many attempt to identify the distinction between what is morally right, and what is actually right.

  17. Quest for Success

    Ultimately, Hamlet by William Shakespeare is a play about morals. Each character has their own moral compass, as defined at some point in the play. Betrayal is one of the main themes in Hamlet, and as a result of betrayal many moral compasses are created. Though many characters show the trait of betrayal, no ones crimes are quite as heinous as those of Claudius, the king and Hamlet’s uncle. Whether they be direct or indirect, Claudius’ actions are rife with betrayal. Claudius’ moral compass is that he would do anything for ‘his crown, his ambition, and his queen’ (3.3.56). Claudius creates his moral compass by betraying Laertes, Gertrude and Hamlet Sr. Through these betrayals he also shows that keeping his crown is the most important thing to him. A director by the name of Jean Renoir once asked, “Is it possible to succeed without any act of betrayal?”. The previously stated quotation represents an idea of Claudius’ mind set. Shakespeare goes on to show that every act of betrayal that is perpetrated by Claudius is only to advance his own success, but rather than advancement, betrayal brings about the destruction of everything he holds dear.
    Claudius’ betrayal of Laertes is not one that stands out, or is extremely prominent in Hamlet. In Act 4, scene 5, Laertes comes storming into the castle ready to kill Claudius for the murder of his father, as is still unbeknownst to him, Hamlet is the one who really killed Polonius. Claudius has betrayed Laertes in the sense that instead of punishing the man who killed his father (Hamlet), Claudius is simply sending him away to England. With the death of Polonius, Laertes has become a high ranking official in the court, thus he is a contender for the throne of Denmark. “’Choose we! Laertes shall be king!’/ Caps, hands and tongues applaud it to the clouds,/ ‘Laertes shall be king, Laertes king!’” (4.5.104-106). As the people shout for Laertes to be king, Claudius realizes that he may lose his crown so he smoothly talks Laertes down, telling him that he, Claudius, will be judged and will give up his crown if guilty, if not he shall help Laertes to find revenge.

    Make choice of whom your wisest friends you will,
    And they shall hear and judge ‘twixt you and me:
    If by direct or by collateral hand
    They find us touch’d, we will our kingdom give,
    Our crown, our life, and all that we call ours,
    To you in satisfaction; but if not,
    Be you content to lend your patience to us,
    And we shall jointly labour with your soul
    To give due content.
    (4.5.201-209)

    Claudius’ betrayal of Laertes, though not clear at first, only benefits Claudius. Claudius keeps his crown, but in the end does bring about the death of Laertes. Which still benefits Claudius, as there is one less person with claim to the throne of Denmark.
    Claudius’ betrayal of Gertrude occurs when Claudius tries to poison Hamlet, but inadvertently poisons Gertrude. “It is the poison’d cup: it is too late” (5.2.284). The king does not act to stop Gertrude from drinking of the poisoned cup but to tell her once, not to drink. When Gertrude disobeys Claudius, he allows her to continue with but a moments hesitation. Claudius allows Gertrude to continue because he is simply losing a wife, he knows that if he tells her in front of the whole court that the cup is poisoned, everyone will know that he is treacherous, he would rather not lose his riches or his crown. So the one person that Claudius truly holds dear throughout the entire play dies, all so Claudius does not have to sacrifice his kingdom. Claudius continues to show that he will do anything to get what he wants.
    Throughout the play the reader is told numerous times that it was Claudius that killed Hamlet Sr. The reader never knows for sure if the previously stated is the truth until Claudius says while praying, “O, my offence is rank, it smells to heaven; It hath the/ primal eldest curse upon’t,/ A brother’s murder. Pray can I not” (3.3.37-39) Claudius has done the ultimate betrayal towards his brother by murdering him. Claudius makes an allusion to the bible story of Cane and Abel and how God punished Cane eternally for killing his brother Abel. Claudius has committed this same sin, and as he asks for forgiveness he realizes that he can not ask, nor be forgiven. In order to ask for forgiveness, Claudius would have to repent, and return the very things he was asking for forgiveness for. “’Forgive me my foul murder’?/ That cannot be, since I am still possess’d/ Of those effects for which I did the murder,” (3.3.53-55) Claudius is not prepared to give up his crown, his ambition, or his queen, so he forfeits his chance at heaven. The irony in this scene is that when Claudius is praying, Hamlet is standing behind him about to kill him. Hamlet decides not to kill Claudius because it would send Claudius straight to heaven. However, little does Hamlet know that Claudius did not truly repent, so Hamlet would have sent Claudius to hell, stopping numerous other deaths. Once again Claudius is shown to have done whatever it took to rise in power, creating his moral compass of doing anything for what he wants.
    Everyone has their own set of morals. In Hamlet, Claudius’ morals are to do whatever it takes to keep his crown, his ambition, and his queen. Through the betrayal of Laertes, Gertrude, and Hamlet Sr., Claudius proves himself to stay true to his moral compass. Jean Renoir asks the question if it is ‘possible to succeed without any act of betrayal’. Claudius would answer this question by saying no, as he walks right over people in his own quest for success. In the end, after all of Claudius’ lies and betrayal, he too dies, making his entire journey for nought.

  18. Philosophical Concepts in Hamlet

    Shakespeare’s Hamlet, is a tragedy very intellectually captivating, once reading deeper into the play. The play is about Prince Hamlet trying to seek revenge on his uncle Claudius, for his fathers death. Throughout the majority of the play, Hamlet has difficulty matching his words to his actions, and which causes difficulty when trying to seek revenge. Hamlet is one of Shakespeare most popular plays, it could be because Shakespeare created this play with a variety of philosophical ideas; many of which can be noticed even by those who may not be English scholars. Most notably are his concepts of fate, betrayal and self-doubt; these concepts greatly influence the structure of the plot.

    Fate is a predetermined course of events that is inevitable. In Hamlet, Shakespeare is able to portray the dispute about whether certain events are based on free will or whether we have our fate already planned; during this play very well. However he portrays Hamlet, a great English scholar to be a believer in fate. Near the end of the play there is evidence of fate when Hamlet says “Our indiscretion sometime serve us well/ When our deep plots do pall, and that should teach us/ There’s a divinity that shapes our ends/ Rough-hew them how we will”(5.2.7-11). This quotations is an example that Hamlet believes that there is a God or superior being who controls what goes on in the world for the greater good. Therefore most likely making Shakespeare a believer in fate as well.

    Shakespeare’s play Hamlet, is a prime example of betrayal. The majority of the play, Hamlet is trying to figure out whether or not it is true that Claudius had betrayed Hamlet Sr. It finally becomes apparent to Hamlet that Claudius did indeed kill the deceased king. With this betrayal however there is consequences for his actions. Claudius knows that there is no escaping the consequences for his betrayal when he says “My crown, mine own ambition, and my queen/ May one be pardoned and retain th’ offense/ In the corrupted currents of this world/ Offense’s gilded hand may shove by justice/ And oft ’tis seen the wicked prize itself/ Buys out the law. But ’tis not so above” (3.3.56-61). Claudius knows that he will not be able to go to heaven or pray for forgiveness as long as he continues to benefit from his sin. Shakespeare made the play so that any betrayal there was equal consequences; the fact that he makes sure of this is because no sin should go unpunished, and that may of been something Shakespeare believed in based on the evidence in this play.

    Self-doubt is a feeling that most people get during their lifetime; however too much self-doubt will only cause harm to oneself. In Hamlet, self-doubt was most likely Hamlets undoing. Hamlet doubted most of his thoughts; he never acted upon his words right away, sometimes he never acted upon them at a time that may have been most useful. Instead he doubted himself, he did not have the confidence to follow through with his actions. An example of Hamlet doubting himself is when he says “Now might I do it pat. Now he is a-praying/ And now I’ll do ’t. And so he goes to heaven/ And so am I revenged.—That would be scanned/ A villain kills my father, and, for that/ I, his sole son, do this same villain send/To heaven/ Oh, this is hire and salary, not revenge” (3.3.74-80). Hamlet is standing behind Claudius, but he doubts himself because he thinks Claudius is praying, and does not want him to go to heaven. Shakespeare is showing his audience the destruction that self-doubt can cause upon a human being; not only do humans need confidence in what they do, but they need self confidence in what they say.

    It takes a great play writer to be able to put such powerful and insightful philosophical concepts into a play, however it takes a real scholar to be able to make it so that people of average intellect can read and comprehend those concepts. That is exactly what Shakespeare was able to do in his play Hamlet. He was able to place the ever lasting argument of fate versus free will, betrayal and the consequences that follow, and self-doubt and the unraveling it can cause to someone mental state.

  19. The Consequences of Betrayal
    Every decision in life has consequences whether positive or negative. In Shake spears Hamlet, there are many examples of consequences of betrayal. These consequences are portrayed when Claudius betrays Polonius, Gertrude and Hamlet, when Ophelia Betrays Hamlet, and when Guildenstern and Rosencrantz betray Hamlet. These consequences act as foils into characters as well as how Hamlet faces adversity.
    Claudius lies to both Hamlet and Gertrude when he is told of Polonius’ death. “O heavy deed/It had been so with us, had we been there.” [III.i.13-14] Claudius is saying here that he is sorry for Polonius’ death, but more importantly he is relieved that it was not himself behind the curtain. By using Polonius as a scapegoat, Claudius is willing to let arguably his best friend and chief adviser die. The consequence of Polonius’ death is that Claudius is labeled as a heartless person with one of his best friends sacrificed for self preservation. Gertrude is also just a scapegoat to Claudius. In act 5 scene 2, Claudius stands idle while he poisons his own wife. This betray of course leads to death on two parts but more importantly Claudius’ character is demonized even further. Claudius kills his brother, wife, and friends to remain in power.
    It is well known that Ophelia and Halmet have a relationship. This is why when Ophelia is asked to be used by Claudius and Polonius to spy on Hamlet, and she says yes that we see the depth of her feelings for Hamlet. When Ophelia says that she will play as bait, and that she “Wishes it may” [III.ii.38]. Ophelia is betraying Hamlet and ultimately herself. Hamlet is suspicious of his surroundings since the death of his father, so it doesn’t take him long to realize that the setting of the conversation is a trap. Hamlet of course is hurt by the betrayal of Ophelia being a pawn to Claudius. The fact that she would conform against Hamlet portrays where her loyalties lie. The consequences of this betrayal are that Ophelia looses Hamlet. Hamlet also looses his girlfriend (which is important because who does he have left).Ophelia also betrays herself when she betrayed Hamlet. She lost her true character and how others perceived her.
    Early on in the play, it is made very clear that Rosencrantz and Guildenstern have known Hamlet since they were younger. “Them, being of so young days brought up with him” [II.ii.11] (Him being Hamlet of course). This is stated to clarify to both Rosencrantz and Guildenstern as well as the audience of the magnitude of subordination to Claudius. Claudius is asking Rosencrantz and Guildenstern to spy and betray their friend of old. Yes, when the King of Denmark asks there should be action, but they do not make any attempt to side with Hamlet in any way. This outright betrayal has consequences for Rosencrantz and Guildenstern as well as Claudius. Claudius is even further labelled as a meaningless heartless character, but Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are now viewed as sellouts to an old friend. Hamlet is affected by this because he figures that Rosencrantz and Guildenstern were sent for by the king, meaning that Claudius is plotting against him, Hamlet also suffers from the consequence of loosing two very close friends.
    It is obvious to see that betrayal is very closely linked with consequences. These betrayals act as foils into the true meaning and motive behind characters. Hamlet is truly an amazing character; he is faced with multiple betrayals and adversities. Instead of freezing up and stopping, Hamlet keeps his feet moving to overcome his problems. Many say that Shakespeare is outdated but Hamlet is a perfect example of how Shakespeare can still relate to people today.

  20. Devan Sheehan
    Hamlet, the Victim
    Shakespeare’s play, Hamlet, is the root of philosophical ideas and repercussions that happen to a misguided character, Hamlet Jr. Throughout the play, it is hard to understand why certain things happen to Hamlet, which makes the audience question the philosophical nature of life. Betrayal, which happens frequently to Hamlet, is one of the main themes in this play. The act of disloyalty, being unfaithful, and disappointing expectations are all apart of this betrayal that was laid upon Hamlet by his closest friends and family. The three main people who betrayed Hamlet in the play are Ophelia, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, and his mother Gertrude. With these characters, who are supposed to be supportive and true, turning on Hamlet, it sparks up confusion which then leads him in a crazy state of complication and insanity that takes over the King’s palace.

    Ophelia and Hamlet’s love for eachother is firmly stated throughout the play, which makes the audience question why Ophelia would betrayed him. The letters that she gave Polonius, who then read them to the king, and his attitude towards her, saying that he did love her once, are all part of why Ophelia’s betrayal was hard to fathom. Ophelia was constantly under her father’s orders, whether they were good or bad. Polonius is a very persuasive character, and will stop at nothing until he gets what he wants. Persuading Ophelia that Hamlet has gone mad and no longer loves her, forces her to make the decision that she can no longer love him anymore. Without the real love that she had for Hamlet, it is easy for her to betray him, although her disloyalty towards him is by no means nonchalant to Hamlet. He was clearly aware of her plan to start up conversation with him while her father and the king were hidden, spying. While insulting Ophelia, he says “We are arrant knaves, all; believe none of us. Go/thy ways to a nunnery. Where’s your father?”(3.5.129-30). Hamlet would not ask, had he not known the answer already. When Ophelia answers “At home, my lord”(3.5.131) it is argued that Hamlet realises at that moment that Ophelia is lying to him and that she has betrayed him. Ophelia’s betrayal proves that love means nothing when it comes down to the truth and the lies that Ophelia told to Hamlet, which only made him more insane. At this point, Hamlet realises that no one can be trusted, which further leads to other betraying characters.
    Hamlet’s association with Rosencrantz and Guildenstern is portrayed as a very long friendship in the play. It explains that they have been friends since they were young and in school, which can be argued, is the reason Claudius uses them to take Hamlet to England. Throughout the whole play, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are constantly spying and reporting back to Claudius what Hamlet was up to, whether they knew it was for the right reasons or not. When Claudius asked them to send Hamlet to England, he also sent them with a letter for Hamlet to be murdered upon arrival. This is the betrayal that leads Rosencrantz and Guildenstern to their death. They betrayed Hamlet by not telling him about what was waiting for him in England and for that, Hamlet had to react in the only way he could. He was forced to leave the ship and Rosencrantz and Guildenstern behind to return and seek revenge on Claudius. By switching the notes so that Rosencrantz and Guildenstern were the ones who were to be murdered upon arrival, Hamlet is forced to face the fact that he cannot trust anyone, not even his longtime friends. Although Hamlet doesn’t go into full detail as to what happened to Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, in the letter to Horatio, he explains “Rosencrantz and Guildenstern hold their/Course for England; of them I have much to tell/Thee. Farewell”(4.6.27-9)
    Betrayal between Gertrude and Hamlet started when she had married Hamlet’s uncle after the death of Hamlet Sr. Even before Hamlet could get over the death of his father, his mother had already moved on to the man that took his father’s place as king. From then on, tension and disloyalty were very strong. Scared for her life, when Hamlet just killed Polonius , Gertrude asks Hamlet what she should do and say to the king. She agrees with her answer, saying “Be thou assured if words be made of breath,/And breath of life, I have no life to breathe,/What thou hast said to me”(3.4.198-201). She believes when Hamlet says he’s not crazy, and she promises not to mention anything to Claudius. With the betrayal that Gertrude so often achieves, she tells Claudius that Hamlet is crazy, with the words; “Mad as the sea and wind, when both contend/Which is the mightier: in his lawless fit,/Behind the arras hearing something stir,/He whips his rapier out, and cries, “A rat! a rat!”/ And in this brainish apprehension kills/The unseen good old man”(4.1.7-12). Gertrude confesses everything that Hamlet specifically tells her not to. By telling Claudius about his apparent madness, he makes a haste decision to ship Hamlet to England where he will try and have him killed. Gertrudes conflict and betrayal causes more conflict and betrayal between Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, that leads to more unfortunate events.

    Shakespeare’s, Hamlet, identifies how easy betrayal can be to some characters, even when they know that there will be consequences. Betraying the ones you love and care for can only lead to worse things and even more conflict. Throughout the play, it is hard to understand why certain things happen to Hamlet, which makes the audience question the philosophical nature of life. Betrayal, which happens frequently to Hamlet, is one of the main themes in this play. All of Ophelia, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, and Gertrude portray themselves as wanting to help Hamlet, when really, they are ineffective and provoking him to be as insane as they all think he actually is. Hamlet is just a character that gets pulled in every direction and has issues on who to trust, who to believe, and who to revenge.

  21. The Betrayer Betrays Himself
    Betrayal is when someone wrongs someone they care about. The consequences of betrayal are always negative. In William Shakespeare’s Hamlet, there are a lot of examples of betrayal amongst the characters. Some of which include when Ophelia betrays Hamlet, when Claudius betrays Hamlet Sr. and when Rosencrantz and Guildenstern betray Hamlet. Using the consequences for the characters in the play, it is evident that the person who does the betraying actually ends up betraying his/her self because they then have to spend the rest of their lives racked with guilt, fear, or just negativity.
    A prime example of betrayal in Hamlet is when Ophelia betrays Hamlet. She decides to help Polonius and Claudius prove Hamlet’s madness when she was supposed to be Hamlet’s love. This is shown when she is Polonius is speaking to Claudius and he says: “I have a daughter, have while she is mine, – / who in her duty and obedience, mark, / hath given me this: now, gather and surmise” (2.2.105-107). The consequence of her betrayal is that Ophelia ends up becoming mad and then dies. Although her death cannot be considered as the consequence of her betrayal because everyone dies, her madness can be. Had she not betrayed Hamlet to Polonius, Polonius would not have been spying on him in Gertrude’s bedroom and therefore would not have been killed by Hamlet. The main cause of Ophelia’s madness was because of her father’s death and had she not betrayed Hamlet, Polonius would not have died. In the end, Ophelia betrayed herself as she had to live out the remainder of her life mad and without her love.
    Another example of betrayal occurs when Claudius betrays Hamlet Sr. Hamlet was Claudius’ brother, and Claudius murdered him just to become king and to marry Gertrude. That is considered to be two means of betrayal. Not only did he kill his own brother, but he also married his sister-in-law right afterwards. The depth of his betrayal is illustrated when he is alone on stage and is deciding whether to ask for forgiveness and he says: “Pray can I not, / though inclination be as sharp as will: / my stronger guilt defeats my strong intent, / and like a man to double business bound, / I stand in pause where I shall first begin, / and both neglect (3.3.39-44). Claudius’ consequences for his betrayal are his guilt for murdering his own brother and the fact that he cannot ask for forgiveness from God because he is still gaining rewards for his betrayal. He still has his queen and his kingdom and he is not willing to give that up. He ends up betraying himself though because he has to live the remainder of his life with that guilt and with the fear that Hamlet might revenge his father’s murder. He cannot truly get rid of Hamlet because the people of Denmark love him so he has to live in fear. That is how Claudius actually betrayed himself.
    The final example of betrayal in the play is when Rosencrantz and Guildenstern betray Hamlet. They betray him by spying on him and reporting back to Claudius of Hamlet’s supposed madness. The betrayal is evident even to Hamlet after the Mousetrap play and Hamlet says:
    Why, look you now, how unworthy a thing you / make of me! You would play upon me; you would seem / to know my stops; you would pluck out the heart of / my mystery; you would sound me from my lowest note/ to the top of my compass: and there is much music, / excellent voice, in this little organ; yet cannot you make/ it speak. (3.2.354-360)
    There are many other instances where it is obvious that Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are spying on Hamlet but that is the moment when Hamlet first confronts them about it. The consequences of their betrayal are evident when Hamlet switches the letters they brought to England. This is shown when Hamlet is explaining the events to Horatio afterwards and he says: “He should the bearers put to sudden death” (5.2.46). The consequence of Rosencrantz’s and Guildenstern’s betrayals are not to be put to death; however, they are more the fact that Hamlet left them on their way to England and that he got his revenge on them by switching the letters. By betraying Hamlet, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern actually betrayed themselves because they are now being put to death at the hands of Hamlet who had just left them on their way to England.
    The examples in Shakespeare’s Hamlet of betrayal occur between the characters of Ophelia and Hamlet, Claudius and Hamlet Sr., and Hamlet and Rosencrantz and Guildenstern. Ophelia ended up having to live in madness and without love from Hamlet. Claudius had to live with the guilt of killing his brother and the fear that Hamlet might be revenging his father’s death. Rosencrantz and Guildenstern were abandoned on their voyage to England and their deaths were plotted by Hamlet. These negative consequences of betrayal show that the betrayer actually ends up betraying himself because they are the ones who then need to live with the guilt, fear or loneliness that comes with the betrayal of a friend or loved one.

