What role does dishonesty play in Hamlet?I'm also wondering how this changes his actions in finding loyalty in others.

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pfeuerstein's profile pic

pfeuerstein | Student | (Level 1) eNoter

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dishonesty caused the multiple tragedies. the quick marriage of claudius and gertrude intimated earlier intimacy. we can only hope the ghost is honest and learn so after the king's conscience is pricked. hamlet pretends to be mad to find out more about his father's murder. polonius stage manages his daughter, son and the queen. when he hides behind the arrars to listen to hamlet and gertrude hamlet mistakeshim for claudius and fatally staqbs him. rosencrance and gilderstern pretend to be hamlet's friend when they were actually delivering him to the english to be killed. when hamlet puts their names in the instructive note they get killed. when claudius poisons hamlet's wine gertrude 'by mistake' drinks it and dies. hamlet's sword is also poisoned and by purpose and chance it kills both him and Laertes. Only Horatio, the good and honest friend survives to tell the story. and fontinbras who captures denmark honestly gives hamlet a satisfying eulogy. Who can you believe when they all deceive? might be another good question. (pardon my spelling of names.) 


moumi's profile pic

moumi | College Teacher | eNotes Newbie

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Dishonesty definitely plays a major role in both Hamlet, the protagonist and Hamlet, the play. Though the tragedy ensues from Hamlet's prolonged indecisiveness, his vacillating mood, yet one simply cannot be evasive of the dishonesty of Claudius that propels hamlet towards his tragic fall.

The murder of his father in the hands of his uncle, Claudius, renders existence difficult for Hamlet. To add to his wounds, Gertrude re-marries hastily giving vent to their lustful unjust characters. This dishonest, heinous deed on the part of Claudius once revealed to Hamlet by his father's ghost creates a tumult of emotions. Yoked with this is his mother's lack of sorrow felt for the dead husband. Such overpowering emotions create a furore within Hamlet and he commits the twin crimes of murdering Polonius and being the reason behind Ophelia's madness and her final death. His love for Ophelia is walloped by his unusual love for Gertrude as well as the pall of injustice that envelopes Denmark.

It is dishonesty that prevails from the beginning to the end of the play. Most of the deaths take place due to the lack of loyalty. The King is murdered by his disloyal brother, the disloyal wife marries the disloyal brother. Laertes makes use of dishonest means to win the duel, which at the end leads to the fatal ends of Hamlet, Laertes as also Gertrude, who drinks the poisoned wine intended for hamlet, again by Claudius.

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