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Spying and Deception in Hamlet

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Aiman Nagra

on 31 March 2014

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Transcript of Spying and Deception in Hamlet

Rosencratnz and Guildenstren


a person who keeps close and secret watch on the actions and words of another or others.

- to mislead by a false appearance or statement; delude
"Dictionary.com." Dictionary.com. Dictionary.com, n.d. Web. 28 Mar 2014. <http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/>.
Which characters were deceitful or spies towards other characters?
Rosencrantz & Guildenstern

Polonius and Claudius spy on Hamlet and Ophelia.
Polonius' compulsive need to control situations and his children(ie. Laertes)
"At such a time I'll loose my daughter to him. Be you and I behind an arras then,
Mark the encounter. If love he love her not, And be not from his reason fall'n thereon..."
"Look you, sir,
Inquire me first...
By this encompassment and drift of question
That they do know my son, come you more nearer
Than your particular demands will touch it.
Take you as 'twere some distant knowledge of him..."

Polonius spies on Hamlet and Gertrude.
1. Rosencratz and Guildenstern agree to spy on Hamlet.
"I entreat you both
That, being of so young days brought up with him,
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 thus
That open'd, lies within our remedy."
Gertrude deceives Hamlet by telling Claudius about him killing Polonius.
"Mad as the sea and wind when both contend
Which is the mightier. In his lawless fit,
Behind the arras hearing something stir,
Whips out his rapier, cries, “A rat, a rat!”
And in this brainish apprehension kills
The unseen good old man."
Gertrude deceives Denmark about Ophelias' death.
"Fell in the weeping brook. Her clothes spread wide,
And mermaid-like a while they bore her up,
Which time she chanted snatches of old lauds
As one incapable of her own distress,
Or like a creature native and indued
Unto that element. But long it could not be
Till that her garments, heavy with their drink,
Pulled the poor wretch from her melodious lay
To muddy death."
"That we with wisest sorrow think on him
Together with remembrance of ourselves.
Therefore our sometime sister, now our queen,
Th' imperial jointress to this warlike state,
Have we—as ’twere with a defeated joy,
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."
Claudius deceives Denmark about Hamlet Sr.'s death.
Claudius decieves Hamlet, Rosencratnz and Guildenstern about Hamlet Voage to England.
Shakespeare utilizes various characteristics such as spying and deception in order to foreshadow plot twists as well as character development.
"Hamlet, this deed, for thine especial safety
Which we do tender as we dearly grieve
For that which thou hast done—must send thee hence
With fiery quickness."
Caludius deceives Hamlet about the fencing match.
"Set me the stoups of wine upon that table.
If Hamlet give the first or second hit
Or quit in answer of the third exchange,
Let all the battlements their ordnance fire:
The king shall drink to Hamlet’s better breath,
And in the cup an union shall he throw
Richer than that which four successive kings
In Denmark’s crown have worn."
Hamlet deceives his uncle through the play.
“Hum, I have heard
That guilty creatures sitting at a play
Have, by the very cunning of the scene,
Been struck so to the soul that presently
They have proclaimed their malefactions.
For murder, though it have no tongue, will speak
With most miraculous organ. I’ll have these players
Play something like the murder of my father
Before mine uncle.”

Hamlet deceives Rosencrantz and Guildenstern.

“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.”

Hamlet decieves himself.
Overall, without spying and deception, the play would lack foreshadowing causing the reader to have a lack of understanding of characters and plot development.
“Let his queen mother all alone entreat him
To show his grief. Let her be round with him,
And I’ll be placed, so please you, in the ear
Of all their conference.”

"How strange or odd soe'er I bear myself
(As I perchance hereafter shall think meet
To put an antic disposition on),
That you, at such times seeing me, never shall
With arms encumbered thus, or this headshake,
Or by pronouncing of some doubtful phrase,..."
"Behind the arras I'll convey myself
To hear the process; I'll warrant she'll tax him home. And, as you said- and wisely was it said-
'Tis meet that some more audience than a mother, Since nature makes them partial, should o'erhear The speech, of vantage."
"Our sovereign process, which imports at full,
By letters congruing to that effect,
The present death of Hamlet."
"To be, or not to be: that is the question:
Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to sufferThe slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles,
And by opposing end them? To die: to sleep;..."
Full transcript