  22. Holly Mcpherson
    Ms.Cox
    ENG 4U3
    November 13, 2012
    Retribution in the Hands of Hamlet
    William Shakespeare displays many conflicts in his play Hamlet. Revenge as a main conflict, the lead character, Hamlet Junior is inevitably brought into. Coincidentally, Hamlet is the most ill-suited character to take on the task to avenge the murder of his father. As Hamlet is a scholar not a warrior, conflicts arise upon conflicts. While Hamlet attempts to avenge his father his morals and famine for pureness stand in the way, triggering uncertainties and need for truth, resulting in indecisiveness.
    The innocent, wholesome life Hamlet lives in is turned upside down when his father is murdered. Hamlet requires purity in his life as a part of his moral code. He is disturbed by the thought of impureness. Hamlet is outraged when his mother does not grieve long enough for his deceased father before marrying his uncle. His mother destroys another portion of the purity in Hamlet’s world. But to avenge by murder that his father’s ghost desires, would be a complete violation of his own morals. Not only would it be immoral but would add to the impurities surrounding him. Yet it must be done after such a request. Along the considerations of killing, Hamlet contemplates suicide as also necessary yet morally wrong, “Whether ‘tis nobler in the mind to suffer/The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, /Or to take arms against a sea of troubles, /And by opposing end them” (3.1.58-61). Hamlet considers contradicting his principles and becoming a part of his newly impure environment. Later he decides that discarding his moral code is unavoidable and revenge must be sought. Revenge, as the ghost has requested is the very object that drives Hamlet to reconsider and break his moral code. Uncertainty is a reoccurring event in Hamlet’s life until the final act when he discovers that he must adapt to the impureness of society in order to complete his original goal.
    The truth is one of the greatest uncertainties in the play. Hamlet struggles with taking action on the revenge of his father as he must be certain in the truth prior to acting. In order for Hamlet to take revenge his morals require him to take an extensive path to find certainty before action. Thus delaying any mentioned actions. Horatio suggests that the ghost is the devil steering Hamlet into danger. With this suggestion Hamlet could not possibly fight the urge to find the truth. The first plan Hamlet formulates to prove Claudius’ guilt is to fake insanity, in hopes that he will catch the involved off guard. To guarantee a truthful answer Hamlet creates a trap for Claudius to determine if he is the murderer of his father, as he states, “The spirit I have seen/May be the devil…I’ll have grounds/More relative than this. The play’s the thing/Wherein I’ll catch the conscience of the king” (Shakespeare, 2.2.596-603). Hamlet is unable to overcome his uncertainties to simply get the task of revenge done. In the excessive process of finding his way of revenge, Hamlet destroys the purity around him. Ultimately Hamlet’s uncertainties lead to his indecisiveness, later leading to his self-destruct.
    Taking action upon revenge is a simple task as Laertes validates after the murder of his father. Being in the same shoes as Laertes, it is strange that Hamlet lingers on indecision rather than taking immediate action to avenge. Deciding between what his certainties are and his morals is something Hamlet is incapable of and in turn leaving him inactive. Even when being given the perfect opportunity to avenge, Hamlet doubts his ability to decide: “Now might I do it pat, now he is praying; /And now I’ll do’t: and so he goes to heaven:/And so am I revenged. That would be scann’d” (3.3.74-76). Hamlet hesitates in killing Claudius as he over analyzes the situation. He concludes that he would be doing Claudius a favour by sending him to heaven while praying and revenge would not be properly sought this way. Hamlet remains with the intensions of retribution making him even more dangerous as the play progresses. As Hamlet acts too rationally in this situation, his later actions are polar-opposite as he impulsively kills Polonius.
    Revenge does not come with ease in the hands of Hamlet as he abuses his ability to take action. His moral code and want for innocence causes uncertainties and thirst for truth, disqualifying him as a decision maker. The revenge process causes great destruction and leads to ultimate disaster and tragedy in the royal lineage. The route to revenge is the path of death for Hamlet and most of those close to him.

  23. Suzanne Mattatall
    Ms. Cox
    ENG 4U1
    November 13, 2012

    Betrayal in Hamlet
    In Shakespeare’s Hamlet, there are a lot of different themes. The theme of betrayal appears in the play more than once. The betrayal of Hamlet senior by Claudius shows that Claudius betrayed his own morals, the betrayal of Hamlet by Rosencrantz and Guildenstern shows their distrust from Hamlet, also the betrayal of Laertes by Polonius shows that Polonius has no morals.
    At the beginning of the play Hamlet talks to the ghost of Hamlet Senior, the ghost tells him that Claudius has murdered him by pouring poison in his ear. Claudius betrays Hamlet Senior so that he could be king and marry Gertrude. “My custom always in the afternoon,/ Upon my secure hour thy uncle stole,/ With juice of cursed hebenon in a vial,/ And in the porches of mine ears did pour/ The leperous distilment.” (1.5.61-61). The consequences of Claudius betraying Hamlet Sr. is that Claudius has betrayed himself he betrayed his own morals because of his greed. His greed leads to the death himself and others of which he has not planned for. Claudius is undone by his own greed; he betrays his own morals and his brother for his greed.
    Rosencrantz and Guildenstern were told by the king to spy on Hamlet. They used their friendship with Hamlet as an advantage to get close to spy on him. Rosencrantz and Guildenstern both betray Hamlet. “so by your companies/ To draw him onto pleasures, and to gather,/ So much as from occasion you may glean,/ Whether aught to us unknown afflicts him thus,/ That open’d lies within our remedy.” (2.2.14-18). The consequences of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern betraying Hamlet lead to their early death. The king told them they would be rewarded if they do what they are told, their greed lead to their betrayal of Hamlet. Hamlet asked Rosencrantz and Guildenstern why they were in Denmark with him and they lied, Hamlet lost trust in them. The distrust lead to Hamlet finding the documents of his execution and changing it, leading to the death of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern.
    Polonius agrees for Laertes to leave for France. Polonius tells Reynaldo to go to France to spy on Laertes and report back to him. “You shall marvellous wisely, good Reynaldo,/ Before you visit him, to make inquiry/ Of his behaviour.” (2.1.3-5). Polonius shows his distrust, he does not trust Laertes to be in France by himself because he sends Reynaldo to spy on him. Polonius makes decisions that benefit him. He says to Laertes “This above all: to thine own self be true,/ And it must follow, as the night the day,/ Thou canst not then be false to any man.” (1.3.78-80). This quote shows that Polonius is a two-faced hypocrite, he has no morals because he gave Laertes that advice but is not listening to it.
    In conclusion, the consequence betrayal leads to guilt, distrust or loss of morals. This is proven by Claudius’ betrayal to Hamlet senior by putting poison in his ear to murder him, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern’s betrayal to Hamlet by spying on him when they are his friends to get a reward, and Polonius’ betrayal to Laertes by sending Reynaldo to spy on him while he is in France.

  24. Emma Smith
    Ms. Cox
    ENG 4U1
    November 13, 2012

    Hamlet: An Analysis of Betrayal
    The concepts and theories scattered among characters and events in Shakespeare’s “Hamlet” each provide their own philosophical lesson, and provide a basis for the goals and ideals of important characters. Among these ideals and concepts is the philosophical concept of betrayal. This concept is scattered throughout the entire play, and is witnessed between key characters, including sets of siblings, friends, and spouses, whose acts of betrayal come together to directly affect the young Hamlet, filling him with rage, and a passion for revenge. Their actions culminate and place a great deal of stress on Hamlet, resulting in his final act before his own tumultuous end, of murdering his uncle-turned-stepfather, King Claudius.

    CLAUDIUS AND HAMLET SR.
    The act of betrayal between the two most important brothers in the play is seen when Hamlet discovers that his uncle Claudius has killed his father, Hamlet Sr. Hamlet is informed of this news when his father’s ghost visits him and reports that Claudius has murdered Hamlet Sr. by pouring poison in his ear while asleep in his garden. “Now, Hamlet, hear. ‘Tis given out that, sleeping in my orchard, A serpent stung me. So the whole ear of Denmark/Is by a forged process of my death/ Rankly abused. But know, thou noble youth,/ The serpent that did sting thy father’s life/ Now wears his crown” (I.V.35-40). Hamlet Sr. is angry that he was not absolved of the sins he committed before he was murdered by Claudius, and as a result of this is now stuck in Purgatory. Hamlet replies to this feeling of betrayal with revenge, and decides that he will listen to his father’s ghost and murder Claudius in order to avenge his father’s death. Hamlet also feels the sting of betrayal upon realizing that Claudius used the death of his brother as a means to marry Queen Gertrude. “Mother, you have my father much offended …You are the queen, your husband’s wife …” (III.IV.10-15). Also in this scene, Hamlet demands that his mother not sleep with Claudius again, and also makes sure that she will not inform her husband of her son’s intention to murder Claudius . Hamlet’s anger is pointed towards the death of his father, the worry of a widowed mother, and a man who is not only his uncle, but also his stepfather, whom he must now seek revenge upon.

    ROSENCRANTZ & GUILDENSTERN

    The “betrayal” that Hamlet’s two best friends, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, had enacted upon him, was simply a misunderstood action to help their best friend, as well as an opportunity to take orders from their king. R&G were commissioned by King Claudius to cozy up and spy on Hamlet, to find out if his ambition was to become king and murder Claudius. “I entreat you both/ That, being of so young days brought up with him/ And since so neighbored to his youth and ‘havior,/ That you vouchsafe your rest here in our court/ Some little time so by your companies /To draw him on to pleasures and to gather, /So much as from occasion you may glean,/ Whether aught, to us unknown, afflicts him thus /That, opened, lies within our remedy” (II.II.11-19). Claudius also ordered the pair to deliver a note to the king of England demanding that, upon Hamlet’s arrival, he be killed immediately. King Claudius knew that the old friendship of R&G and Hamlet would be beneficial to him, as he could arrange for R&G to easily speak to Hamlet and get to the centre of his problems. As a response to the betrayal he felt from his friends, after their lying and obvious devotion to the king rather than to himself, Hamlet gets their changes the demands of the letter written to the king of England, and arranges the murder of their death instead of his.

    OPHELIA AND HAMLET
    Before the death of his father, Hamlet was head over heels in love with Ophelia- sending her love letters, and constantly declaring his love for her, while Ophelia, at this time, has never blatantly declared her admiration for Hamlet. When Hamlet discovers that after the death of his father, his mother immediately takes up with his uncle, he is incredibly distraught and feels hatred towards his mother and all other women in his life. “Frailty, thy name is woman!” (I.II.146). This is the beginning of turmoil in the relationship of Ophelia and Hamlet. Ophelia’s means of betrayal arises when she begins to report to her father all details of her relationship with Hamlet. Whenever her boyfriend is near, she remains very quiet and distant, hoping to evoke a reaction from Hamlet, which she can then report to Polonius, who has grown curious of Hamlet’s actions. At the same time, Hamlet has been acting depressed and flat- distant towards his girlfriend. The combination of their weaknesses makes for one rocky relationship, where neither of them can confess their true feelings, and they deny each other any physical or emotional contact that they promised each other at the start of their romance.

    Hamlet deals with each act of betrayal laid upon him by gaining revenge one way or another, most commonly by physical or emotional harm of either the betrayer themselves, or an ally of his enemy. No matter who he plans to avenge, it is clear that Hamlet’s feeling of betrayal will always translate into a passionate arrangement of schemes and plans that take revenge on the offender. The combination of problems with his mother, two best friends, and his girlfriend, cause him stress and turmoil, adding to the anger he feels already for the betrayal that his uncle Claudius caused his entire family. The lesson to be learned from Shakespeare’s examples of betrayal in Hamlet; be careful crossing the path of a cunning and resourceful individual- your actions may become just another easy hurdle in their quest for ultimate revenge, and they could cost you your life.

  25. Laura Vargas
    Ms. Cox
    ENG 4U1
    Nov. 12 2012
    A play with multiple Demensions
    At the heart of every great tragedy lies the universal struggle to address some of humanity’s biggest philosophical debates. Hamlet is an intellectual. He rationalizes his life and all its events and accepts nothing without careful analysis. Shakespeare not only writes one of the best plays in English literature but also raises questions regarding betrayal, self-doubt, and fate.
    In William Shakespeare’s, Hamlet the theme of betrayals is the most apparent’ it is what keeps the play going. Every character bears witness to betrayal in one way or another; Ophelia betrays Hamlet’s love for her, Polonius betrays his son Laertes , Rosencrantz, Guilderstern, and Laertes betray Hamlet, Claudius poisons Gertrude. The greatest betrayal possibly in all of English literature is the murder of Hamlet’s father. This one betrayal causes an entire family and kingdom to fall. Hamlets mother Gertrude betrays her first husband, the first king of Denmark, by marrying the king’s brother Claudius, who carelessly murdered his brother to gain the throne. The murder of King Hamlet and the rapid marriage to his murderer is what sets the play into action. “O, horrible! O, horrible! most horrible!/If thou hast nature in thee, bear it not;/Let not the royal bed of Denmark be/A couch for luxury and damned incest.”(I.v.80-83) It is Hamlet Sr’s asking for revenge that forces Hamlet to avenge his father against Claudius and Gertrude but also find even greater betrayal toward himself and his father when he struggles to take action.
    Hamlet is a play about indecisiveness, a play about Hamlet’s failure to act appropriately or even act at all. Hamlet lacks certainty with many things throughout the play: his mother’s sins, Claudious’ sins, his love for Ophelia, revenge for his father, the list goes on but perhaps his greatest affirmation of uncertainty and self-doubt is in his to be or not to be speech where he exclaims “To be, or not to be: that is the question:/Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer/The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,/Or to take arms against a sea of troubles,/And by opposing end them? (III.i.57-61). Shakespeare has an interesting way of questioning life’s biggest wonders. In this soliloquy there is much deeper meaning to what Hamlet is saying then just the words. Although Hamlet does not blurt out “Should I kill myself?” Shakespeare makes it very evident that “to be or not to be” is Hamlet contemplating suicide. In this scene Hamlet is alone, and appears to be talking to himself but jointly poses the question to the audience now making this one of Shakespeare’s philosophical ideas in the play. To be or not to be is a philosophical debate between life and death, should troubles be endured or escaped? We then see even more debate when he talks about whether or not there is an afterlife, and had it not been a sin would he have been capable. Hamlet does a whole lot of talking in the play but rarely do we see him act upon his words, after all he is a scholar not a soldier.
    In Hamlet, Shakespeare demonstrated that fate is unavoidable and will ultimately win. Hamlet fights until his dying day with himself and for his father, in order to avenge his father’s murder and fulfil his destiny. It is true that he had no choice in whether or not his father was unrightfully murdered but how he dealt with his fate was up to him. The struggle to live between what is good and what is wrong make up a battle Hamlet cannot win. He is aware of his knowledge that his stepfather is a murderer and his mother is a cheater. This is evident by the use of the statement “there is nothing either good/ or bad, but thinking makes it so,”(II.ii.246). It is Hamlets actions and inner struggles that determine his outcome. Hamlet’s conscience pleas for one thing but his father pleas for the opposing. Hamlet is a man who’s fate asks him to correct the wrongs in his life but in doing so Shakespeare raises the philosophical idea that perhaps fate cannot be avoided but that instead life is about the choices made that ultimately decide if and how fate defeats, in this case, Hamlet.
    By creating one of the most deceptive series of events, self-doubt in Hamlet’s inability to act, and fate in how even for the greatest of hero’s it is unavoidable Shakespeare creates not only one of the greatest plays ever written but also raises some of life’s greatest philosophical debates.

  26. Betrayal in the State of Denmark
    Shakespeare’s greatly acclaimed Hamlet is a story of revenge, deceit, and betrayal that deals with will and action, and momentous decisions. In the first act of the play, the minor character of Marcellus says “Something is rotten in the state of Denmark” (I.IV.90). Not only does this reflect the political situation, but foreshadows the deceitful actions to come. There are innumerable instances in the play where the characters betray one another and the trust in intimate relationships is abused for personal interest. Friendship, family, and romantic relationships – the three fundamental social bonds between all humans, are all deeply disturbed by betrayal in Hamlet. There is something rotten indeed in violating one of the most valuable aspects of humanity.
    Friendship is an important bond throughout every stage of our lives, based on mutual trust, support, and commitment. Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, Hamlet’s early childhood schoolmates, have no hesitation to betray their friend for royal recompense from Claudius, and are betrayed in turn by Hamlet to save himself. Although they may not have known the contents of the letter to the English, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern know that Claudius had motives to do away with his nephew for he made it evident in their presence when he makes comments in his disfavour: “I like him not, nor stands it safe with us/To let his madness range” (III.III.1-2). They readily accept missions to spy on Hamlet and to bring him to his death in England from Claudius with knowledge of these motives, and thus meet their bloody end in doing so. When Hamlet exchanges the letters to the English, Hamlet betrays Rosencrantz and Guildenstern to save his own life and condemn them. Earlier in the play, Hamlet recognizes their allegiance to the king and accuses them of playing upon him “like a pipe” (III.II.353-364) as they were. Hamlet justifies his vengeance on Rosencrantz and Guildenstern to Horatio: “Being thus be-netted round with villainies, –/Ere I could make a prologue to my brains,/They had begun the play, — I sat me down;/Devised a new commission” (V.II.29-32). Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are dishonest and disingenuous to Hamlet without reason, and this corrupts their friendship on a deep level. Betraying a friend proves one to be disloyal and not only does this discredit the recipient but also also the offender. Such betrayal results in self-betrayal by distorting the sense of compassion that makes us human.
    The concepts of blood and kinship have always been associated with unity and a uniquely close connection. Brotherhood, especially, represents a strong bond between men. Claudius and the late king Hamlet shared this fraternal bond, but Claudius destroyed it to fulfill his own ambition: “O, my offense is rank, it smells to heaven; It hath the/primal eldest curse upon’t,/A brother’s murder…What if this cursed hand/Were thicker than itself with brother’s blood” (III.III.37-45). Family members allow themselves to be vulnerable to one another to be close and to trust one another, and Claudius took advantage of this for his acquisitive benefit. Although Claudius feels some remorse for his foul deed, he is “still possess’d/Of those effects for which I did murder,/My crown, mine own ambition, my queen” (III.III.54-56), still reaping its rewards and still craves them, and therefore continues to betray his brother. Unlike our other relationships, we are born into our family ties as opposed to choosing them ourselves. Family plays an important role in the life of the individual, therefore to betray one’s family is the ultimate dishonour as it is deceitful to one’s own self in extension.
    The characters in Hamlet struggle greatly with love in their romantic relationships. The men and women alike in the play are found betraying their lovers in significant ways. The love that Hamlet claims to have for Ophelia is both inconsistent and detrimental. He professes his love to her, only later to revoke it harshly: “You should not have believed me: for virtue cannot/so inoculate our old stock but we shall have relish of it: I/loved you not” (III.I.117-119). Yet, upon the discovery of her death, he claims that he “loved Ophelia; forty thousand brothers/Could not but make up [his] sum” (V.I.263-265). Hamlet claims to have loved her more than her own brother, but showed no sign of doing so and uttered words so hateful to drive her to her madness and thus to her death. Hamlet betrays Ophelia profoundly, with a clear disregard for the selflessness that romantic love requires. Gertrude plays both the betrayer and the betrayed. She first betrays her husband, Hamlet’s father, in marrying his brother after a mere two months past his death. This shows deceit in the means of a shameful disloyalty and unfaithfulness to a man that loved her. In the last scene of the play, Claudius betrays his new wife. When Gertrude brings the poisoned cup to her lips, he makes no sacrifice to stop her. Regardless of his cause, be it to not put his plan to kill Hamlet at risk or to evade the humiliation from a shocked public, Claudius lets her drink the wine. His alleged love for Gertrude was limited by his own reputation and therefore betrays his own wife to protect it. These characters choose to deny the people to whom they made promises of devotion in the most crucial situations. Such relationships are based on both physical and emotional aspects, so the betrayal that these characters committed was truly merciless in its cruelty.
    Friendship, kinship, and romance are the ways in which we connect with each other throughout our lives. These relationships are ultimately all that humans have to show for themselves. When these are violated by the contemptible deed that is betrayal as they are in Hamlet, the sacredness in them is lost. The corruption of intimate human connection in these three natures is what causes that part of humanity to become rotten.

  27. The Art of Betrayal

    William Shakespeare is one play write who loves to mess around with fate, especially within his play, Hamlet. Fate plays a very important role within this play, especially for characters such as, Hamlet, Claudius, Ophelia, and Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, but does a character have a certain fate set for them, or does it change depending on every little action others around them and themselves make?

