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Cole TraderMs.Lewis English IV-201 December 2017Loyalty and Betrayal in HamletLoyalty and betrayal go hand and hand with each other because to be able to betray someone, you must first gain their loyalty and trust. Betrayal happens when you feel like you have developed a bond with someone that you trust them with something important to you, and then they stab you in the back and that bond is destroyed. In Hamlet, loyalty and betrayal is showed consistently throughout the play when the actions of many characters that are the closest to Hamlet betray him to seem loyal to the throne but only one stays loyal. In Hamlet, by William Shakespeare, the theme of loyalty and betrayal is used to emphasize Hamlet’s reasoning for his views and actions. The people’s false intentions cause Hamlet to have internal struggle throughout the play as he notices one man’s loyalties becomes another’s betrayal to others. Hamlet realizes the extent of the betrayal in the kingdom when he talks to the ghost of his father and is informed that Claudius poisoned King Hamlet. Hamlet was always apprehensive about the sudden death of his father, the instantaneous marriage of his mother to his uncle only two months after the death of his father, and all the other changes to the kingdom that puzzled Hamlet. With the ghost appearing to Hamlet everything fell into place for him, and was determined to avenge his father. Additionally, Hamlet’s skepticism of the loyalty in the kingdom was when he realizes that two of his oldest friends, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, are told 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.” (Act 2, Scene 2, Line 15-18 ). Hamlet thought it was odd that Rosencrantz and Guildenstern were in Elsinore, uncertain, he pursues to find out if Claudius sent them to find out what is wrong with Hamlet. In William Shakespeare’s play, The Tragedy of Hamlet, one of the most crucial betrayals to Hamlet is when Ophelia goes along with Claudius and Polonius’ plan to try and deceive Hamlet. Hamlet and Ophelia love each other and she agrees to attempt to trick Hamlet into showing that he is not actually going insane and that he is in fact lying about it. Ophelia even goes as far to lie about where her father is to make the trick more believable, ” Where’s your father? At home, my lord. Let the doors be shut upon him, that he may play the fool no where but in ‘s own house. Farewell.” (Act 3, Scene, 1 Line 131-134), but in fact Polonius was hidden with Claudius the entire time. Although, one of the first signs of true loyalty in the play is shown later in the play. Hamlet arranges for actors to add an extra scene that reenacted the way Claudius murdered King Hamlet as a test to see how Claudius reacted, and he trusted this information with Horatio who carried out his plans to watch Claudius closely. With all the betrayal throughout the play, Hamlet knows he can trust Horatio, always, and as Hamlet’s most loyal friend he knows he will help him watch for Claudius’ reaction when the murder scene happens to prove if he is guilty or not. “O good Horatio, I’ll take the ghost’s word for a thousand pound. Didst perceive? Very well, my lord. Upon the talk of the poisoning? I did very well note him.” (Act 3,Scene 2, Line 268-271). But this was just one of the first examples that showed Horatio would do as Hamlet asked of him because he was truly loyal to Hamlet and not loyal for his own selfish fulfillments. There is never a moment when Horatio questions Hamlet’s decisions, rather he guides him through his decision making.In the last acts of the play are when the actions of the character begin to affect others the most. Claudius sends Hamlet away to England in fear of being killed because Hamlet killed Polonius thinking it was in fact Claudius. Making it seem that Hamlet is in his best interest he actually plans on having the King of England help him with something, “And, England, if my love thou hold’st at aught- As my great power thereof may give thee sense….. The present death of Hamlet. Do it, England, for like the hectin my my blood rages…” (Act 4, Scene 3, Line 60-68). Claudius sends Rosencrantz and Guildenstern to watch over Hamlet while he’s there, but little does Claudius know, Hamlet changes the letter so it says to have Rosencrantz and Guildenstern to be killed instead. Hamlet returns to Denmark and is challenged to fight against Laertes for killing his father and destroying his sister’s sanity, in which Hamlet defeats Laertes with his own trickery as well as Claudius. Hamlet dies from the poisoned weapon of Laertes and the Queen drank poison, thus, the only major character left was Horatio who tried committing suicide but Hamlet wouldn’t let him. Even after Hamlet dies he still pledges his loyalty to Hamlet and how mournful he has become, “Now cracks a noble heart. – Good night, sweet prince, and flights of angels sing thee to thy rest!” (Act 5, Scene 2, Line 362-364). Fortinbras then appears from a far away land and is shocked to see the bloodbath that stands before him. As Horatio being the only person left alive, he explains the evil that had been taking place for the past months of new Kings throne.In final, all of the bizarre things that were happening in the kingdom made Hamlet very curious and lead him to investigate. The actions of the King affected everyone else and literally lead to almost all of their deaths. Characters would do as Claudius ordered them so they would not be punished therefor they would betray Hamlet. This proves that people’s false intentions caused Hamlet to have internal struggle throughout the play as he noticed one man’s loyalties become another’s betrayal.

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