What do Polonius, Gertrude, Claudius, and Hamlet have in common in act 2, scene 2 of Hamlet?

In act 2, scene 2 of Hamlet, Claudius, Gertrude, Polonius, and Hamlet have in common a deep concern over something and a tendency toward (and plan for) deception.

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In act 2, scene 2 of Shakespeare's Hamlet, Claudius, Gertrude, Polonius, and Hamlet actually have a couple characteristics in common. They are all concerned about something, and they are all engaged in deception. Let's look at how these play out in the scene.

Claudius and Gertrude are highly concerned about Hamlet's strange behavior and his prolonged grief, so they bring in his friends Rosencrantz and Guildenstern to meet with Hamlet and investigate the situation. They are to act as if they are merely on a visit, but they are really to find out what is bothering Hamlet and to "draw him on to pleasures" if they can. Herein lies the deception (although Hamlet isn't fooled for a moment).

Claudius, of course, has another major deception going on, for he has murdered his own brother (Hamlet's father), usurped the throne, and married his sister-in-law. He doesn't think anyone knows about it, but he is wrong there. Gertrude, too, is engaging in some further deception. She has been trying to fool herself into believing that marrying Claudius was acceptable, but she can't quite do it. She even admits that theirs was an "o'erhasty marriage."

Polonius has his concerns, too. He thinks that Hamlet is madly (literally) in love with his daughter, Ophelia, and this bothers him, because he has told Ophelia to spurn Hamlet's advances, for her social station will not allow her to marry a prince. Now, Polonius wants to use his own daughter as a tool to try to deceive Hamlet and find out if his theory is true.

Hamlet, of course, is guilty of his own deceptions. He is pretending to be crazy in order to buy himself some time to figure out what to do about his father's murder. His insane act is so good that he has everyone worried. Further, Hamlet is highly concerned about the accusations made by the ghost and about his proper response to them. In fact, his concern is arguably much deeper than that of any of the other characters in the play.

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