    Hamlet is not only the main character in this play; he is also the character who deals with his fate changing more than any other. Although some may argue that Hamlet’s fate to kill and be killed was set from day one, but that is not that case, Hamlet was never destined to kill, the pendulum of fate constantly swings back and forth with every different action. In Hamlet’s case, he was never portrayed as a very violent person, he may not have been happy with his mother’s marriage to his uncle just a few months after his father’s death, but not enough to kill. Until he meets the ghost of his dead father that many would argue is his change in fate. His fate earlier was to just be a miserable son who was upset with his Mom, and deal with the loss of his father best her could, but upon meeting the ghost of Hamlet Sr. he realizes and is told what he must do, when he hears, “The serpent that did sting they father’s life/Now wears his crown.” (i,v, 39-40). At that very moment something in Hamlet snaps knowing that his father’s death was not by natural causes and that his suspicions about how weird it was that his father died yet his mother married his uncle so quickly were not just insanity but indeed true. That is the first time throughout this play when Hamlet’s fate is changed by simply finding out the truth about something, his fate switches to, “I must kill Claudius for my father”, mode, changing Hamlet’s attitude, actions, and thoughts completely to a murderous state that others throughout the play call, “madness”. By listening to the ghost, he found out a truth he never knew, changing his fate. He had an option to follow that ghost up to the top, and in this case he chose to, and chose to change his fate and bringing Claudius and himself to their pitiful fates ending in demise.

    Hamlet is not the only character who drastically changes their fate with one little choice, Ophelia also makes a tiny decision which changes her life completely. The second Ophelia agrees to help her father and Hamlet’s uncle spy on him talking with her being the arras, things changed for her. It may not have shown quiet in the beginning, but with every move it brought her closer and closer to what she was becoming, insanely mad. By making the decision to help her father betray her boyfriend, Hamlet, she changes her own life because once Hamlet realizes what she has done, he starts saying she isn’t the Ophelia he had fallen for, and to get to a nunnery, and thought he doesn’t stop caring for her, it does seem as if he does. Arguably, her helping them betray Hamlet and spy on him seems to really just bring Hamlet into a really big state of, “so what”, for example, when killing Polonius, Ophelia’s father, he didn’t seem to care very much about the effect it may have upon her, he just drags the body away and doesn’t care, not realizing what would come of poor Ophelia. Though some say Hamlet brought that upon the girl, I say the second she made the decision to help her father without any struggle, but of her own free will, she changed her fate and brought her madness and suicide upon herself.
    As the pendulum of fate swings for Hamlet, Claudius and Ophelia, it also swings for Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, Hamlet’s two childhood best friends. Their fate was changed with one simple bribe. One bribe to take money from the king to spy on their friend, and to also take him to England to be killed. It is not like they took the offer knowing nothing of it, they in fact knew of the kings intentions and motives. They sold themselves out, in a way, they sold their souls to the Devil, who is this case would be Claudius, for some money and praise from the King. Sadly it did not end two well for these two seeing how Hamlet did catch on by reading the letter from Claudius and sending them to their doom. Had they not accepted the king’s generous offer, they would still be alive and them being thrown under the bus by their friend would have never happened.
    Fate is a tricky thing to deal with. Yes, everyone does have a fate in the end, but is that fate set for life from day one? No it is changed by every choice someone makes, by every action decides to do, by any little thing someone says, anything can change your fate, whether it be for the better or for the worse, drastically or not a lot or at all, it can be in all sorts of ways, but it does change accordingly, unfortunately the characters in Hamlet found out the hard way.

  28. Moral and Ethics on Betrayal in Hamlet

    Hamlet, by William Shakespeare, is a play of a young Danish prince who loses a father to treachery and is filled with a desire, and eventually a mission, to kill the new King of Denmark, also his uncle Claudius, for his betrayal. Betrayal lays the seed for this play. As much as Claudius betrayed his brother before the play had even begun, the rest of Hamlet is filled with just as much betrayal. Betrayal is a major component in Hamlet, as demonstrated by Queen Gertrude, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, and the actual country of Denmark, allowing for serious questions on ones ethics or morals.

    Gertrude, a widow of Hamlet Sr, has recently married her brother-in-law Claudius. Many would find this a betrayal of her vows to Hamlet Sr, only recently diseased. Hamlet is one to point this out to his mother.
    Here is your husband; like a mildew’d ear,
    Blasting his wholesome brother. Have you eyes?
    Could you on this fair mountain leave to feed,
    And better on this moor? Ha! Have you eyes?
    You cannot call it love, (III.iv.67-70)

    Gertrude made certain vows to Hamlet Sr during his life. Even though at the death of her husband she is released from said vows she should still feel obliged to continue to live by these vows if she truly did love her husband. By taking marrying Claudius so soon after her husbands death, she shows she did not truly respect or treasure these vows. She had not placed her commitment to Hamlet Sr through life or death and had obviously not placed them as a thing of importance in her morals, showing Gertrude to be one lacking of proper morals.

    Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are old friends of Hamlet. Knowing each other since childhood would create a bond far deeper than splendour or wealth should ever be able to break. But as Hamlet becomes more dangerous to Claudius, we see these two gentlemen think otherwise.

    I cannot deem of: I entreat you both,
    That, being of so you days brought up with his
    And sith so neighbour’d to his youth and haviour,
    That you vouchsafe your rest here in our court
    Some little time: so by your companies
    To draw him on to pleasures, and to gather,
    So much as from occasion you may glean,
    Whether aught to us unknown afflicts him this,
    That open’d lies within our remedy. (II.ii.10-18)

    Once you call someone your friend, or decide that you like someone enough to let them consider you a friend, a moral obligation is made between said ‘friends’. Even though it is unwritten, friends are to be honest, loyal, and protective of each other no matter the reason. As Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are concerned, the king has the power to buy out their loyalty to an old friend. Both of these men break this unwritten moral obligation to Hamlet by betraying their friendship. Their betrayal ultimately leads to a loss of morality and of their own lives.

    Countries of the world have their own code of ethics and morals to uphold. Denmark, under the reign of Hamlet Sr had decided to attack Norway. After defeating and killing Fortinbras Sr, (the king of Norway) Denmark apologizes to Norway for the attack while still retaining the lands taken from the Norwegians. Even though Claudius of Denmark believes the friction between the two countries has been averted, how can Norway ever truly be trustworthy of Denmark again? After the death of his father, Fortinbras Jr decides to secretly take up arms against Denmark. By betraying Norway in the first place, Denmark really paved it’s own destiny to retaliation by Norway. “Young Fortinbras, with conquest come from / Poland, / To the ambassadors of England gives / This warlike volley.” (V.ii.42-45) Norway decides to invade Denmark from Poland. This shows that even though one may try to fix an unethical action committed in the past, the scars left by betrayal are slow and unlikely to heal.

    As seen by betrayals by Queen Gertrude, by Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, and the country of Denmark, you can see how once someone commits to betraying another, morals are usually lost or destroyed. Ethics are tested and ignored in actions of betrayal. In Hamlet the betrayal committed by valued family members and fellow countrymen result in the loss of morals and ethics.
    Joseph LeBlanc
    11:53PM

  29. Helen Zou
    Ms. Cox
    ENG 4U1
    November 13, 2012

    The Deterioration of Motivation Due to: Betrayal, Fate, and Self Doubt

    Shakespeare’s Hamlet is a theatrical composition that conveys a poignant story of Hamlet, a noble hero who eventually meets his tragic end. Throughout the play, Hamlet faces a number of psychological and moral conflicts that lead to his downfall. Such conflicts comprise the betrayal by his lifelong friends and family, his ascertained fate, and his inner struggle of self doubt. Thus, the combination of these elements produces a psychological battle within Hamlet that delays his passion for his actions; summarizing that one must not postpone the ambition to act since one’s motivation often deteriorates as time passes on.

    Rosencrantz and Guildenstern’s betrayal to Hamlet signifies the loss of friendship which is a primary cause that abolishes the morals of trust. When Rosencrantz and Guildenstern insist that they are merely visiting Hamlet with no further intentions, it is evident that something is amiss, and clues both the audience and the protagonist to infer that the two are lying. Hamlet offers valid reasons of why old friends should not deceive each other by saying, “But let me conjure you,/by the rights of our fellowship, by the consonancy/of our youth, by the obligation of our ever-preserved/love, and by what more dear a better proposer could/charge you withal” (2.2.283-287). It is only after Hamlet reminds them of their preserved friendship, such as their youth spent together and their duties as friends, that Rosencrantz and Guildenstern reveal the true reason behind their visit. This indication of betrayal is significant in regard to Hamlet’s lifelong friends who are attempting to deceive him in order to gain approval from the king. The realization that his mother, Polonius, and now his childhood friends are all betraying him through the orders of Claudius, the villain who murdered his father, is astonishing to him. Since the mutual trust he once shared with these characters dissolves as a product of their vanity, Hamlet faces madness, isolation, and defeat.

    The acknowledgement of Hamlet’s definite fate constructs the psychological battles and struggles he encounters, resulting to his breakdown. When Hamlet encounters the ghost, Horatio and Marcellus try to prevent him from following the tracks of a supernatural being; however, Hamlet disregards their warning and continue to track the ghost as his “fate cries out” (1.4.82). The ghost reveals the fate of Hamlet, for he must avenge the dishonest Claudius in the honor of his father’s murder. Hamlet agrees to embark the journey of revenge and vengeance to ultimately cleanse what is “rotten in the state of Denmark” (1.4.90). Although he understands the duty of revenge, he is unsure on how to approach such a deed. As a result of the continuous analyzing on how he must fulfill his fate, his psychological struggles arouse. Ultimately, Hamlet suggests, “If it be now, ‘tis/not to come; if it be not to come, it will be now; if it/be not now, yet it will come: the readiness is all” (5.2.211-213). Hamlet emphasizes the importance of being prepared and rather than raging against the “slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,” (3.1.57) and concludes that one should simply “let be” (5.2.215). Nonetheless, Hamlet’s constant dwelling on the burden that fate put upon him evokes a psychological battle of how he must fulfill his ascertained fate; thus, bringing upon constant self-doubt and the road to his downfall.

    Similarly, the biggest conflict that Hamlet faces is the inner battle of self doubt; hence making this tragic flaw to be the cause of his demise and the reason for his loss of motivation. Prior to his hesitations, Hamlet was a character of determination and passion; however, as time progresses, it is evident that his over analyzing is the cause for his psychological struggle of the deeds he longed to carry out. During the process of preparing the play for Claudius, Hamlet admires how the player is able to incorporate passionate emotions falsely while questioning himself, “A dull and muddy-mettled rascal, peak/Like John-a-dreams, unpregnant of my cause,/And can say nothing—no, not for a king,/Upon whose property and most dear life/A damned defeat was made. Am I a coward?” (2.2.562-568). Hamlet questions his capability to seek revenge and act courageously. He has words to describe his inability to act, however seeks no action subsequently. Hamlet’s self doubt postpones each chance and opportunity to carry out his deed. When he is offered the ideal chance to kill Claudius, Hamlet stops himself and says, “Now might I do it pat. Now he is a-praying/And now I’ll do ‘t. And so he goes to heaven/And so am I revenged.—That would be scanned” (3.3.74-77). This demonstration of Hamlet rejecting the deed of vengeance shows his failure to act due to his doubtful analysis of the situation. By continuously doubting himself, no action is sought out and Hamlet loses motivation. Hamlet later admits that, “I do not know/Why yet I live to say ‘This thing’s to do’,/Sith I have cause and will and strength and means/To do’t” (4.4.42-45). Consequently, Hamlet’s peripeteia is the leading factor to his determination deteriorating and his downfall.

    Thus, Hamlet’s psychological conflicts that cause his defeat are a result of his friends’ betrayal, his inescapable fate, and his fatal flaw of self doubt. Though he cannot control the choice of his friends betraying him and his predetermined fate, Hamlet is aware and in control of the choices he does and does not make. The fatal flaw in this tragic hero is his inability to act; thus, producing the deterioration of his motives. It is clear that without the balance of action and thought, time slips away and one will often forget or lose the passion to act.

  30. The Importance of Betrayal in Hamlet

    Shakespeare’s, “Hamlet” is a complex play which consists of many different philosophical ideas. One of the most predominate philosophical ideas used constantly throughout the play is betrayal. The theme of betrayal in “Hamlet” has very strong effects on Hamlet and the other characters in the play, and ultimately is the most direct cause of the character’s mental breakdowns and death. Gertrude, the queen, betrays King Hamlet and her son and in return is later betrayed by King Claudius. Ophelia betrays Hamlet and is later betrayed by Hamlet. Rosencrantz and Guildenstern betray their friend Hamlet and are later betrayed by Hamlet.

    Queen Gertrude, who is Hamlet’s mother, betrays King Hamlet by marrying and sleeping with King Claudius, brother of Hamlet senior, so soon after his death. “Mother, you have my father much offended…You are the queen, your husband’s brother’s wife”(3.4.10-16). Hamlet confronts his mother about the betrayal she has committed against his father, leaving King Hamlet offended and Hamlet infuriated. Gertrude not only betrays king Hamlet but also betrays Hamlet when she declares to King Claudius that Hamlet had killed Polonius. “And in this brainish apprehension kills/The unseen old man.”(4.1.11-12) She also betrays Hamlet by confessing to Laertes that it was Hamlet who had murdered Polonius:
    “Laertes: Where is my father?
    King: Dead.
    Queen: But not by him.” (4.5. 126-128)
    Instead of saving her son, Hamlet, from the enraged Laertes she saves King Claudius by confessing to Laertes that it was not King Claudius who had committed the murder. At the end of the play Gertrude is betrayed by King Claudius when she drinks the poisoned wine that was meant for Hamlet. As Gertrude goes to drink, Claudius who knows the wine is poisoned, does not make much of an attempt to stop her from drinking the wine. “Gertrude, do not drink….It is the poison’d cup: it is too late.”(5.2.282-284). King Claudius’ poor attempt to stop Gertrude from dying proves he does not actually love her. Aside, he says it is too late, the wine is poisoned instead of telling her that she is going to die and does not show remorse or emotion for the death of his wife. Gertrude’s betrayal causes Hamlet to act mad and want to get revenge on King Claudius for his father’s death. Her betrayal to Hamlet causes his death by Laertes.

    Ophelia, Hamlet’s girlfriend, betrays Hamlet and his love for her when she shows her father all the letters Hamlet has sent to her and tells her father of the affection Hamlet has shown towards her. “He hath, my lord, of late, made many tenders/ Of his affection to me.(1.3.98-99). Ophelia tells her father about what Hamlet has said to her in private. After Polonius tells Ophelia to repel his letters and advances she obeys him. “No, my good lord; but, as you did command/ I did repel his letters and denied/ His access to me.”(2.1.109-111). Ophelia is loyal to her father and obeys his commands but as a result is disloyal to Hamlet. Ophelia also betrays Hamlet by participating in the plan to spy on Hamlet in order to find out why he has been acting mad. “For we have closely sent for Hamlet hither/ That he, as ‘ twere by accident, may here/ Affront Ophelia”(3.1.29-31). Ophelia should be asking Hamlet in private why he has been acting mad and trying to help him but instead tries to make his personal problems public for the king, queen, and her father. Ophelia’s betrayal of Hamlet is an important factor in the play because it causes Hamlet to become angry with her and behave rudely which in the end helps drive her to madness. Ophelia is later betrayed by Hamlet when he treats her horribly and helps cause her to become mad. Hamlet also kills her father, although it was unintentional, the murder of her father was the main reason she became crazy and died.

    Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, friends of Hamlet’s from school betray Hamlet by spying on him and obeying King Claudius’ every command. “Nor do we find him forward to be sounded;/ But, with a crafty madness, keeps aloof/ When we would bring him on to some confession/ Of his true state(3.1.7-9). After trying to get a confession out of Hamlet for his strange behaviour Rosencrantz and Guildenstern report back to the king right away to share with him their findings. This proves that Hamlets old friends do not actually care about why Hamlet has been acting mad or feel sorry for him but instead they just want to find out what has been bothering Hamlet to please King Claudius. Rosencrantz and Guildenstern also accompany Hamlet to England when King Claudius asks to ensure he gets there. They bring him to the ship being aware that they are escorting Hamlet to England to be executed. “Follow him at foot; tempt him with speed aboard;/ Delay is not; I’ll have him hence to-night:/ Away! For not everything is seal’d and done/ That else leans on the affair: Pray you, make haste.”(4.3.55-58). Hamlet, in return for his friends betrayal, betrays them by switching the letters that state who has to be executed in England, escapes the ship, and sends Rosencrantz and Guildenstern to be executed in England. “Folded the write up in form of the other;/ Subscribed it; gave’t the impression; placed in safely/ The changeling never known. Now, the next day/ Was our sea-fight: and what to this was sequent/ Thou know’st already.(5.2.51-55). Hamlet’s betrayal of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern allows him to live and return to Denmark to finally get revenge for his fathers murder. His returning to Denmark also results in Hamlets death, along with Laertes’ and the queen’s deaths.

    Betrayal is such an important philosophical idea in Shakespeare’s “Hamlet” because everyone in some way betrays someone else. Betrayal is seen multiple times through out this play and in the end has an enormous effect on each character. Betrayal leads Hamlet to become mad and seek revenge for his father’s murder which is the main cause of all the other events in the play.

  31. Katie Wilson
    Ms. Cox
    ENG 4U1
    Tuesday Nov. 13th
    Philosophical Ideas Revolving around Hamlet
    Philosophical ideas revolve around questions of why things are the way they are. In
    Shakespeare’s famous play, Hamlet, the philosophical question is what the protagonist
    struggles to come to terms with. The profound ideas of fate, self doubt, and betrayal are
    demonstrated by Hamlet, and ultimately lead to his madness. Throughout Hamlet’s journey to
    seek revenge, he is continuously attempting to comprehend the nature of each theoretical
    concept yet by doing so he becomes morally damaged.
    The theory of fate is that it is inevitable and leaves no one with free will. From the start
    of the play Hamlet is given his fate from the ghost of his father. When the ghost of Hamlet
    Senior tells Hamlet, “Revenge his foul and most unnatural murder” (1.5.25) he is dictating the
    fate of his son by not giving him a choice other than claim revenge against Claudius.
    Throughout the play Hamlet focuses on avenging his father’s death but often diverges away
    from doing so. Although Hamlet is straying away from his duty, his fate of revenge still remains.
    During his strive to understand his fate, Hamlet says to Horatio, “There’s a special/ providence
    in the fall of a sparrow. If it be now, ’tis not/ to come. If it be not to come, it will be now. If it be
    not/ now, yet it will come—the readiness is all. Since no/ man of aught he leaves knows, what is
    ’t to leave/ betimes? Let be” (5.2.205-10). While Hamlet is conversing with Horatio he is able to
    explain that it is out of anybody’s control what happens in the end and that what is meant to
    be will happen. With Hamlet’s certainty of fate he is able to realize that the fact that even with
    all the free will in the world he still has no influence upon his future, which in turn is able to
    derange him.
    Throughout the play Hamlet is constantly questioning his mission of revenge on
    Claudius. He repeatedly doubts himself and as a consequence he drives himself mad deciding
    on whether or not it is right to follow through with the murder. When Hamlet organizes the
    play for more proof on his mission of revenge he says, “I’ll have grounds/ More relative than
    this. The play’s the thing/ Wherein I’ll catch the conscience of the king” (2.2.565-67). With
    Hamlet’s need to have more evidence than simply just the ghost of his father, he comes up with
    a plan to find out if the king is truly responsible for the murder by depending on Claudius’s
    reaction. Hamlet’s plan to observe the king during the play is essential for Hamlet to be able to
    have trust in his desire to revenge Claudius. Hamlet’s habitual inability to act sufficiently and
    doubt his instincts leaves him vulnerable to believe he has truly gone mad.
    The concept of betrayal is frequently displayed throughout the play. During Hamlet’s
    struggle to cope he turns on the one person that he loves most, Ophelia. Hamlet fiercely
    betrays Ophelia by taking back his love for her and profoundly insulting her. When Hamlet says,
    “Ay, truly, for the power of beauty will sooner transform/ honesty from what it is to a bawd
    than the force of/ honesty can translate beauty into his likeness. This/ was sometime a
    paradox, but now the time gives it/ proof. I did love you once” (3.1.113-17) he is questioning
    her virtuous status and evidently slandering the relationship they once had. Hamlet makes it
    obvious that he once did love her yet that time is over. With Hamlet ending his relationship
    with Ophelia he is also abandoning himself since their love was the one true thing he had in his
    life. As Hamlet keeps his true feelings that, “Forty thousand brothers/ Could not with all their
    quantity of love/ Make up my sum” (5.1.247-49) he betrays his heart which ultimately
    intensifies his madness.
    In the end, Hamlet’s constant battles with the nature of each concept sculpt each of his
    actions. The philosophical ideas of fate, self doubt, and betrayal each contribute to his madness
    as he explores each theory deeper. As Hamlet relates to each concept he has a better
    understanding towards why things are the way they are, and is able to accept his life for what it
    is.

