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What Is The Theme Of Betrayal In Hamlet

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Shakespeare's Hamlet is filled with murder, revenge, and betrayal. The way the characters go about their revengeful murder says a lot about them. Claudius is a manipulating coward: he poisoned his own brother in his sleep in order to obtain the throne. Hamlet is completely indecisive: he spends majority of the play debating whether not to kill Claudius, when he would do it, and how he would do it. As soon as Laertes hears of his father’s death, he leaves Paris and marches an angry mob into the castle to demand blood. The methods in which the protagonist, antagonist, and foil murder others reflects back on their true in our character.

Claudius is a coward when it comes to murder. Claudius finds the most indirect way to kill someone: usually with poison. The King also manages to get Laertes to be the one to fatally injured Hamlet– showing hs manipulative tendencies. “Thou art slain./ No med’cine in the world can do thee good./ In thee there is not half an hour’s life./ The treacherous instrument is in the thy hand,/ Unbated and envenomed… The King, the King is to blame” (5.2.344-51). Here, Laertes is explaining that the king poisoned his fencing sword so he could impart the fatal blow on to Hamlet. It is not Claudius that takes the credit; Hamlet has to find out from Laertes that he is dying. Even as Hamlet is dying, Claudius still chooses to remain a coward. As the antagonist, Claudius is meant to embody evil, condemnable traits that make readers hate him. Shakespeare is
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