  32. The Many Voices of Betrayal

    Hamlet is a tragedy written by William Shakespeare in the early seventeenth century. It takes place in the Kingdom of Denmark where Claudius is the newly crowned King after the mysterious death of the previous ruler, King Hamlet. The plot of the play presents the advancement of Prince Hamlet in avenging the murder of his father on Claudius, his uncle and Gertrude’s new husband. There are many philosophical ideas being incorporated throughout the tragedy such as fate, betrayal and self-doubt but betrayal plays a greater role with the significant characters. It is present between Claudius and King Hamlet, between Gertrude and her two spouses, and Prince Hamlet towards King Hamlet. By incorporating betrayal profusely throughout Hamlet, Shakespeare illustrates the emotional and psychological wellbeing of Hamlet and the other characters and explains Hamlet’s actions over the course of the play.
    The betrayal of Claudius towards his brother, King Hamlet, takes place when Hamlet Sr. is “sleeping within [his] orchard” (1.5.60). Claudius approaches him in his sleep, pours “juice of cursed hebenon” (1.5.63) into King Hamlet’s ear, and the King dies there in his orchard. Claudius commits a serious treachery to the Kingdom of Denmark by murdering their king and keeping it hidden from the citizens. This deed has a great effect on the thoughts and actions of both Hamlet and Claudius. After hearing the ghost of his father recall how his death occurred, Hamlet is insistent on having revenge on his uncle by stating, “Yea, from the table of my memory/I’ll wipe away all trivial fond records” (1.5.99-100). With this, Hamlet states that he will forget all trivial matters and will start acting on his promise. The murder also has a hit on Claudius’ nerves when he exclaims, “O, my offence is rank, it smells to heaven; It hath the primal eldest curse upon’t” (3.3.38). The sin is making Claudius nervous and he wants to repent, but his gains from the murder are keeping him back, so he decides to get Hamlet out of the way.
    Betrayal is present in both of Gertrude’s marriages, with Hamlet Sr. and Claudius. With Hamlet Sr., Gertrude is the one performing the betrayal. Two months after the death of her first husband, Gertrude marries her late husband’s brother. Hamlet informs his mother that ‘she has his father much offended’ (3.4.11) after Gertrude exclaims, “Hamlet, thou hast thy father much offended” (3.4.10). Hamlet feels insulted when his mother, the one who is actually betraying his father, states that he is offending his father. The betrayal that Gertrude presents to Hamlet Sr. enrages Hamlet which causes him to act the way he does with his mother in this scene. Gertrude also betrays Hamlet Sr. when Laertes is questioning the murder of Polonius and saves Claudius from being killed by interrupting, “But not by him” after Claudius states that Polonius is ‘dead’ (4.5.27-28). She is saving the murderer of her late husband knowingly. With Gertrude’s second marriage, Claudius is the one who betrays Gertrude. When Gertrude exclaims she will drink from the poisoned cup, Claudius cries out, “Gertrude, do not drink,” but he does not elaborate as to why she should not drink it so he indirectly murders and betrays his wife as well.
    There is a sense of betrayal between Hamlet and his murdered father because Hamlet does not immediately act upon his promise to avenge his father’s death. The first time he has a perfect chance to murder Claudius is when he is supposedly praying for forgiveness of his sins. Hamlet did not want to kill him then because there would not have been any point of revenge because Claudius would have gone straight to heaven, unlike his father. What Hamlet did not know was that Claudius was not praying so he could have murdered him without worries. By not killing him then, Hamlet continues betraying his father by waiting for another perfect chance to kill Claudius. Hamlet contemplates his lack of action after he finishes speaking with the captain of Fortinbras’ army. He states “how all occasions do inform against me,/And spur my dull revenge” meaning that every event that takes place or person that he talks to reminds him of his inactivity (4.4.31-32). Hamlet is now revising how he has the “cause, and will, and strength, and means” (4.4.44) but he has not acted yet and finally promises that from now on, his “thoughts be bloody, or be nothing worth!” (4.4.65) which will make up for his previous betrayal to his father.
    Throughout Hamlet, Shakespeare frequently incorporates the philosophical idea of betrayal. He presents it between Claudius and Hamlet Sr., Gertrude and both Hamlet Sr. and Claudius, and between Hamlet and his father. Betrayal can work in many ways and have various results, on human nature and their surroundings. However unfortunate it turns out to be, betrayal is a necessary part of our lives. It strengthens our barriers but allows us to lower them to experience and appreciate the true meaning of life.

  33. Nicholas Tough
    Ms. Cox
    ENG 4U1
    November 12 2012

    In Shakespeare’s play, Hamlet, betrayal is shown throughout and through many characters for many reasons, but mostly focusing around Hamlet and Claudius and their relationships with their partners, Ophelia and Gertrude. Thus bringing about the end and realization to the audience of the men’s true intentions.

    Near the end of the play Claudius shows his true colors on the topic of the so called love between him and his wife and queen Gertrude. During the final climactic moments in the end of the play, and Claudius has poisoned the glass of drink, expecting Hamlet to drink it, he doesn’t say much to stop Gertrude from drinking it, only saying “Gertrude, do not drink.” (5-2-283). If Claudius truly loved Gertrude like he said he did, he would have warned her about the poison, or stopped her full out from drinking, which in the end could have saved his own life from Hamlet’s rage after hearing that his mother was killed by Claudius’ poison. This is the betrayal of love on Claudius’ part, going against his vows and showing everyone how much he actually loved Gertrude.

    Betrayal is also used to gain a certain self worth or righteousness, for example all Hamlet can think about is killing Claudius and getting revenge for his father, it drives him mad. It’s in this madness that Hamlet ignores all else and puts his own needs and wants ahead of anything else, even before thinking before acting “Hast me to know’t, that I, with wings as swift As meditation or the thoughts of love, may sweep to my revenge.” (1-5-29). With this, Hamlet does the unthinkable and in a fit of blind anger he kills Polonius, his true love’s father, thinking it was Claudius. Therefore betraying Ophelia and their love because all Hamlet thinks about is himself and his revenge for his father. Claudius does something of the same to Gertrude, as he wants to be king and shows he will stop at nothing to get it, even going to the extent of killing his own brother and then marrying his wife. “Anon comes in a fellow, takes off his crown, kisses it, and pours poison in the King’s ears, and exit.” (3-2-132) betraying his family by killing his brother, and his wife by killing her first husband, all for his own self worth, to be king of Denmark.

    Laertes is another account of betrayal, but this time the betrayal isn’t on someone who’s as innocent as Gertrude or Ophelia, but on Hamlet during their sword fight at the end of the play. Laertes is so mad at the fact that his father and now sister are both dead because of Hamlet’s actions that he finds a way to revenge them in an unfair way. “Hit is here, Hamlet: Hamlet, thou art slain: No medicine in the world can do thee good, In thee there is no half an hour of life; The treacherous instrument is in thy hand, unbated and envenom’d” (5-2-310). Laertes had poisoned his sword, and cut Hamlet between fights after agreeing to a friendly match between one another to display who is the better fighter, Laertes betrays Hamlet and kills him for the honor of his sister and father.

    Between the countless acts of betrayal in the play Hamlet, Claudius, Hamlet and Laertes all commit acts of betrayal for their own different purposes that revolve around the same ideas, revenge, and selfishness, and bringing to light that if one act of betrayal hadn’t been done, none of the others would have fallen on anyone else.

  34. Marty-O
    Ms. Cox
    ENG 4U1
    Nov. 13 2012
    Hamlet: A Self-Betrayal
    William Shakespere is known for writing the most thrilling and evoking plays known to mankind. In his play Hamlet, the content is filled with many themes and motives but the most outstanding concept is betrayal. Not only is this betrayal seen through friendships, but also love and trust – which have been annihilated, ultimately leading to many deaths by the end of the play. This concept can be seen through the lustful rise to power, fake friendships and an intentional mishap.
    Hamlet is known to become rash and let actions reflect his emotions which take complete control over him. With his fathers’ death still fresh on his mind, Hamlet is quite shaken up by the news and while confronting his mother, says, “Mother, you have my father much offended …You are the queen, your husband’s brother’s wife …” (3.4.10-15). Shortly afterwards Hamlet, still depressed about his father’s death, was further upset and felt betrayed by his mother became enraged. As Gertrude calls out for help, noble Polonius tries to aid her only to be killed by Hamlet. Gertrude believes that his actions were raw and rash which leaves Hamlet to reply that it is the equivalent to murdering a king and marrying his brother. Shortly afterwards, the ghost has comes to remind Hamlet of his purpose, that he has not yet killed Claudius and must achieve his revenge. The knowledge of betrayal between Gertrude and King Hamlet truly pushed Hamlet over the edge to commit a murder which could have been prevented and created a motivation for revenge.
    The ideal friendship would be individuals on whom you can count on at any given time or place. In Hamlet, these people are Rosencrantz and Guildenstern. Both of these men were known to be Hamlet’s former childhood friends, in which Hamlet entrusted with the secret that he was not mad. As the play progresses, these men are sent to go spy on Hamlet to gather information for Claudius. The King, knowing that Hamlet will have a weak spot for his friends suggests bringing him to England to initially be murdered. Hamlet has agreed to go to England while Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are aware of the final outcome of the trip along with the betrayal that will haunt them. Not to leave out that Claudius is oblivious to Hamlets knowledge of his plan, which leads the young man to cleverly betray his friends by saying that the bearers of the letter are to be executed. Hamlet explains to Claudius by saying,
    Why, man, they did make love to this employment.
    They are not near my conscience. Their defeat
    Does by their own insinuation grow.
    ‘Tis dangerous when the baser nature comes
    Between the pass and fell incensèd points
    Of mighty opposites. (5.2.60-65)
    Hamlet tells Horatio that he has no sympathy for Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, who betrayed him and favored Claudius over an old friend. The lack of compassion for Hamlet is potentially the driving force to his betrayal over the people who once cared the most for him.
    The common betrayal to imagine would at the hands of man of complete control and power; Claudius. In spite of the countless efforts he put in to kill Hamlet, all of his undivided attention went to the young man. Throughout the play it does seem as if Gertrude and Claudius are in love with all of the devotion and sayings from each other. With much anticipation, the final act proves this previous statement to be false. At times, it seems as if the two were quite in love but would you let your wife die willingly? In the final act of the play, the wine had been poisoned and intended for Hamlet to drink. Yet it had become in the possession of Gertrude, and no one prevented her from knowing the true contents of the goblet. He indirectly killed her and she drank her life away. Even if she would have survived the whole ordeal, would she have truly loved a man who killed her son or even let him get away with any of it? Sadly the only words that seem to come out of Claudius are: “Gertrude do not drink.” (5.2.272). A pitiful attempt to save the woman you love, which shows that Claudius is not willing to ruin his reputation to save her. This proves that no matter what relationship an individual is in or how much affection they show for someone; revenge will come in between and reign supreme.
    Throughout this play, many characters seem to derive on the idea of sacrificing relationships to get where they want. Just like Claudius, Hamlet seemingly loves Gertrude earlier on in the play but commits murder and feels no regret. It seems as if many of the decisions made in the play by major characters are very self-centered base, they were only thinking of what would be best for their own selves. In the end Gertrude went against Hamlet to marry Claudius despite her husbands’ recent death. Along with Hamlet’s old friends taking King Claudius’ side to lead Hamlet to his death bed, only to have the roles reversed. Finally the most controversial couple of the play being King Claudius and Gertrude who willingly lets her perish without interfering. Betrayal may be the most rotten trick one can pull. Generally people expect care and trust, instead of lying and mistreatment but this was Hamlet’s main motif which lead to an epic tragedy.

  35. Laura Sennuck
    Ms. Cox
    ENG 4U1
    Nov. 12 2012
    Shakespeare Play on Philosophical Ideas
    During the life of every human being on this planet, there are moments. But some moments, such as ones of fate, self-doubt and betrayal, can change one’s life. From the fate presented after his father’s death, or the betrayal of those he thought he loved, to the famous quote that debates life in “To be or not to be”, the character, young Hamlet, explores these ideas through moments in Shakespeare’s play, Hamlet. To discuss these ideas, one must go beyond the text and understand how Hamlet perceives these philological ideas. These are philosophical concepts that Shakespeare brings into play during the duration of Hamlet’s life span.

    The concept of betrayal constants reoccurs throughout the play. At the start of the play when Hamlet is faced with death of his father. He shortly was faced with the ghost of his father his first two betrayals became apparent, “O most pernicious woman!/O villain, villain, smiling, damned villain!/My tables,–meet it is I set it down,/That one may smile, and smile, and be a villain” (1.5.106-109). Shakespeare played around with the betrayals of Hamlet and changed him into the action taking character he became in the end. His mother marrying so soon after, Ophelia killing herself, as well as Rosencrantz and Guildenstern dishonouring Hamlet as friends. The unquestionable betrayals of his friends, family and lovers led him to do and act the way he did by the end of the way. These were all part of Shakespeare’s philosophical ideas that were placed upon Hamlet’s character.

    The idea of fate plays a large role in the play Hamlet. When Hamlet is approached by his father’s ghost “The time is out of joint: O cursed spite,/ that ever I was born to set it right!” (1.5. 188-189). Hamlet undoubtedly feels that he was born to avenge his father’s death, and the burden that fate has put upon his shoulders. Shakespeare takes the idea of fate and questions it. During the play, Hamlet tries to take fate into his own hands “Then trip him, that his heels may kick at Heaven/And that his soul may be as damned and black/ As Hell, whereto it goes” (3.3.93-95). Hamlet takes fate into his hands and as he takes revenge on Claudius, he not only wants to kill but to determine where his soul will rest. In the final act, Hamlet finally accepts fate for what it is, “There’s a divinity that shapes our ends,/ Rough-hew them how we will” (5.2.10-11). Hamlet realizes that fate will play out, no matter what tries to stop it “There’s a special/ providence in the fall of a sparrow . If it be now, ‘tis/ not to come; if it be not to come, it will be now; if it/ be not now, yet it will come. The readiness is all” (5.2.210-213). He realizes that fate/death will happen and when it does, one cannot stop it, but to accept it. Shakespeare takes the philosophical and stretches it to the extreme as he challenges, questions, and finally accepting fate.

    During the play, Hamlet vows to avenge his father’s death however, he procrastinates throughout the play and does not seek revenge until the end. This is all due to Hamlet’s self-doubt.Throughout the play, Hamlet exposes his madness and his mind. His self-doubt is caused by all the insanity; The ghost of his father, his mother marrying his uncle, murder, and even the confusion of his love. He cannot bring himself to act and with all his problems is too self absorbed and is confronted with the thought of suicide, “To be, or not to be: that is the question:/ Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer/ The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,/ Or to take arms against a sea of troubles,/ And by opposing end them” (3.1.57-61).This is an important philosophical idea that Shakespeare portrays, as because of Hamlet’s self doubt he cannot come to the realization to accept that fate will occur. Shakespeare pushes the character himself to think past just life itself and develop an intriguing and in-depth character.

    Shakespeare took all of the philosophical ideas; fate, betrayal and self-doubt, and created the character of Hamlet, as the reader sees by the end of the play. Throughout all of his madness and everything he went through, Hamlet as a character was able to develop and become what fate had wanted him to be. With his betrayal he was finally able to act upon what he wanted to act upon. The self-doubt of Hamlet’s character took him to the edge and opened him up to who he was as a person. Shakespeare understood these ideas and went beyond the text to expand and expose these themes within the play of Hamlet.

  36. John Cho
    Ms. Cox
    ENG 4U1
    Nov. 13 2012
    Change Through Time

    Shakespeare’s play, Hamlet, brings up many philosophical ideas a variety of questions and many thoughts in life. Throughout Hamlets’ journey, he questions the people around him. He behaves madly and distances himself from the people he loves. Two of his friends, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are two of the many he questions. Rosencrantz and Guildenstern demonstrate that there is betrayal in the play, that self-doubt negatively affects one’s life, and that one can not fight against fate.

    Rosencrantz and Guildenstern betray Hamlet and take the King’s side throughout the play. The first time they betray Hamlet is when the King calls Rosencrantz and Guildenstern over to spy on Hamlet for him. Claudius explains to them that Hamlet has changed and is asking them to figure out what is wrong with him. Rosencrantz and Guildenstern agree to help out and spy on Hamlet. In Act 3, Scene 1, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern reports back to Claudius and Gertrude to update them on what they have found out about Hamlet. Rosencrantz and Guildenstern betray Hamlet in this scene because they are helping out Claudius and spying on their best friend from long ago. They question Hamlet and try to get answers out of him for the sake of the King. Another time Rosencrantz and Guildenstern take Claudius’ side is when he asks them to take Hamlet to England. They do not think to help Hamlet and try to convince the King to let him stay, instead they both agree and Guildenstern says, “We will ourselves provide./Most holy and religious fear it is/To keep those many, many bodies safe/That live and feed upon your majesty” (3. 3. 7-10). Guildenstern assures the King that it will be done. Rosencrantz and Guildenstern have an idea that Claudius does not want Hamlet but they are agreeing to help get rid of Hamlet. Instead of fighting for Hamlet, they obey Claudius and tells him they’ll take care of it. Rosencrantz and Guildenstern take the King’s side over their best friend Hamlet throughout the play. This shows that Rosencrantz and Guildenstern want to have a better relationship with Claudius than Hamlet. Friends should not betray each other and instead should help each other out. This affects Hamlet because now he has to deal with his friends that listen to the person he is trying to murder.

    Rosencrantz and Guildenstern self-doubts cause them to live their lives as a servant. Claudius orders Rosencrantz and Guildenstern to check up on Hamlet. After given the order, they do not question him and do as they were told. Guildenstern responds “But we both obey/And here give up ourselves, in the full bent,/To lay our service freely at your feet/To be commanded” (2. 2. 27-32). Rosencrantz and Guildenstern do not argue about the fact they have to go against their old friend. They just listen and follow the directions. The fact that they have these feelings of self-doubt may be the the reason why Rosencrantz and Guildenstern do not question what they are told. They lack the confidence to voice their opinion or they do not feel their opinion is worthy to compare against the King. This affects their lifestyle because they do not choose what they want to do, instead are always told what to do. Rosencrantz and Guildenstern follow the instructions given and never disobey. The fact that they are always listening to someone and never giving instructions, they are being used for their position as Hamlet’s best friends.

    It was fate that Rosencrantz and Guildenstern’s life ended badly and that they was used throughout the play. It was out of their control how their death occurs. On their way to England, Hamlet switches the letter from the King with the one he writes. In the letter, Hamlet writes, “He should the bearers put to sudden death,/Not shriving time allowed” (5. 2. 49-50). The letter says to execute the ones that delivers this letter. Rosencrantz and Guildenstern being the ones to deliver the letter, dies. It was out of their hands to prevent this from happening. They did not know the letter said to murder the messengers. They could not control the action of Hamlet. It was because of fate that lives end badly, and fate also explain why they were pawns. Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are known as one person. After they say they will obey the King and the Queen, Claudius replies back saying “Thanks, Rosencrantz and gentle Guildenstern” (2. 2. 33). Right after, Gertrude says, ” Thanks, Guildenstern and gentle Rosencrantz” (2. 2. 34). The King and Queen treat them both as one person. They said the same thing but switched the names around. This means that the Queen and the King do not know which one is which and the characters are interchangeable. When Rosencrantz and Guildenstern enter the room, Claudius says “Moreover that we much did long to see you” (2. 2. 2). Claudius says ‘you’, implying that he sees them as one person. Throughout the play, Guildenstern and Rosencrantz are used as pawns. When Claudius wants to find the body of Polonius, he calls in Rosencrantz and Guildenstern and says “Friends both, go join you with some further aid./Hamlet in madness hath Polonius slain,/And from his mother’s closet hath he dragged him./Go seek him out, speak fair, and bring the body/Into the chapel. I pray you, haste in this” (4. 1. 34-38). He requests them to find the body from Hamlet. They do not say anything and run off to complete their task. They are just pawns in the play because Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are friends with Hamlet so Claudius is using them to get information out of him. They were brought in by the King to spy on Hamlet. Rosencrantz and Guildenstern obey without any doubts of the King. Throughout the play, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern betray Hamlet and takes Claudius’ side. All their actions, which are some obstacles that Hamlet has to deal with because Rosencrantz and Guildenstern work for Claudius, lead up to their fate.

    Throughout the play, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern demonstrate betrayal towards Hamlet, self-doubt in one’s life affect negatively, and fate decides one’s life. Rosencrantz and Guildenstern betrays Hamlet and chooses to obey Claudius’ directions against Hamlet. They also self-doubt that causes them to be used. This being fate, they are being used as a pawn throughout the play. This shows how one reacts with another can influence the future of one’s life.

  37. The Betrayal of Destruction
    The theme of betrayal is evident within the play, Hamlet written by William Shakespeare time and time again. Like clockwork, a character is sure to be going behind another’s back for their own gain within the corrupted castle walls. It is arguably the most important theme within the play, and one that compromises the positions of different characters in the sense of morality. The theme of betrayal raises deeper issues within the play, and creates conflicts bigger than any of the characters. By using the theme of betrayal, William Shakespeare portrays the destruction of a nation, destruction of one’s self in the sense of the destruction of reasonable thinking and sanity, and finally the destruction of innocence. He portrays this theme through the characters in the play, more specifically Gertrude and Claudius, Hamlet, and finally, Ophelia.
    The first incident of betrayal within the play is in regards to Gertrude and Claudius. With the first visitation of the ghost, the reader finds out, along with Hamlet, that Hamlet Sr. did not simply pass on by the poison of a snake; rather he was killed by the metaphorical snake that is his brother, Claudius. This incident of betrayal happens even before the play begins, and is arguably the first incident of betrayal. This is obviously an incidence of deep betrayal within Denmark. The power hungry Claudius, however, thinks himself free of being discovered, and plays his part in pretending to care for the ‘death’ of his brother. Oblivious to this fact, Gertrude marries her late husband’s brother, or the new king, within a month of Hamlet Sr.’s burial. Hamlet scathingly remarks “Thrift, thrift Horatio!/the funeral baked meats/Did coldly forth the marriage tables” (1.2.179-180). It is obvious that Hamlet neither supports the new appointment of king nor the marriage between his mother and uncle; in fact, he sees it as an act of incest. These two acts of betrayal go hand in hand. The marriage between his mother and uncle is a result of the murder of his father, therefore the betrayal between kinship is evident here. There are many hints throughout the play pointing towards the demise of Denmark by Claudius, and in turn Gertrude’s, hands. For example, when Marcellus states, “Something is rotten in the state of Denmark.” (1.4.90). This is spoken when the ghost appears, and Marcellus and Horatio debate on whether they shall follow Hamlet and the ghost or not. When he says this line, he does not only mean that the ghost is an off-putting presence, but the bad, or ‘rotten’ morals of the new ruler are connected to the literal ‘rotten’ state of Denmark as it is all but in a state of war. The bad happenings outside of the castle are a reflection of the corruption within the castle. After they pass on, Denmark is literally taken, and is ruled by Fortinbras Jr. in the end. Thus the betrayal of Claudius to his brother and the betrayal of Gertrude to her husband bring about the destruction of the kingdom of Denmark.

    Hamlet commits an act of betrayal both to himself, and to his late father. After finding out the truth of his father’s murder by the ghost of his father, Hamlet immediately decides to hatch a plan to avenge Hamlet Sr.’s murder. His first action is pretending he is insane, however, his plan all but stops at that. His ‘insanity’ drags on for the entire play without him taking any further action. When he is close to killing Claudius, he finds him praying, so he decides to delay his murder to a time when he is sinning. When Hamlet is arguing with his mother, he gets another visit from the ghost of his father. Upon seeing the ghost, he regretfully cries, “Do you not come your tardy son to chide,/ That, lapsed in time and passion, lets go by/The important acting of your dread command?/ O, say!” (3.4.108-111). Here, Hamlet sees himself as betraying his father by delaying his actions so much. He is also, perhaps unknowingly, betraying himself, as he continuously has to motivate himself to carry on with his mission as he delays it as much as possible. Hamlet’s betrayal of himself and the betrayal of his promise to his father bring about the demise or destruction of one’s self, or one’s mental state. Hamlet knows he must go through with the task, yet his betrayal leads his mental destruction, an in turn, physically when he dies.

    Finally, Ophelia is the center of another act of betrayal within the play. From the very beginning, Ophelia is portrayed as innocent, yet easily influenced which may be due to her naivety. She is pressured by her father to end her relationship with Hamlet, which she readily agrees to. When Claudius and her father, Polonius, use Hamlet’s love for her to their advantage, they manage to convince Ophelia to speak with Hamlet in his state of madness while they spy on them. By not only agreeing to do this, but following through, she betrays the trust of Hamlet who knows that they are being spied upon. Hamlet, in turn, manipulates the situation to his advantage and makes himself appear even more insane to the spying pair. He also pretends he does not love her anymore when he says, “Get thee to a nunnery: why wouldst thou be a breeder of sinners? (3.1.121-122). Here, he is not only insulting Ophelia, but women in general as a release of his pent-up anger towards Gertrude. By betraying Hamlet, Ophelia becomes involved in this big situation of betrayal after betrayal, and this leads to her downfall. By involving herself, Ophelia’s consequence is the destruction of her innocence. She loses her innocence both literally, to Hamlet which her father warned her about, and in mind, as the betrayal of Hamlet and the death of her father turn her insane. Had she supported Hamlet and not gone against him though he loved her, then his ‘betrayal’ to her would not have come about, and she might have avoided insanity by the end of the play. With the destruction of her innocence came about her suicide, as her father’s death and her seeing the true state of man lead her to her death. Thus the corruption surrounding her, and her own betrayal lead to the destruction of innocence, both within herself and the play in general, this eventually leads to her death.

    Therefore, with the theme of betrayal within this play comes about destruction of all good within Denmark. With the betrayal within Hamlet’s family by Gertrude and Claudius, the destruction of Denmark takes place, Hamlet’s betrayal of himself and the late king brings about the destruction of one’s self, and finally Ophelia’s betrayal of Hamlet comes about the destruction of innocence within the play. The betrayal within this play not only brings about the death or destruction of most characters, it also brings about the death or destruction within the characters.

  38. Hamlet’s Search for Understanding

    There are several multifaceted philosophical questions addressed in William Shakespeare’s tragedy Hamlet which have yet to be adequately answered by philosophers. Hamlet consistently struggles when faced with the questions of betrayal, fate, and self-doubt as he tries to seek truth and understanding regarding his father’s death.

    Through Hamlet’s introspection and his soliloquies the audience is able to witness Gertrude’s betrayal to her son Hamlet and to her marriage vows. In his first soliloquy he exhibits his anger and confusion regarding his mother’s hasty marriage when he says, “Married with my uncle,/ My father’s brother, but no more like my father/Than I to Hercules: within a month;/ Ere yet the salt of most unrighteous tears/ Had left the flushing in her galled eye,/ She married:–O most wicked speed, to post/ With such dexterity to incestuous sheets” (1.2.151-157). In Elizabethan times, Gertrude’s marriage to Claudius may have been regarded as incestuous and unlawful, and Hamlet holds true to these beliefs in regards to his mother’s marriage. However, Hamlet’s continual preoccupation with the speed in which Gertrude remarried, suggests that he sees the betrayal as more to do with the fact that Gertrude has not undergone a significant period of mourning. Gertrude is eventually undone by her own devices for she is untrue to herself and suffers from guilt as the result of her choices.

    Hamlet continuously struggles with the role of fate and destiny in his life. Hamlet Sr. is murdered by Claudius which is an occurrence outside of Hamlet’s control. He is now forced to seek vengeance which is not his natural inclination but rather the result of fate. For this reason, Hamlet continuously questions his inability to take action. For instance, Hamlet is about to murder Claudius when he realizes that Claudius is praying. He stops himself just in time because he does not want Claudius to get the forgiveness that his father did not have the luxury of receiving. Finally he comes to the conclusion in Act 5 that “There’s a divinity that shapes our ends,/ Rough-hew them how we will” (5.2.10-11) and that ultimately, “The readiness is all”(5.2.218). He believes that there is a fate at work in his life that he can recognize and react to, but that he does not have control over all of the aspects of his life.  This realization finally allows Hamlet to rid himself of self doubt and act, rather than simply pondering how to act.

    Hamlet’s failure to adhere to the promise he makes to his father’s ghost in the beginning of the play is perplexing. Hamlet seems decisive and full of resolution as far as words and present intentions are concerned, but he is plagued by self-doubt and irresolution when called upon to carry his words and intentions into effect. His inconsistent behavior is a manifestation of his lack of trust in himself. He states several times throughout the play that he will take immediate action in the vengeance of his father but his words never quite match his actions. After speaking with the ghost Hamlet vows: “Haste me to know’t; that I, with wings as swift/As meditation or the thoughts of love,/May sweep to my revenge” (1.5.29-31). After hearing the dedication he proclaims, it is almost impossible to believe the amount of time he allows to pass before he holds true to his word. Resolving to do everything, he does nothing. He is full of purpose but void of that quality of mind which accomplishes purpose. Hamlet goes against his father’s avenging wish by delaying the attempted murder of Claudius. In the end, Hamlet’s demise stems from his inability to act in a timely manner.

    While Hamlet stays true to his character for almost the entire play, he does undergo a transformation by the end. He finally resolves many of his inner conflicts, and seeks out the revenge he has longed for since the beginning. In his final soliloquy, a different side of Hamlet is seen. When he finally puts his mother’s betrayal behind himself, accepts his fate, and rids himself of self-doubt, he is capable of killing Claudius.

  39. Shakespeare poses philosophical questions about life and uses his plays to portray his opinion of the answers. Shakespeare demonstrates the powerful influence thoughts have on people and their actions in his play, Hamlet. In the play he writes, “thus conscience does make cowards of us all, / And thus the native hue of resolution /Is sicklied o’er with the pale cast of thought . . . And lose the name of action”(3.1.85-89).”Throughout the play, Hamlet becomes more and more consumed with his thoughts, which causes him to doubt himself and lose confidence. In Shakespeare’s play, Hamlet, the protagonist’s state of mind affects everything he does in the play. In the beginning, Hamlet is determined to seek revenge; however he becomes afflicted by his mind and loses his confidence, which stops him from taking action.
    In the beginning of the play, Hamlet is motivated to kill Claudius and fulfill his father’s wishes. When Hamlet speaks to his father’s ghost for the first time he says, “Haste me to know’t; that I, with wings as swift / as mediation or the thoughts of love; / may sweep to my revenge” (1.5.29-31). Hamlet appears to be upset about what his father has told him concerning his death and quickly concludes that he must “sweep” to his revenge immediately. Not only is Hamlet capable of making a decision, but he is also certain that it is his fate to kill Claudius. Later in Act 1 Scene 3, Hamlet exclaims, “this time is out of joint; O cursed spite, / That ever I was born to set it right!” (1.5.190-191), which also shows that Hamlet has accepted his fate and is determined to take action. Hamlet reacts to his father’s accusations against Claudius with determination, as well an intention to follow through with his word. Hamlet’s reaction demonstrates the immediate actions Hamlet wishes take, which, throughout the play, is slowly forgotten because he becomes consumed by his thoughts.
    Hamlet’s ultimate downfall in the play is his tendency to overthink everything, which prevents him from taking action and keeping his promise. Hamlet does not keep the promise he makes to his father because he becomes consumed by his thoughts. Initially, Hamlet is quick to take action, but his lack of confidence and self-doubt cause him to become hesitant and uncertain. When discussing his inaction in Act 2, Hamlet insults himself by saying:
    Yet I,
    A dull and muddy-mettled rascal, peak
    Like John-a-dreams, unpregnant of my cause,
    And can say nothing; no, not for a king,
    Upon whose property and most dear life
    A damned defeat was made. Am I a coward? (2.2.562-567)
    Hamlet loses his confidence because he allows his mind to influence the way he feels and acts. He convinces himself that he is a “muddy-mettled rascal” and a coward, causing him to lose the ability to follow through with his plans to kill Claudius. Hamlet begins to think with “one part wisdom / And ever three parts coward” (4.4.41-42). Not only is Hamlet insulting his tendency to overthink, but he is also insulting the thoughts in his head. In the first Act Hamlet wants to take immediate action, however, his weakness of thinking too much causes him to lose focus and motivation.
    Hamlet is the perfect example of how influential one’s mind can be. His self-doubt influences him to be indecisive and consumed in thought. As a result, this stops Hamlet from taking action and seeking revenge on Claudius. He delays his revenge by convincing himself that he needs more proof, even though Hamlet is confident of Claudius’ guilt in the first Act. In Act 3 Scene 2, Hamlet finally gets the reassurance he needs to finally take action. Despite his reassurance, Hamlet’s thoughts influence his actions once again moments later when he says, “But in our circumstance and course of thought / ‘Tis heavy with him. And am I then revenged / To take him in the purging of his soul / When he is fit and seasoned for his passage? (3.3.84-87). This quotation demonstrates how Hamlet’s self-doubt influences his actions because somehow he rationalises Claudius praying for a reason to postpone his death. Therefore, Hamlet’s thoughts are the reason he can’t put actions to his words.
    Hamlet’s initial passion and motivation is weakened by his inability to choose actions over words and thoughts. As the play progresses, Hamlet loses his focus, becomes consumed with overwhelming thoughts of self-doubt and cannot follow through with his plans. Shakespeare demonstrates that thoughts can consume a person’s life through Hamlet’s struggle to seek revenge on Claudius. Overall, Shakespeare blames self-doubt for a person’s inaction. He shows that people lose sight of what is really important because they are too busy worrying about details and uncertainties. Furthermore, a person’s mind is capable of stopping them from acting, because its thoughts and insecurities can consume their life.

  40. Abdullah Usman
    Ms. Cox
    ENG 4U1
    Nov. 13 2012
    Use of Philosophical Ideas to Construct a Tragedy
    Shakespeare’s tragedy, Hamlet, is a grasping tale of the life of a young prince and how his life drastically falls into a hole of confusion and chaos as he sets out to avenge is murdered father. William Shakespeare uses the elements of fate, betrayal and self-doubt to steer Hamlet’s life, ultimately leading his life into complete disarray; an epitome of distress, distrust, mental strain and instability, and a race for blood. Hamlet perceives himself unavoidably guided by fate, he is betrayed by his friends and family to the extent of being deceived by his own mother, and he constantly doubts himself resulting in him not being able to take action, further tormenting his own soul. William Shakespeare uses these three principles to stir Hamlet’s life onto a downward spiral of despair and ruin, to structure the basis of a tragedy.
    The concept of fate is a leading aspect in driving Hamlet’s life into mayhem, and turning the honourable prince into a perceived madman, who is constantly laden by the mission of seeking revenge amidst confusion. Since the beginning of the play, Hamlet feels bound to fate. He assumes his destiny inevitable, which is reflected in Hamlet’s words after his first encounter with the ghost and learning the truth of his father’s death. Here, Hamlet feels the burden that fate has put upon his shoulders, “The time is out of joint: O cursed spite,/ that ever I was born to set it right!” (1. 5. 188-189). After learning that Claudius had murdered Hamlet Sr., Hamlet undoubtedly acknowledges that he was born to avenge his father’s death, and he vows to devote his life to the operation of revenge. He complains and moans about this responsibility, but still feels empowered by fate, so he undertakes it. Thus, by accepting and feeling constrained to his fate, Hamlet sets on a bloodthirsty quest to kill Claudius, which is the single most important duty and worry on his mind till his death. His life falls to pieces as his existence merely turns to a matter of scheming, playing mind games and (resultantly) seeing his loved and the people around him get hurt, witnessing some turn against him and running from others who are after his own life. Hence, fate is one major element used by Shakespeare to gradually descend Hamlet’s life into miserableness, attributing to the tragedy.
    Betrayal is another significant tool aiding in disrupting Hamlet’s life and besmirching his existence. The prince continually suffers wounds to his character since those around him constantly backstab him, such as Rosencrantz, Guildenstern, his uncle-turned- enemy Claudius, but easily the figure who’s betrayal hurts him the deepest is his own mother, Gertrude. Gertrude betrays Hamlet and the late King Hamlet by marrying Claudius. Hamlet, being still depressed about his father’s death is further distraught and feels deceived by his mother when she hastily weds Claudius after Hamlet Sr.’s death. “Mother, you have my father much offended …You are the queen, your husband’s wife …” (3.4.10-15) Hamlet expresses how he feels that Gertrude has offended him and his father by marrying the man who killed her former husband. Hamlet is deeply affected and enraged by this act of betrayal, and the evidence of the severe effect of this action on Hamlet can be seen when he acts completely mad while confronting his own mother on the matter, shouting, speaking “daggers” (3.4.98), and insulting her: “Stewed in corruption, honeying and making love” (3.4.95). Hamlet’s being and spirit is dampened by acts betrayal against him, such as that of his mother’s, and for him are a great ordeal. It is also a major cause of his anguish and madness, since he continues to build distrust and the mental pressure that there are fewer individuals who he can dearly rely on in a time of such turmoil. Betrayal is a component used to direct Hamlet’s character, and as such the outcome further darkens the prince’s life and living conditions.
    Possibly the most important factor that navigates Hamlet’s life to his downfall is ‘self-doubt’. Time and again, Hamlet doubts his own character. He questions his motives, ability to act and even his sanity. This trend of doubting himself carried on by the philosophical prince causes him to not take action and to fail in his task of killing the treacherous Claudius. Subsequently, the thought and strain of not being able to complete his duty tortures Hamlet. “The spirit that I have seen/ May be the devil … perhaps/ Out of my weakness and my melancholy” (2.2. 596-599). These lines are spoken by the scheming Hamlet, who is plotting to show Claudius a play portraying Claudius’s sins to make sure if he is guilty. This is an excellent example of Hamlet being plagued by self-doubt. He has been unable, up to this point, to act on his revenge since his meeting with the ghost. He doubts his intentions, and whether it would be just to kill Claudius. He ponders about the truth behind the apparition, saying it might me the devil and doubting his own beliefs. Therefore, Hamlet continues to question himself on whether or not he should pursue his mission and if he is even able to commence on it. Continual self-doubt adds up to Hamlet stalling and not avenging his father’s death, leading to him being intensely agonized and angered. His infuriated and deteriorated state is displayed when he is cursing himself blatantly for not acting and taking vengeance, “Why, what an ass am I! This is most brave,/ That I, the son of the dear murder’d … Must, like a whore, unpack my heart with words” (2.2. 580-583). Furthermore, had it not been for the aspect of self-doubt, Hamlet could have successfully killed Claudius and fulfilled his task earlier, having the satisfaction of successfully accomplishing his goal, ridding himself of the mental burden, and also avoiding facing the unruly scene of trying to be assassinated while witnessing his mother take her last breaths. Shakespeare cleverly puts the concept of self-doubt to use as a device for changing Hamlet’s life for the worst, as it ultimately causes him torment and woe, aiding in constructing and defining the play as a tragedy.
    Hence, the scholarly prince of Denmark, Hamlet, is severely affected by giving-in to fate, being betrayed by his esteemed ones and by his own self-doubt. All of these considered factors eventually lead to Hamlet’s misery, despair and demise. William Shakespeare incorporates these philosophical notions of destiny, betrayal and self-doubt into the play so as to cause Hamlet’s life to collapse into chaos and madness. By doing this, the adept playwright forms the essence and structure of an utterly great tragedy.

  41. Srija Ghorai
    Miss.Cox
    ENG 4U1
    Nov. 12 2012
    Hamlet: Consequences of the philosophical ideas.
    In the play Hamlet written by Shakespeare there are many philosophical ideas that makes the play a bit complex. The theme betrayal is prominent throughout the play and self doubt is also shown in the play. The main character Prince Hamlet is in a dilemma of avenging his late father or following his morals and being true to his conscious. The play shows how different people are betrayed like Hamlet Sr. being betrayed by his wife Gertrude and Hamlet being betrayed by his close friends Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, it also shows how Hamlet doubts his own self. These philosophical ideas show the emotional effects on the characters and as exemplified by the different betrayals in this play one suffers the consequence of his action.
    There are many instances of betrayal but an event that talks about betrayal is Gertrude betraying Hamlet Sr. her ex husband. The quotation which depicts this is “So to seduce! – won to his shameful lust/The will of my most seeming – virtuous queen./O Hamlet what a falling off was there!/From me, whose love was of that dignity/That it went hand in hand even with the vow/ I made to her in marriage, and to decline/Upon a wretch whose natural gifts were poor/To those of mine./”(1.5.45-52). This shows how Gertrude betrayed Sr. Hamlet who loved her with dignity and devotion and she is now living happily with Claudius (Sr. Hamlet’s brother) forgetting her past. This event later on proves that she’s guilty of her action when she says to his son Hamlet Jr. “O Hamlet, speak no more!/ Thou turn’st mine eyes into my very soul,/ And there i see such black and grained spots/ As will not leave their tinct./” She knows she’s guilty and tells Hamlet to stop making her feel more guilty because she cannot help herself as the marks of her sin are really thick and black that it’s difficult to wash them away.
    Hamlet is confused whether he should take revenge as told by his late father or he should stick to his morals. It’s a self doubt which he’s going through. He’s not able to decide what to do and he’s stressing himself too much on this particular thing but somehow he wants to take the revenge from Claudius. He’s going on questioning himself what to do and he has no faith and confidence as he says “Now I am alone./Oh, what a rogue and peasant slave am I!/Is it not monstrous that this player here,/But in a fiction, in a dream of passion,/Could force his soul so to his own conceit/That from her working all his visage wanned,/Tears in his eyes, distraction in’s aspect,/A broken voice, and his whole function suiting/With forms to his conceit? and all for nothing!/For Hecuba!/What’s Hecuba to him, or he to Hecuba,/That he should weep for her? What would he do,/Had he the motive and the cue for passion/That I have? He would drown the stage with tears/And cleave the general ear with horrid speech,/Make mad the guilty and appal the free,/Confound the ignorant, and amaze indeed/The very faculties of eyes and ears. Yet I,/A dull and muddy-mettled rascal, peak,/Like John-a-dreams, unpregnant of my cause,/And can say nothing; no, not for a king,/Upon whose property and most dear life/A damn’d defeat was made. Am I a coward?(2.2.527-547). This soliloquy shows how he was going on baffling himself about the revenge.
    In this play one more betrayal that takes place is when Rosencrantz and Guildenstern ditches Hamlet Jr. Both of them were like really good friends of Hamlet they both grew up with Hamlet Jr. and were familiar of his personality. But they breaks Hamlet’s trust n obeys Claudius who tells them to keep a spy on Hamlet. This event may have caused distrust in Prince Hamlet’s life as he states “No such matter./ I will not sort you with rest of my servants, for, to speak to you like an honest man, i am most dreadfully attended./ But in the beaten way of friendship, what make you at Elsinore?/(2.2.261-264). Friendships are supposed to be intact moral bonds between people but both the friends of Hamlet betrays him and as Hamlet has a hint of them spying on him he no more trusts his friends and it lead to distrust.
    Therefore, through out Hamlet’s play different people faced betrayal and the main character Hamlet Jr. even undergoes self doubt as well. Bt all through the play Hamlet remains strong how ever much he was betrayed by people and having a doubt on himself. It also shows that Hamlet was kind hearted because Guildenstern and Rosencrantz betrayed him who were like his very old friends but still he talked to them softly. In the play Gertrude at least loved her son even though she betrayed her son’s father Hamlet Sr. Thus all these philosophical ideas show how the play Hamlet is a perfect Tragedy.

  42. Clare Johnson
    Ms. Cox
    ENG 4U1
    November 12, 2012
    Adventures of Betrayal
    “For there to be betrayal there would have to have been trust first.” (Suzanne Collins). Shakespeare’s play, Hamlet, is accompanied by a philosophical concept of betrayal. Many characters play a crucial role of betrayal that brings others to their downfall. Relationships are torn apart when the means of betrayal act upon Hamlet from Gertrude marrying her brother in-law, Claudius who takes away King Hamlet Senior’s throne, and Hamlet betrays his own father by not keeping his word.
    Gertrude betrays Hamlet throughout the play. Hamlet, being distraught and depressed by his father’s death, becomes upset and feels betrayed by Gertrude because of her actions. Gertrude marries Hamlet’s uncle, Claudius, only two months after his father’s murder. Gertrude’s actions greatly hurt Hamlet, which is why he mentions, “married with my uncle, / My father’s brother, […] Within a month,/Ere yet the salt of most unrighteous tears / Had left the flushing in her galled eyes, / She married” (I, ii, 151-156). He shows his agony towards the situation and is appalled that his mother would make such an important decision so fast without thinking of the consequences and the feelings of others. Hamlet feels the actions of his mother are not only affecting his own life but also the lives of others.
    Claudius, the man who hides his betrayal and murder, betrays his brother, Hamlet Senior. He kills him in his sleep, marries his wife, and accepts all the pride and wealth of being a king by taking his brother’s throne. Claudius gives a speech, side-stepping how he is in the middle of a very incestuous relationship. He says, “With an auspicious and a dropping eye,/ With mirth in funeral and with dirge in marriage,/ In equal scale weighing delight and dole,/ Taken to wife.” (I, ii, 11-14). By saying this it shows that Claudius shows no emotion for his actions. Claudius is going after what he wants even if he has to betray his own family.
    Hamlet betrays his own father when he does not act immediately in his search for revenge. His hesitation creates questioning of the consequences of his future actions. Hamlet is aware that is cowardly hesitation is from thinking too much. Hamlet says, “To hide the slain? Oh, from this time forth,/ My thoughts be bloody, or be nothing worth!” (IV, iv, 64-65). Hamlet is aware that his motivation, willpower, ability and the means to do his deed are present, but it is all about the right time to act. Hamlet tries to get back on track by telling himself that if his thoughts are not violent, they are worthless. Even though Hamlet is trying to motivate himself, he still betrays his father because he does not act quickly enough to complete his deed.
    This play of betrayal makes Hamlet at war with his own feelings on his deed to avenge his father’s death, Claudius will do everything in his power to get what he wants and Hamlet feels as if Gertrude is betraying him by marrying his Uncle Claudius so quickly after the death of Hamlet Senior. Hamlet thinks he has family that are trust worthy, but in the end trust turns into betrayal. “Betrayal is the only truth that sticks” (Arthur Miller).

  43. Nicolas Goyette

    Debito d’onore 

    Life is hard, everyone know that but I think that Shakespeare knows it more than many peoples. In his Hamlet play, he shows us that life isn’t easy at all. He shows us that life is made of big and hard concepts such as fate betrayal honour doubt and beliefs. In Hamlet play, Shakespeare shows that he is mostly concern about a life with honourable ways and a life where you’re free of your fate and destiny.

    Being free to decide of our fate is the first key concept in Hamlet. In the play, Hamlet has problems with this concept first of all because the ghost of his dad came ask him for revenge. And then when he finally has the opportunity to accomplish his revenge and take the control of his fate back, he didn’t act because Claudius was asking for forgiveness and Hamlet think that if he just killed him he were about to go in heaven when he was the best candidate to go in hell. “Up, sword; and know thou a more horrid hent:/When he is drunk asleep, or in his rage,/Or in the incestuous pleasure of his bed,/ At gaming, swearing, or about some act/ That has no relish of salvation in’t/ Then trip him, that his heels may kick at heaven/ And that his soul may be as damn’d and black/ As hell, whereto it goes. My mother stays: / This physic but prolongs thy sickly days.”(3.3.89-97). The response of Hamlet to this act of mercy to Claudius is that he just continue acting mad in front of him when he starting to tell more and more people that he isn’t crazy at all. The main reason why Hamlet does this is because it’s pissing Claudius off and he kind of shows himself that even if he let him lives he can resist and fight Claudius’s authority.

    The other main point of Hamlet play is the honour. Honour can be seen in some different ways. First you can talk about honour given to an enemy who died in hero. This is the kind of honour that Fortinbras gave to Hamlet when he found his body in the castle. Fortinbras first except to take revenge for his father by taking the life of Hamlet but when he saw him dead on the floor he decided to give him proper burial like Hamlet senior did after killing Fortinbras senior. “Let four captains/ Bear Hamlet, like a soldier, to the stage; / For he was likely, had he been put on, / To have proved most royally: and, for his passage, / The soldiers’ music and the rites of war/ Speak loudly for him.” (5.2.388-393). Fortinbras decided to act this way with a purpose. By giving Hamlet a proper burial he just shows everybody that he is a honourable leader and that he have an hearth even if he conquer the throne.

    The other way to talk about honour is when we’re talking about gentleman honour. In the Hamlet play, Laertes shows a great sense of honour and convictions. When Hamlet ask him for his pardon for the murder of his father, Laertes said that he accept Hamlet excuses but that he still need to fight for his honour. “I am satisfied in nature, / Whose motive, in this case, should stir the most/ To my revenge: but in my terms of honour/ I stand aloof, and will no reconcilement, / Till by some elder masters, of known honour, / I have a voice and precedent of peace, / To keep my name ungored. But till that time, / I do receive your offer’d love like love/ And will not wrong it.” (5.2.235-243). The reason that Laertes still want to fight against Hamlet is to keep his honour clean and free of every coward act. He first came in the castle asking for revenge and he won’t leave the castle without gaining his revenge…or dying trying to have it.

    The William Shakespeare play Hamlet is a great play based on what life can become if you lose the control of your destiny. It shows us that life is mostly based on honour and fate and that people should be free to decide of their own fate.

  44. L. Hidvary
    D. Cox
    ENG 4U1 – 04
    14 November 2012
    To Be or Not To Be – Hamlet’s Destined Fate
    Fate is the predetermined development of events outside of a person’s control. Every thought taken, work spoken, and action committed leads a person to this destiny that is already laid out for them. William Shakespeare demonstrates this in his play Hamlet by using the main character, Hamlet, as an example; at the beginning Hamlet’s fate is given to him by his father’s ghost, and throughout the play Hamlet must learn that his plans might not be the same as what fate has predetermined the end result to be. Through Hamlet’s fated destiny to avenge his father, and how he illustrates his knowledge of this by admitting that he cannot govern his destiny so he finally accepts it, Shakespeare explains the philosophical idea of fate: that one cannot control their own destiny because it has already been decided for them.
    A person’s fate has already been decided for them before this person is even aware of it. That is why Hamlet explains to Horatio and Marcellus that he must follow his father’s ghost because he feels compelled by his fate: “My fate cries out,/ And makes each petty artery in this body/ As hardy as the Neaman Lion’s nerve” (1.4.81-83). Fate is driving Hamlet to follow his father’s ghost because this is when the ghost is going to tell Hamlet of his destiny and of the act that he must commit. Hamlet must commit this act of murder because of an action that he couldn’t control: his father’s murder by King Claudius. None of these things were in Hamlet’s control, but because his destiny had already been determined for him his fate compels him to act.
    Fate also results in a difference of the plans one might make and the end result. This difference is because one cannot control what fate will actually bring, as can be seen in Hamlet’s portrayal of the situation by the play The Mouse Trap, “Our wills and fates do so contrary run,/ That our devices still are overthrown,/ Our thoughts are ours, their ends none of our own” (3.2.207-209). Through the Player King’s dialogue, Hamlet expresses that the plans one makes for the future might be very different from what the future actually brings. By saying ‘our will and fates do so contrary run’ the Player King is explaining that one’s plans might not run parallel with what fate has already determined will happen. This applies to Hamlet’s situation because in the beginning of the play Hamlet commits to avenging his father, but now halfway through Hamlet still hasn’t done it. This lack of action is because his power isn’t strong enough to overcome the strength of fate, as explained by the Player King when he says ‘that our devices still are overthrown’. Hamlet has the Player King depicting his difficulty in dealing with his fate: he has his own plans for what he wants to happen, but now he is beginning to understand that the end result is not going to be because of the plans he makes, but because of fate.
    In Hamlet, Shakespeare also argues that one must accept their fate because it has already been destined for them. Before Hamlet is to go and duel Laertes he is
    explaining to Horatio how he finally understands that he must accept his fate because he has realized that there is nothing he can do to change it. Everything will work out as it was destined. “If it be now, ‘tis/ not to come; if it be not to come, it will be now; if it/ be not now, yet it will come” (5.2.210-213). What Hamlet is essentially saying is that what comes will come, when it comes. By this he means that what has already been predestined to happen will happen, at the time it is meant to. Hamlet continues by saying: “The readiness is all” (5.2.213). Here Hamlet is explaining that one must be ready to accept the fate that has been given to them because they cannot change it; it has already been decided for them. Hamlet is admitting that he can’t control what will actually happen, but he will know when it happens that it will have been his fate all along.
    Through Hamlet’s fated destiny to avenge his father, and how he illustrates his knowledge of this by admitting that he cannot govern his destiny so he finally accepts it, Shakespeare explains the philosophical idea of fate: that one cannot control their destiny because it has already been determined for them. From the very beginning of the play, when Hamlet’s fate compels him to follow his father’s ghost, to the end when he finally accepts his fate because he has realized that it has already been destined for him, Shakespeare illustrates how one cannot choose or control the fate they have already been given. This play forces the audience to analyze their own philosophical idea of fate and how they perceive it, as Hamlet had to do to finally accept his destiny.

  45. Meg Fleury

    Ms.Cox

    ENG 4U1

    Nov 13th, 2012

    Disruption of Trust

    Betrayal is defined to be a disruption of an expressed or thought up trust in another person, relying upon that person for some aspect of his or her life. In Shakespeare’s Hamlet, there are violations of trust through Hamlets family. Gertrude betrays the late King Hamlet by marrying Claudius. Hamlet betrays his father by not obeying him right away. Claudius violated the trust his brother had in him, by murdering him for the crown. These family members act as though they have no conscience. Once betrayed by family, in such a harsh manor, it is almost impossible to forgive and not get revenge.

    Gertrude’s betrayal to the late King Hamlet occurs after a hasty marriage of the queen, herself, to the late king’s brother, Claudius. While the queen should be mourning she is off getting married as soon as possible to use the same food from the funeral in the reception to save money. Hamlet attends their wedding in black, trying to make his mother, Gertrude, realise how immediate and unrealistic the wedding was. Gertrude without a conscience says “Good Hamlet, cast thy knighted colour off,/ And let thine eye look like a friend on Denmark./ Do not for ever with thy vailed lids/ Seek for thy noble father in the dust:/ Thou know’st ‘tis common; all the lives must die,/ Passing through nature to eternity.” (1. 2. 68-73).

    Hamlet betrays his father after making the promise to avenge his death as soon as he could, “Now to my word;/ It is, “Adieu, adieu! remember me.” / I have sworn’t.” (1. 5. 111-113). Hamlet has a conscience unlike his mother and uncle; he goes back and forth with the consequences of murdering Claudius. Missing opportunities, delaying over and over again, “A villain kills my father; and, for that,/ I. his sole son, do this same villain send/ To heaven./ O, this is hire and salary, not revenge.” (3. 3. 77-79). Hamlet driven insane by this struggle finally was pushed to kill Claudius after watching him let his mother consume a drink that he, Claudius, poisoned.

    Claudius disrupts so many trusts; the most important one was broken when he decided to kill his brother. At the time his brother was the king; Claudius wanted the spot light but didn’t want to pay the consequences of murder. Cowardly, Claudius snuck up to his brother while he slept and poured poison in his ear so that King Hamlet couldn’t fight back. Claudius took the crown, widow and kingdom proudly. Eaten up by his own guilt, he acted when he felt threatened by Hamlet. He tries to convince his court that he is protecting Denmark by sending Hamlet away, “I like him not, nor stands it safe with us/ To let his madness range.” (3. 3. 1-2). Claudius somewhat had a conscience through this play, however letting Gertrude consume the poisoned drink, allowed him to give Hamlet all the more reason to kill him.

    These disruptions of a person’s established way of trust by which he or she views, understands, responds and copes to his or her life events are the definition of betrayal throughout Shakespeare’s Hamlet. Gertrude saw no harm in marrying her late husband’s brother so soon after his death. Hamlet waited and waited to take action to finally avenge his father’s murder. Claudius never thought killing his brother for the crown would affect him later on in life. All these betrayals were never thought of to have consequences. These characters never had the conscience to tell them what a bad or good idea was. They disrupted their own families’ trusts and for that vengeance had been in order all around them.

  46. Anna Chandrakumar
    Ms. D. Cox
    ENG 4U1
    13 November 2012
    Thinly Masked Betrayal: the Characters of Hamlet Pulling a Brutus
    Relationships are a key aspect of life. They are created when a bond is formed between two people over a mutual interest, predicament, or otherwise something that has brought them together. With these comes a certain level of trust that is required for a relationship to flourish. Betrayal is a breech of this trust and thus often serves nip a friendship at its bud. At times, a betrayal can be a minute incident that can be looked over, but at other times, it is something that causes irrevocable damage to those involved. Numerous characters in Hamlet are either betrayed or betray another throughout the course of this play and it is ultimately this underlying theme that drives much of the action in the play. Shakespeare explores the theme of betrayal in Hamlet through characters such as Claudius, Ophelia, Laertes, and Rosencrantz and Guildenstern; at various points in the play, these characters are both betrayers, as well as the ones being betrayed.
    Claudius illustrates betrayal well throughout he play for he betrays his brother. He is also the subject of betrayal for his wife, Gertrude, lies him to. Claudius is central character in the play whose action –namely that of killing the former king– serves as a catalyst for all of the events and decisions that follow. This action in and of itself is a betrayal of the trust between them, especially
    since king, Hamlet Sr., was his brother. Hamlet Sr. was accustomed to sleep out in his orchard during the afternoon. There must have been a certain trust in all that inhabited the castle and its grounds for Hamlet Sr. felt comfortable exposing himself and did not fear for his life. This is a time when he is vulnerable and Claudius takes advantage of this by pouring a vial of henbane poison into his ear. Hamlet Sr. explains the result of Claudius’ betrayal to his son saying, “thus was I, sleeping, by a brother’s hand/Of life, of crown, of queen at once dispatched,/cut off even in the blossoms of my sin” (I.v. 74-76). Later on in the play, Claudius voices his the horridness of his dead, “this cursed hand/Is thicker than itself with brother’s blood” (III.iii. 44-45). He recognizes foul nature of his deed, but he also realizes that he is quite content with what he received in turn. Claudius betrays his brother by killing him as he sleeps. Claudius is not only a betrayer; he is betrayed by Gertrude as well. After speaking with her son, Gertrude is sufficiently convinced that he is not mad. Despite this, when questioned by Claudius of their meeting, she lies to him repeatedly saying that he is completely irrational. Though the lie itself causes no perceived harm to Claudius, it is a betrayal nonetheless. Claudius was trusting her to give him an accurate account of what transpired, but she betrayed that trust. He asks as to Hamlet’s mental state, and she replies, “mad as the sea and wind when both contend/which is mightier. In his lawless fit” (IV.i. 8-10). She lies to Claudius later on as well for seemingly no reason whatsoever saying things like, “he weeps for what is done” (IV.i. 28) which is not true; Hamlet fully believed that Polonius deserved what
    was done to him. Claudius questions her as per Hamlet’s mental state and she tells him that he is insane, therefore siding with Hamlet, and betraying Claudius’ trust. Again, throughout the scene she lies about various things of little consequence. Claudius is a central character around whom betrayal revolves. Throughout the play, he both betrays and is betrayed. The underlying theme of betrayal can be found in Claudius when he murders his brother and also when he is lied to by his queen, Gertrude.
    Betrayal is portrayed by Ophelia in Hamlet as she betrays Hamlet and is in turn betrayed by him. Ophelia is dedicated to her father, Polonius. Consequently, when Polonius requests that she stop seeing accepting his affections she is obedient. He counsels her saying “from this time/be somewhat scanter of your maiden presence./Set your entreatments at a higher rate/than a command to parley” (I.iii. 120-123). She dutifully rejects his letters and returns all of his gifts to her. She goes so far as to act as bait for him as her father and Claudius spy on her conversation with Hamlet. Hamlet “did love [her] once” (III.i. 117) but she betrayed that love when she chose to participate in her father’s fiendish plan to spy on Hamlet. In first scene of the third act of the play, Ophelia converses with Hamlet whilst her father and Claudius spies on them. Upon realizing that they are being spied upon, and that Ophelia is taking part in the deception, Hamlet becomes enraged with her and acts cruel towards her. Previously, he had professed his seemingly unconditional love for, only to go back on his word. She truly believed that he loved her, and Hamlet betrayed this ideal by slandering her
    by calling her father a fishmonger –or a man who keeps prostitutes- and her, by extension, a whore. Hamlet then goes on to tell her that he “loved [her] not” (III.i. 121). Besides utterly confusing Ophelia, Hamlet has betrayed her in that he has taken back what he said about loving her. Hamlet made Ophelia believe that he was in love with her and whether he truly was or not, by withholding this love, he has betrayed her love for him. Ophelia both betrays Hamlet and is betrayed by him when she sides with her father, rather than Hamlet.
    The character of Laertes is one who plays the part of both betrayer and betrayed in the play. Laertes betrays Hamlet when he deceitfully conspires for his death. Not only does he take up Claudius’ offer to use a sharpened sword, he concocts his own plan to kill the unwitting Hamlet. He reveals this plan to Claudius as they are conspiring together,
    “I’ll anoint my sword./I bought an unction of a mountebank/so mortal that, but dip a knife in it,/where it draws blood no cataplasm so rare/collected from all simples that have virtue/under the moon, can save the thing from death/that is but scratched withal. I’ll touch my point/with this contagion, that if I gall him slightly/it may be death” (IV.vii. 137-145).
    It is through trickery that Laertes manages to exact his revenge on Hamlet over his father’s death. Even after Hamlet apologizes for his actions and Laertes seemingly forgives him, he still acts out his revenge. Furthermore, he was blinded by his need for revenge to such an extent that he does not see that
    Claudius has no legitimate reason for killing Hamlet. It was dishonourable of Laertes not to warn Hamlet that his own step-father was plotting his father. He conceals the fact that Claudius has poisoned the cup of wine. As a friend and colleague, Laertes treated Hamlet poorly, betraying any trust the young prince may have had in him. People come in to the world having no relationships with anyone save a person’s family. If there is anyone that can be trusted, it is one’s family, however, Polonius violates this trust by sending Reynaldo to spy on Laertes on his behalf. He tells him to “make inquire/of his behaviour” (II.i. 4-5). Polonius is betraying Laertes by sending Reynaldo to question his neighbours and those that know him. Additionally, he instructs Reynaldo to spread some rumours about Laertes while he is in France. Polonius orders Reynaldo tell Laertes’ friends that he is enjoys “drinking, fencing, swearing, quarrelling and drabbing” (II.i 25-26). He would have Reynaldo ruin his own son’s reputation simply so he might know what Laertes is doing in Paris. This is a betrayal of Laertes’ because he trusts that Polonius will not interfere with his life during his time in Paris and he certainly does not expect his own father to undermine his reputation among his peers. Laertes betrays Hamlet by using unfair means to kill him and by not telling him of Claudius’ plans to murder him. He is also betrayed by his father though for Polonius sends Reynaldo to spread lies about him and ruin his reputation.
    Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, in their attempts to please everyone, find themselves betraying their friend Hamlet and being betrayed by the same.
    Claudius sent for Rosencrantz and Guildenstern to find what is wrong with Hamlet because they have been friends with him quite a while and know him very well. Claudius pleads,
    “I entreat you both/that, being of so young days brought up with him/and so neighboured to his youth and ‘havior/that you vouchsafe your rest here in our court/some little time so by your companies/to draw him on to pleasures and to gather/so much as from occasion you may glean/whether aught, to us unknown, afflicts him thus/that, opened, lies within our remedy.” (II.ii. 11-18).
    Claudius is essentially asking Rosencrantz and Guildenstern to spy on Hamlet in his stead. Being so close with Hamlet, they are in an ideal position to do so. On the other hand, having grown up with Hamlet, one would think that they would be reluctant to do so. Nevertheless, they agree to do so. When they are asked by Hamlet why they have come to Denmark, they lie openly to him rather than telling him the truth. In this fashion, they have betrayed him. They lie to Hamlet, but he realizes this and responds, “You were sent for/and there is a kind of confession in your looks which/your modesties have not craft enough to colour: I know/the good king and queen have sent for you” (II.ii 64-67). Hamlet knows that Rosencrantz and Guildenstern were sent for by the king and he sees that they readily obey his command. He was their friend and instead of attempting to ascertain the cause of his supposed madness for friendship’s sake, they chose to
    spy on Hamlet for Claudius and they had the audacity to lie to Hamlet about it. It is so that Rosencrantz and Guildenstern betrayed their friendship for Hamlet –by spying on him and lying to him about it. They are repaid in kind for their betrayal for Hamlet too betrays them. Given the task of escorting Hamlet to England, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern do not know that the letter they carry will ultimately bring about their friend’s execution. Hamlet later tells Horatio that he replaced the letter that was given to Rosencrantz and Guildenstern by Claudius with one he wrote himself. He informs Horatio that he wrote,
    “an earnest conjuration from the king … that, on the view and knowing of these contents/without debatement further, more or less/he should the bearers put to sudden death/not shriving time allowed”(V.ii. 41, 47-50).
    Hamlet’s innocent schoolfellows were put to death upon their arrival to England because of the letter that Hamlet wrote. Their death’s were Hamlet’s doing; he betrayed their friendship not only having them killed for something that they had no knowledge of, but also by instructing the king to have them executed without permitting them to confess their sins. This would have been something terrible for them for they believed that they would not go to heaven straightaway. In a sense, Hamlet was damning their very souls for something that they were not to blame for. Rosencrantz and Guildenstern betray Hamlet by spying on him for Claudius and he then betrays them by having them executed.
    The underlying theme of betrayal is explored in Shakespeare’s Hamlet by various characters such as Claudius, Ophelia, Laertes, and Rosencrantz and Guildenstern; these characters both betray and are betrayed throughout the course of the play. Claudius betrays his brother, Hamlet Sr. when he murders him in cold blood, and is then betrayed by Gertrude who lies to him concerning Hamlet’s madness. Ophelia is betrays Hamlet when she choses to obey her father by refusing Hamlet’s affections rather than be true to her love for him. He repays her in kind by taking away the love he once had for her. Laertes tips his sword with poison and does not warn Hamlet of Claudius’ plot to murder him and thus betrays Hamlet. Laertes is unwittingly betrayed by Polonius whilst in France for his father sends Reynaldo to spy on him. Rosencrantz and Guildenstern both betray and are betrayed by Hamlet. They spy on him and lie to him on Claudius’ orders, thus betraying their friendship. Hamlet does worse by them by having them executed without allowing them to confess their sins. Betrayal is something that runs rampant throughout Shakespeare’s Hamlet and acts as the driving force behind the actions of all of the major characters within the play.

  47. Tyler Gegieckas
    Ms. Cox
    ENG 4U1
    Nov. 13 2012
    Hamlet and Betrayal
    Shakespeare’s play Hamlet explores some of life’s most difficult topics: the idea of fate; self-doubt, and betrayal. Out of those ideas, betrayal seems to have the most significant impact on the characters in the play, and on the emotions of the reader. The opening action of betrayal is Claudius killing king Hamlet and then marrying his wife. This is a direct action of betrayal to family loyalty. Secondly Ophelia and Hamlet’s betrayals of trust through spying and withholding information from one another. And finally Rosencrantz and Guildenstern betray Hamlet’s friendship by sharing information about him to King Claudius. Shakespeare shows through his work of Hamlet, that the philosophical idea of betrayal is one that is relatable and long lasting.
    The first major example of betrayal occurs in the beginning of the play, with the ghost of King Hamlet appearing to Hamlet and informing him of the betrayal of one sibling against another, as Claudius murders King Hamlet and then takes King Hamlet’s widow, his sister-in-law as his wife; “Ay, that incestuous, that adulterate beast, With witchcraft of his wit, with traitorous gifts,–O wicked wit and gifts, that have the power. So to seduce!–won to his shameful lust. The will of my most seeming-virtuous queen.”(1.5.43-45) This example illustrates how betrayal of the family loyalty is a major theme in Hamlet, and sets the stage for other acts of betrayal in the play. The fact that Claudius killed King Hamlet , was the reason the other acts of betrayal could happen.
    Betrayal of trust in a romantic relationship is shown through the actions of both Hamlet and Ophelia. Lies and secrets lead both people to hurt one another. Hamlet decides not to share the information of family betrayal made by King Hamlet’s ghost, choosing instead to distance himself from Ophelia rather than sharing the secret of the betrayal with her. Then, Hamlet seems to feel some betrayal by Ophelia, when he realizes that she has watched and listened to his suicidal thoughts, without showing herself, in order to gain information for Claudius. “Soft you now! The fair Ophelia! Nymph, in thy orisons, Be all my sins remember’d.”(3.1.90-91) this is yet another action of betrayal between the two lovers that leads to them splitting up and the eventual death of Ophelia.
    A third example of betrayal that happens after Hamlet is visited by his father’s ghost involves betrayal of the bonds of friendship, respect and loyalty. Once again, Claudius is at the centre of this act of betrayal, as he asks that Hamlet’s friends try to find out information about Hamlet’s state of mind, to use against him.” And can you, by no drift of circumstance, Get from him why he puts on this confusion, grating so harshly all his days of quiet, with turbulent and dangerous lunacy?”(3.1.1-4) Rosencrantz and Guildenstern told the king how Hamlet is confused but won’t share why. This goes behind Hamlet’s back and in turn betrays him. As a result of the ultimate betrayal of the taking of another life by Claudius, all of the remaining characters’ lives are negatively affected by the different acts of betrayal. With the Kings death, it eventually drove Hamlet insane, this not only ruined Hamlet but also led to Ophelia betraying Hamlet and in turn killing herself. Shakespeare made the theme something relatable so that types of betrayals that many readers of Hamlet have also experienced in their lives can be seen. Shakespeare shows through his work of Hamlet, that the philosophical idea of betrayal is one that is relatable and long lasting.

  48. Shanice Springer

    Ms. Cox

    ENG4U1-03

    14, November 2012

    End of Play Responds: Hamlets Words

    Shakespeare’s, Hamlet, is a play with many philosophical ideas which makes that characters in the play more understanding. Throughout the play the characters go through some rough times and have to find a way out. Hamlet, being Hamlet Sr. son has a lot of responsibility but nothing goes as planned. Three of the philosophical concepts that have an effect on Hamlets life are revenge, self-doubt and betrayal. These philosophical concepts play a huge part in the Hamlets life during this play and at times it may drive him crazy and he may have some unnatural thoughts but it makes the play so much better.
    Throughout this play, one may come across revenge several times. Many of the characters witness revenge or deserve it. Hamlet, being Hamlet Sr. son has a lot of responsibility to get revenge on Claudius. It is said that Claudius killed his brother Hamlet Sr. The ghost, Hamlet Sr, asked Hamlet to get revenge for him “I am thy father’s spirit . . . To tell the secrets of my prison-house . . . Like quills upon the fretful porcupine . . . List, list, O, list! If thou didst ever thy dear father love” (1.5.9-23). One may think that he is asking hamlet but another may think he was telling Hamlet to do this. Being the Prince, Hamlet feels that no matter what anyone says, he needs to follow through with the Ghosts wishes. It’s a lot for Hamlet to handle and he hits some bumps in the road. This is Hamlets life and he starts to second guess everything.
    Self-doubt, a huge philosophical concept that plays a big role in Hamlets life in the play. With the request from the Ghost, Hamlet has a duty he needs to follow through with. Hamlet comes across a lot of opportunities to follow through and get revenge for Hamlet Sr. on Claudius but he over thinks and Claudius remains alive. Hamlets feels so pressured to murder someone that he starts to contemplate suicide “To be or not to be: that is the question: Whether ‘tis nobler in the mind to suffer . . . The heart-ache, and the thousand natural shocks . . . When he himself might his quietus make/ with a bare bodkin? . . . Thus conscience does make cowards of us all . . . Be all my sins remember’d” (3.1.57-91). Hamlet wants to make his father happy and commit to his words but his tongue moves faster than he can think. Hamlet really starts to doubt himself and the fact that he can’t commit to his words. Hamlet knows this is something he wants to do but he knows he can’t. Making the Ghost happy is important but Hamlet can’t do that unless he, himself is.
    Betrayal is another philosophical concept that is important to the play, Hamlet. After Hamlet goes through his depression and contemplate suicide and has other thoughts. If Hamlet committed suicide it would have been a sin but if Hamlet doesn’t follow through with his words and get revenge on Claudius, Hamlet is betraying his father. Life is important to Hamlet and so is everyone else’s life. Following through and killing Claudius is something Hamlet couldn’t do. Betraying Hamlet Sr. was the last thing he wanted to do and it doesn’t seem like Hamlet is the only one betraying him. Gertrude, being Hamlets mother and Hamlet Sr. ex wife betrays them both. Not even a year has passed and Gertrude is married to Hamlet Sr. brother, Claudius. Hamlet feels betrayed by Gertrude because she doesn’t show any sympathy “O, that this too too-solid flesh would melt . . . That it should come to this!/ but two months dead! nay, not so much, not two/ so excellent a king; that was, to this . . . A little month, or ere those shoes were old/ With which she followed my poor father’s body . . . a beast that wants discourse of reason/ Would have mourn’d longer, — married with mine uncle/ My father’d brother, but no more like my father . . . But break, my heart, for I must hold my tongue”. Loving his mother so much, he tries to let her be happy but he knows deep down that it’s not right. One may think that Gertrude is a selfish woman but others may think she is doing this for the best interest for everyone else. Betrayal is a big deal and getting away with it is even worse.
    It is obvious that in Hamlet, these three philosophical concepts play a huge part. The characters in Hamlet go through Revenge, Self-doubt and Betrayal as a huge task and things may not have gone as planned. One may think that Hamlets character is very interesting but very confusing. He is faced with many tasks to follow from the Ghost, he starts to doubt himself and his life but realizes that, thats something he can’t do. Betrayal is an important philosophical concept and Gertrude takes that one too far. Hamlet is a crazy character but the play wouldn’t be the same without him.

  49. asmine St. Louis

    Ms.Cox

    ENG 4U1

    Nov 13th, 2012

    Hamlet: Fate, Betrayal and Self-doubt
    Hamlet

     

                Shakespeare’s Hamlet, a story of corruption, deceit, and betrayal, although consumed by negativity, helps relay a valuable message to the reader through the questions it poses. Within the text of the play lie important lessons that are evident when examining the actions of the characters. Hamlet proposes the opportunity for the reader to investigate the nature of the ideas of fate, betrayal, and self-doubt, in their philosophical form.

           In regards to fate, the play questions the likeliness of it; whether it is legitimate in the sense that it cannot be tempered with or not. Fate is a reoccurring theme in Hamlet, and it plays a major role in the development of the story. When Hamlet speaks to the ghost of his father, he realizes that he must avenge his father’s death by killing Claudius; his problem is that he continuously delays the murder as he feels it is never the right time. Hamlet wants to ensure that Claudius is destined to hell, and to do so, he decides to meddle with fate by holding off on the murder of Claudius, so that he may kill him after a sin is committed. This suggests that Hamlet believes fate can be controlled, but this does not last. Through a series of events, Hamlet begins to realize that if something is destined to happen, there is no way around it. After making a rash decision to read a letter not intended for him, which in turn, ended up saving his life, he states to Horatio that “there’s a divinity that shapes our ends, / Rough-hew them how we will.” Essentially, this is saying that there is a higher power that governs the outcomes of human life, and no matter what mistakes humans make, this destiny set out by the divine spirit will always result.

             Betrayal is an evident theme in Hamlet, and the question it poses is what consequence results due to such an action? A clear example of betrayal and the consequence that follows can be seen when Hamlet first talks to the ghost of his father. Hamlet Sr. demands that Hamlet “Revenge his foul and most unnatural murder.” Here, the ghost of Hamlet’s father is proving that the result of betrayal is revenge, as Claudius betrayed Hamlet Sr. by murdering him while he was in power, and in turn, Hamlet Sr. has requested that Hamlet exact revenge upon Claudius. Betrayal is followed by revenge as a result of harsh feelings toward whoever acted in a disloyal manner, and this is evident when examining the relationship between Claudius and Hamlet Sr.

          The inner battle that results due to self-doubt brings one to question what type of impact this uncertainty can have on a person. As Hamlet experiences depression throughout the play, he begins to question whether he should kill himself or not. In a famous soliloquy of Hamlet, he ponders, “To be or not to be”. Hamlet is trying to decide whether he should continue suffering or just kill himself. The problem with these thoughts is that Hamlet is making a decision to not make a decision; he is not acting on what he should be by choice, allowing his objectives to become more difficult. The same can be said for anyone in any situation; by waiting on something and not following through with it, a choice is made to be inactive and essentially become further away from what was supposed to be achieved. The action of self-doubt ultimately has a negative impact upon a person, as it leads to inactiveness, which in turn leads to a decreased possibility of completing set goals.

               The philosophical elements of fate, betrayal, and self-doubt are all very evident as themes in the play. They pose wonderful questions that help the reader formulate answers in which can be beneficial to everyday life. The story is plagued by evil and wrong doing in the form of corruption, deceit, and betrayal, but there are still lessons to be learned when examining the text in greater detail.

  50. By Annie Gao

    Fate is Beyond Human Control
    In the play Hamlet, by William Shakespeare, fate is a critical theme which underlies the essence of the play. Hamlet, a pensive, noble prince is placed in a situation where he is forced to choose between complying with his moral conscience and fulfilling his filial duty. Hamlet’s fate of avenging his father’s unjust death is a predetermined course of events beyond his control. Although Hamlet has the freedom to choose how to respond to his fate, he is ultimately bound to fulfill his destiny of avenging his father’s murder because fate in unavoidable. Therefore, Shakespeare conveys the idea of fate being a result of forces outside human control through Hamlet’s fated destiny to avenge his father, his response to his fate, and ultimately his eventual realization that fate is, in fact unavoidable.
    Hamlet’s fate is a result of circumstances beyond his region of control. In the beginning of the play, the ghost of the deceased Hamlet Sr. appears before Hamlet to dictate his fate, “If thou didst ever thy dear father love,—/…Revenge his foul and most unnatural murder” (I.v.23-5). In effect, Hamlet Sr. is saying that in order to prove his love for his father, Hamlet must take revenge against Claudius, leaving him with little choice. In fact, the fate that is bestowed upon Hamlet is the result of an occurrence beyond Hamlet’s control; namely, the murder of Hamlet Sr. which is perpetrated by his brother Claudius. Thus, Hamlet has no power to change the circumstances of his fate as it is an occurrence outside of his realm of control.
    Although Hamlet has no power to change the circumstances of his predetermined fate, he has the freedom to choose how he responds in accordance with his fate. Nevertheless, even if Hamlet does possess the power to choose how he responds to his fate, his actions have little to no impact on the outcome of his fate. Hamlet’s response to his fate mainly consists of the manifestation of the psychological impacts of his doomed fate. He subconsciously occupies himself with thoughts that tear him apart, rather than proceeding with the revenge. Moreover, his reluctance to act is summarized in the following soliloquy,
    Now, whether it be
    Bestial oblivion, or some craven scruple
    Of thinking too precisely on the event,
    A thought which, quarter’d, hath but one part wisdom
    And ever three parts coward, I do not know
    Why yet I live to say ‘This thing’s to do;’
    Sith I have cause and will and strength and means
    To do ‘t.” (IV.iv.38-45)
    Hamlet’s realization of his lack of action is prompted by Fortinbras, whose actions serve to foil Hamlet’s own indecision and inaction. In this soliloquy, Hamlet attributes his inaction to his tendency of “thinking too precisely on the event”(IV.iv.40). In fact, it is precisely because of his over thinking coupled with his ensuing madness that has led him to commit several wrong acts, resulting in much distress for himself and the people around him. Moreover, Hamlet’s relative inaction is by cause of his will being unable to overcome God’s will. For example, Hamlet’s hesitation to kill Claudius while he is in prayer(which is what Hamlet believes) is evidence of the power of God’s will delaying the eventual death of Claudius. Another instance of God’s will is when Hamlet’s accidental murder of Polonius prompts Laertes to seek revenge against Hamlet, ultimately leading to Hamlet engaging in a final duel with Laertes. This duel results in Hamlet’s tragic death; but not before poisoning Claudius, thus fulfilling his destiny. Furthermore, his reaction to his fate and the actions, or lack thereof, he took in dealing with his fate has little impact on the outcome of his fate. In fact, his response only serves to exasperate the situation even more. Thus, Hamlet’s response to his fate serves to demonstrate the powerlessness of one’s actions in changing one’s predetermined fate.
    After realizing the fact that human will has little to no power in dictating the outcome of one’s fate, Hamlet finally relinquishes his control to the hands of God and succumbs to his destiny. The surrendering of his control can be seen in his speech towards Horatio, before going into duel with Laertes,
    Not a whit, we defy augury: there’s a special
    providence in the fall of a sparrow. If it be now,
    ’tis not to come; if it be not to come, it will be
    now; if it be not now, yet it will come: the
    readiness is all: since no man has aught of what he
    leaves, what is’t to leave betimes? Let be. (V.ii.210-5)
    In this speech, Hamlet demonstrates a willingness to accept his fate with a calming sense of readiness, for whatever may come his way. After much struggling with the acceptance of his fate, and over analyzing how he is to carry out his fateful revenge mission, Hamlet finally arrives at a resolution: the events that are destined to occur will manifest itself in proper timing, regardless of one’s will and actions in trying to change its course. Therefore, Hamlet acknowledges the fact that fate is unavoidable by succumbing to his fate.
    Therefore, Shakespeare illustrates the idea of fate as a result of forces beyond human control through Hamlet’s fated destiny to avenge his father, his response to his fate, and ultimately his eventual realization that fate is, in fact unavoidable. In the play, Hamlet is forced to punish Claudius for killing Hamlet Sr. and usurping his crown–a circumstance beyond his region of control. Moreover, fate is beyond human control; one can only choose the manner of which one deals with one’s predetermined fate. Even then, one’s actions have little to no impact on the inevitability of one’s fate. God’s will cannot be overpowered by human will, thus any efforts to change one’s fate are deemed meaningless. The ultimate message of the play is that inner peace can only be achieved with the complete surrender to God’s will.

  51. Sydney Shugan
    Ms. Cox
    ENG4U1
    November 13, 2012
    Self-Doubt Leads to Suffering
    A lack of confidence affects both the person doubting themselves, and also the people close to them. In Hamlet, the immense quantity of self-doubt leads many characters to an altered psychological state. Throughout William Shakespeare’s play, Hamlet, characters doubt their actions, words and overall self. The inner conflicts shown by Hamlet, Gertrude and Ophelia affect the play as a whole by developing the characters into their own or someone else’s suffering and madness.
    Hamlet encounters many internal conflicts shown throughout the entire play. He is a man of words but no action. He spends the majority of the play hesitating with his plot of revenge, and overanalysing all of his thoughts. The largest analysis made by Hamlet is whether or not to take revenge on Claudius. He spends a huge portion of the play contemplating his options and the longer that he prolongs his act of revenge, the deeper his suffering becomes. He spends a huge portion of time thinking about how he will kill Claudius before he actually stays true to his word. Hamlet tells the audience that he is suffering in his soliloquy when he says, “To be, or not to be: that is the question:/ Whether ‘tis nobler in the mind to suffer/ The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,/ Or to take arms against a sea of troubles/ And by opposing end them” (III.i.57-61). Hamlet is talking about his own struggle, and he knows that it would be easier to kill himself than to sit in his misery. If Hamlet would have avenged his father when he told him that he would near the beginning of the play, he would not be drowning in such pain. Hamlet’s self doubt leads him into a different state of mind than at the beginning of the play.
    Gertrude’s lack of showing her self-doubt irritates Hamlet, which is shown in the closet scene when he gets violent. He has watched his mother ignore her reality for too long, and results in Hamlet lashing out. Gertrude pretends for most of the play that she has come to terms with Hamlet Sr.’s death, and sees nothing wrong with marrying Claudius. The moment that she shows Hamlet that she is aware of her wrongdoing is in the closet scene when she says, “O Hamlet, speak no more:/ Thou turn’st mine eyes into my very soul,/ And there I see such black and grained spots/ As will not leave their tinct” (III.iv.90-93). Gertrude is admitting that she has refused to admit to who she is as a person, but that she now sees how awful of a person she has been. In Hamlet, Gertrude’s resistance to reveal her self-doubt shows that she has also been suffering.
    Ophelia’s inconsistent behaviour results in her relying on her father. She depends on her father to guide her in every aspect of her life, even love. Ophelia obeys her father’s every word, which is shown after he tells her that Hamlet does not actually love her and she should stop talking to him, Ophelia replies, “I shall obey, my lord” (I.iii.136). Ophelia chooses to depend on her father’s guidance because she is self-conscious and uncertain of herself. This then leads to her madness when her father is killed. If she was not so reliant on her father, she would not have become mad when he died. In Hamlet, Ophelia’s self-doubt ends up leading to her madness.
    William Shakespeare presents many philosophical ideas in his play, Hamlet. Self-doubt is a theme shown to prove how it eventually develops each character into a different mental state. In the play, self-doubt shown in Hamlet, Gertrude, and Ophelia have an effect on the play by driving the characters into their own suffering.

  52. Hamlet:Betrayed and Self-Doubting
    In Shakespeare’s “Hamlet” there are many ideas surrounding self doubt and betrayal. There are instances of betrayal with almost every character, the characters that betray Hamlet the most directly are the king Claudius and his old friends Rosencrantz and Guildenstern. By the end of the play; every character that betrays another is punished because of their actions. Another important idea in “Hamlet” is a character’s self doubt. Throughout the entire play Hamlet is unable to kill Claudius because he keeps second guessing his choices.
    One of the most noticeable cases of betrayal are between Hamlet and his old childhood friends Rosencrantz and Guildenstern. Early in the play when they are introduced Hamlet is very friendly to them, but as the play progresses Hamlet starts to separate himself from the duo when he suspects that they are betraying him. The very first scene that they appear in they are talking to the King and Queen because they have been asked to spy on Hamlet for money, they openly accept their offer when Guildenstern replies that he will “give up himself, in the full bent,/ too lay ourselves freely at your feet” (II.ii.30-31). For Rosencrantz and Guildenstern to betray Hamlet so easily is the most terrible thing a friend can do to another and ultimately ruins their friendship. Once Hamlet is able to tell what they are planning he compares himself to a recorder and says to Guildenstern “Why, look at you now, how unworthy of a thing you/ make of me! You would play upon me; you would seem/ to know my stops; you would pluck out the heart of/ my mystery” (III.ii.354-357). Hamlet says this to him because Guildenstern thinks he can get information from him for the king by easily “playing” him like an instrument. Shakespeare includes this because their betrayal of Hamlet gets them killed when Hamlet discovers the letter from Claudius.
    Shakespeare also uses Hamlets self doubt to show that an important decision must be made cautiously. At the same time if one over-thinks the consequences of their actions they will eventually doubt themselves. In the beginning of the play Hamlet is introduced as a scholar and a scholars job is to think. Hamlet asks himself important questions when he is faced with troubles and, in turn, has five soliloquies throughout the play. When hamlet contemplates suicide in his third soliloquy he decides that he will not kill himself when he says that “conscience does make cowards of us all,/ And thus the native hue of resolution/ Is sicklied o’er with the pale cast of thought,” (III.i.84-86). When he states that “conscience does make cowards of us all” he means that his thoughts have made him doubt himself and choose a different path. This is contrasted to Hamlet’s opportunity to kill Claudius in act 3 scene 3. Hamlet is able to, but when he starts to think about it he realizes he may send him to heaven which would not revenge his father at all. This is different than his soliloquy in act 3 scene 1 because his final decision is for the worse because Claudius was not praying at all so if he were to die he would be sent to hell.
    Claudius betrays many people in the play by lying to them but those are all minuscule compared to the betrayal of his brother Hamlet Sr. By killing the old king and marrying his wife, Claudius puts the entire tragedy into motion. Claudius is happy about betraying his brother due to his new wife and position as king, he will not even repent his sins when he says “My fault is passed. But, O, what form of prayer/ Can serve my turn? “forgive me my foul murder”?/ That cannot be, since I am still posses’d/ of those effects for which I did the murder,” (III.iii.52-55). Claudius is not willing to give up his throne and wife which are the “effects for which (he) did the murder”.
    The philosophical ideas of self-doubt and betrayal that Shakespeare has put into the play affects almost every character. Any character that betrays another is eventually thwarted or killed, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are killed by a betrayed Hamlet and Claudius is killed by Hamlet who was ordered by his betrayed brother. Shakespeare’s other idea of self doubt severely hinders Hamlets ability to act, he uses this in the play to show that a character must be able to think rationally but also must act on these thoughts. Since Hamlet was mostly only able to think, he was not able to act before Claudius made his own plan to kill Hamlet.

  53. Olivia Amu
    ENG 4U-04
    Ms. D. Cox
    A Figment of Reality
    In circumstances when there is no one left to turn to, or if there is no one left to trust, a person must realize that the only thing that can be relied on is himself. A person knows himself better than he knows anyone else, and even so, it can be said that people never know what they are truly capable of. Self doubt is when someone has a lack of faith or confidence in himself, whether it be doubting his ability or strength, or even doubting their justification of an action from the past. When a person starts to doubt themselves, it raises the question of if they didn’t just create falsehoods in their own minds to hide cowardice or guilt. In Shakespeare’s Hamlet, there are many instances where characters including Hamlet, Claudius, and Gertrude, are plagued with self doubt.
    To kill a brother, a man with whom there is a bond of blood, is an act that goes against God, and it is no wonder that Claudius began doubting himself and his honor after the fact. Claudius doubted an action that he performed, and he was plagued with guilt. In the beginning, he justified his actions as being necessary in order to gain the throne, and so he set aside thoughts of blood bonds, family, and even parts of his faith to kill his brother and gain his throne. Claudius’ guilt can be seen later in the play during his soliloquy when he speaks the line “O, my offence is rank it smells to heaven;/It hath the primal eldest curse upon’t,/A brother’s murder. Pray can I not,/Though inclination be as sharp as will:/My stronger guilt defeats my strong intent (3.3. 37-41)”
    Claudius could no longer justify his actions and he could no longer lie to himself. The falsehoods that he’d created for himself to lessen his guilt were no longer enough, and he began to seriously doubt his actions.
    Where Claudius had doubts about the actions he performed in the past, Hamlet had doubts about the actions he was supposed to perform in the future. It is known, that in the play Hamlet, Hamlet himself is a thinker, not a doer. Hamlet enjoys thinking deep thought about all the aspects of life, and he thinks about all of the possibilities that may befall him. But what Hamlet is not good at, is performing the actions that he contemplates. Hamlet severely doubts the necessity of killing Claudius. Throughout the play, readers witness Hamlet’s doubts as to whether or not the ghost was a tool of the devil, or if it could be trusted. When Hamlet finally determines that the ghost was speaking the truth about Claudius murdering Hamlet Senior, Hamlet still finds a reason to not kill Claudius even though he was oblivious right in front of him, attributing the reason to it being unwise to kill Claudius when he was in the midst of praying. Through all of this, Hamlet could not kill Claudius because he was plagued with self doubt; Hamlet lacked faith and confidence in himself. Hamlet speaks the lines “And can say nothing; no, not for a king,/Upon whose property and most dear life/A damn’d defeat was made. Am I a coward? (2.2.565-567)” In this quotation, Hamlet questions his ability to act, and recognizes the need to find answers that he can believe. He later speaks the lines:
    I know my course. The spirit that I have seen/May be the devil: and the devil hath power/To assume a pleasing shape; yea, and perhaps/Out of my weakness and my melancholy,/As he is very potent with such spirits,/Abuses me to damn me: I’ll have grounds/More relative than this: the play’s the thing/Wherein I’ll catch the conscience of the king. (2.2.596-603)
    These lines show that, where previously Hamlet’s self doubt led to inactivity, his doubt about the intent of the ghost causes him to come up with the mouse trap plan, which will later prove Claudius’ guilt.
    Gertrude is another character in Hamlet who is also plagued with self doubt. For Gertrude, a woman who loved her husband, when Hamlet Senior died she was distraught. She sought comfort from those close to her, including Claudius. It was a shock to the kingdom, and to Hamlet, to learn that Gertrude and Claudius were to be married no more than two months after Hamlet Senior’s death, but for Gertrude, it was not until Hamlet forced her to see her disloyalty to her first husband that she began to doubt if what she did was right. It took Hamlet berating her with the truth of her own actions for her to see past her own disillusions. Her recognition of what she had done was met with these words: “O Hamlet, speak no more:/Thou turn’st mine eyes into my very soul;/And there I see such black and grained spots/As will not leave their tinct. (3.4. 90-93)” Gertrude may have had doubts about Claudius for many reasons, however Gertrude discovered the truth about Claudius’ character, and her clear betrayal of Hamlet Senior when she learned how Claudius murdered Hamlet Senior, and then later, through deceit and treachery, Gertrude herself.
    When a person doubts themselves, their actions, or their feelings, it can lead to turmoil and chaos. When people doubt themselves, often it leads to either inactivity and indecision, or rash decisions which can end in failure. In Claudius’ case, his self doubt led to rash behavior in the attempt to murder Hamlet. His plot to murder Hamlet ended up in failure however, as it led to Claudius’ death. In Hamlet’s case, his decision to create the mousetrap plot was successful in finally allowing him to act against Claudius, even if it was in a fit of rage. In Gertrude’s case, she trusted Hamlet, and continued to doubt herself about whether Claudius was who she thought he was, and because of that and the lies she told for Hamlet, Hamlet was able to get revenge for his father. In this way, Gertrude also managed to redeem herself slightly, and prove she truly did love Hamlet Senior. Self doubt can lead to success or failure, as can be seen from Claudius, Hamlet, and Gertrude. Even if unsure about something, formulating a falsehood in order to avoid guilt or cowardice is not the answer. Making a decision is the important thing. To work through the self doubt, and not allow that to make you inactive is what will give the opportunity for success.

  54. Jeff Chan
    Ms. Cox
    November 18th, 2012
    ENG 4U1
    The Hard Life Of Hamlet

    William Shakespeare’s play, Hamlet, deals with many philosophical themes that include betrayal, self doubt and fate. Hamlet Jr is put to the test and faces all three of the listed themes a lone. Hamlet is driven mad by the betrayal of his mother and uncle, his lack of confidence in himself and his predetermined fate.
    Even from the beginning, Hamlet is betrayed by two close family members. Although Hamlet is unaware, he was betrayed twice by his uncle Claudius right from the get go. The first betrayal being the death of his father, Hamlet Senior. Hamlet has no idea that his uncle committed treason by killing his father with poison. Hamlet Seniors death is the first event that commences Hamlet’s madness. The second betrayal is the hasty marriage of his uncle and mother. Hamlet says his mother wept uncontrollably during his father’s funeral. “A little month, or ere those shoes were old with which she followed my poor father’s body/Like Niobe, all tears”(1.2.147-148). A few months later Hamlet’s mother, Gertrude marries his Uncle, Claudius. Hamlet not only feels betrayal but feels anger towards his mother for betraying his father’s memory as well. “She married: O most wicked speed, to post with such dexterity to incestuous sheets!/It is not, nor it cannot come to, good”(1.2.156-158). These betrayals take place within the first act of the play and are not the only betrayals that occur. Hamlet is continuously betrayed by people he once loved. This goes to show that Shakespeare wants us to believe there is a thin line between betrayal and trust.
    Hamlet’s inability to act and avenge his father’s death is mainly due to self-doubt. He never has the confidence to man up and do what is needed to be done. Instead he doubts his ability to accomplish anything and tends to over think the situation. At one point he contemplated suicide because he was unable to decide whether killing his uncle would be the right thing to do. Hamlet’s over thinking and analysis of every situation is ultimately his fatal flaw. “Rightly to be great is not to stir without great argument, But greatly to find quarrel in a straw when honour’s at the stake/How stand I then, that have a father kill’d, a mother stain’d, excitements of my reason and my blood, And let all sleep”(4.4.52-58). Hamlet knows what needs to be done, he even has a reason to do so. Yet he is still unable to act upon his words. Shakespeare really portrays how our mind can really affect our behavior. “As you think, so shall you become” is a quote said by Bruce Lee who really believed that our thoughts control and shape us into who we are. Shakespeare presents the same idea through Hamlet and stresses the importance of confidence in oneself. Without confidence it can lead to the mental destruction of a person.
    Fate is predetermined events that is outside a person’s control. We can only watch our fate unfold in front of us. We are unable to change how it affects our daily lives. Shakespeare portrays Hamlet as a believer in fate. “If it be now, tis not to come; if it be not to come, it will be now; if it be not now, yet it will come: the readiness is all”(5.2.211-213). Hamlet believes there is some sort of superior being that predetermines everything we do even before we are brought into this world. This suggest that Shakespeare himself believed in fate.
    The themes of betrayal, self-doubt and fate all played a huge part in Hamlet’s life. His so called “madness” is the result of these three themes. Hamlet is betrayed by many , he is unable to act quickly on events and had no way of avoiding his fate. Shakespeare suggest that betrayal and self-doubt could lead to ones demise but fate will ultimately decide whether we live or die.

  55. Mark Rankin
    ENG4U
    Mrs. Cox
    Nov. 20 2012

    Hamlet: Betrayal

    Shakespeare’s play, Hamlet, contains many philosophical ideas that give the play a deeper understanding and meaning for the viewer to comprehend. These Philosophical ideas include fate, betrayal and self doubt. Shakespeare maintains the theme of betrayal a lot within the play by having character break each others trust and their own trust. Characters in the play that show the theme of betrayal are Gertrude, Hamlet and Claudius.

    Shakespeare first uses the character Gertrude in the play Hamlet to show the theme of betrayal. Gertrude shows betrayal towards Hamlet Senior and Hamlet Junior by marrying Claudius quickly after Hamlet Seniors death. Hamlet says “She married. O, most wicked speed, to post/ With such dexterity to incestuous sheets” (1.2. 37), which shows that Hamlet felt betrayed because of the how quickly Gertrude had moved on and is disgusted by the incest that his mother is taking part in. This goes with the theme of betrayal because the dead Hamlet Senior had been betrayed by his wife who is suppose to be loyal and if she truly loved him then she wouldn’t get over him so quickly. Gertrude also shows the theme of betrayal by betraying her son, Hamlet, because she let him down as a mother and wasn’t loyal to the family.

    Another example of the theme of betrayal being shown with the play Hamlet by Shakespeare is shown by Hamlet betraying his father and himself. Hamlet betrays his father and his own beliefs by hesitating to avenge his murdered father. “A villain kills my father; and for that,/I, his sole son, do this same villain send/To heaven./Why, this is hire and salary, not revenge” (3.3. 225) is said by Hamlet when given the chance to get revenge on Claudius. This shows that Hamlet is hesitating to avenge his father, and is making excuses when given the change to get revenge, which is betraying his father. Hamlet is also betraying himself because he knows that as a son, he has to avenge his father, but his varying belief in the ghost is intervening with the quest for revenge.

    The final example of the betrayal theme in the play Hamlet by Shakespeare is shown by Claudius betraying Gertrude. Claudius betrays Gertrude near the end of the play when Claudius doesn’t stop Gertrude from drinking the poisonous wine. Claudius says to Gertrude before she drinks the wine, “Gertrude, do not drink” (5.2. 377). These words by Claudius clearly shows that he didn’t care enough to fully stop her from drinking the wine because it wasn’t detailed enough for Gertrude to realize it was poison. Claudius betrayed Gertrude and their marriage because he put his reputation over her life and their marriage. Claudius would rather Gertrude die then to ruin his reputation which shows that he doesn’t truly love her.

    Therefore, Shakespeare’s play, Hamlet, uses many philosophical ideas to give the play a deeper understanding and meaning for the viewers. Shakespeare used betrayal as a main theme throughout the play by having Gertrude betray both Hamlet Jr. and Hamlet Sr. by marrying Claudius, Hamlet betrayed his father by hesitating to avenge his murder and betrayal was shown when Claudius betraying his marriage with Gertrude. Not everyone can be trusted no matter how close of a friend or even family, which is shown by William Shakespeare in Hamlet.

  56. J. Kim
    Ms. D. Cox
    ENG 4U1 -03
    13, November 2012
    The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark
    Hamlet by William Shakespeare, entwines a mixture of self-doubt, and betrayal in the plot to create an intellectually stimulating masterpiece. The two philosophical ideas bring down characters in the play, both great and insignificant. Hamlet’s downfall could be measured in his inability to consider the magnitude of which these character flaws would present. Shakespeare excels in writing this tragedy because these ideas are perfectly complimentary to the characters he creates.
    Self-doubt plagues Hamlet throughout the entire play. It became a poison to his thoughts; made him fall into a state of depression, and confusion, and blinded him to opportunities: “O God, I could be bounded in a nut shell and count/ myself a king of infinite space, were it not that I/ have bad dreams” (2.2.254-256). He realized early in the play that self-doubts were the cause of his depression, and the conflicting thoughts in his mind made him unable to see things rationally. The turmoil in his mind was further exacerbated when he kept thinking about the purity of his mother: “By what it fed on: and yet, within a month–/ Let me not think on’t—Frailty, thy name is woman!” (1.2.146-147). He invited suspicion to himself (3.1.165-190) and gave the king reason to be wary of him because he (Hamlet) was still not sure that revenge and murder were the righteous things to do. Shortly after the “mousetrap scene” occurs, Hamlet found his traitorous, deceitful uncle kneeling in the form of prayer. Hamlet uses this as an excuse for his inability to act because he is still conflicted. For the execution to be truly revengeful in Hamlet’s eyes, Claudius must be caught in an act of sin, with the end result eternal damnation. Claudius is left alone in the chapel to “pray”, yet Hamlet felt more in discord than he had ever been. His mask of madness slowly manifested into full blown psychosis during Act 3 Scene 4. The peak of his insanity causes Hamlet to murder Polonius (Polonius requests for help; it is impossible to think that an intellect such as Hamlet who spoke almost musically in proses, could mistake him for the king, whom he just passed in the chapel.) as he was pulled by conflicting thoughts and emotions to the point of mental instability where he somehow rationalized murdering an annoying, but innocent man. He commits the same crime which he himself was seeking to punish. Hamlet’s self-doubt leads him away from reason, and throws him into impulse, and abandonment of self-control. Frustration controlled his actions near the end of the play, which lead to Hamlet to accept the duel with Laertes, purely through his need to act: “I do not know/Why I live to say, “this thing’s to do,”/Sith I have cause, and will, and strength, and means,/To do’t” (4.4.42-44). Hamlet’s indecisiveness ultimately leads to the death of the royal family, and the deaths of the family of the chief counsellor.
    Betrayal is common for men with no conscience. Rosencrantz and Guildenstern were old school friends of Hamlet: “being of so young days brought up with him/And sith so neighbour’d to his youth and haviour,/That you vouchsafe you rest her in our court” (2.2.11-14). Hamlet welcomed Rosencrantz and Guildenstern with open arms as his “excellent good friends” (2.2.223). The sycophants act friendly with Hamlet, but in reality, were spies for King Claudius. Their guise was quickly seen through by Hamlet, and he gives them a warning to stop what they were doing; as a gift to them for their past friendship: “I will tell you will tell you why; so shall my anticipation prevent/ your discovery, and your secrecy to the king … though by your smiling you seem to say so” (2.2.292-310). Betrayal with the mentality that “it was for the king” as well as money made Rosencrantz and Guildenstern blind to what they were doing. They lost the friendship of a great man, their morality, reason, and were easily manipulated into sending Hamlet to a death sentence. After numerous attempts to keep them from getting involved in his affairs, (4.2.11-12) (3.2.354-365) Hamlet gave Rosencrantz and Guildenstern the only thing he could think of that could absolve fools who refuse to learn from their mistakes; death (5.2.57-63)
    The two philosophical ideas, self-doubt and betrayal bring down characters in the play, both great and insignificant. Shakespeare creates the character Hamlet with well-founded morals, and wrote the play in a way that leads the audience to impart great sympathy for his all of his actions; even murder. His frailty from self-doubt, made him human, and an ideal target for empathy. The ending of Hamlet is ideal because revenge should never be a motive, only an incentive. Hamlet killed the king when he finally had proof that Claudius was a deceitful, traitorous man who had no qualms of murdering in plain sight. It is apparent to those in the court during the poison attempt, that Claudius could just as easily poison the country. Hamlet’s self-doubts were at last resolved, but at the cost of his life. From even the greatest of horrors, irony is still present.

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