ssaysThe Naivete of Hamlet
Keeping secrets keep you isolated from your friends and make you very lonely. Hamlets loneliness, false friends, and betrayals cause his downfall to a great extent. The court of Denmark is filled with spies: Claudius hires Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, to spy on Hamlet; Polonius spies on Hamlet in Gertrudes bedchamber; Polonius uses Ophelia as bait to spy on Hamlet. Hamlet is not a part of this deceit; he is honest. For example, Claudius suggests Hamlet is honest when he and Laertes are discussing their dual scheme; Ophelia believes Hamlet is honest and says, “What a noble mind here is oerthrown!” (III; i; 157), referring to Hamlets antic disposition, even though he has been insulting her for two previous acts. His relationship with Horatio shows his true character, because of how much he trusts him. (“Horatio, thou art een as just a man as eer my conversation coped withal” –III; ii; 59). Someone who is naive is often taken advantage of in a hard, cold, deceitful world.
Having your stepfather get your best friends to spy on you must make you feel horrible. When Claudius hires Rosencrantz and Guildenstern (R&G) to spy on Hamlet,
I entreat you both//
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 opened lies within our remedy. (II; ii; 10-18)
they confess to Hamlet that they were sent to spy on him. Hamlet shows this by saying, “Nay then I have an eye of you. If you love me, hold not off.” (II; ii; 301).
It is as though he were saying to them, If you were really my friends, then you should tell me why you are so interested in everything I do. He later takes revenge on his friends, who are sent to spy on him when he is being sent to England. He opens the letter to the English government, and changes kill my crazy son Hamlet to kill these messengers, and seals the letter back up with his fathers ring:
Without debatement further more or less,
He should those bearers put to sudden death,
Not shriving time allowed//
I had my fathers signet in my purse,
Which was the model of the Danish seal. (V; ii: 45-50)
Curiosity killed the cat. Polonius spying on Hamlet is what kills him. He walks around the court, eavesdropping on all of Hamlets conversations. He then reports them to Claudius. Hamlet believes that Claudius is hiding behind the curtains (arras), but it is really Polonius hiding. Hamlet jabs his sword into the curtain, and kills Polonius.
O I am slain. (III; iv; 23)
When Hamlet starts putting on his antic disposition, his honesty comes shining
through, he says to Polonius,
Ay sir; to be honest as this world is to be one
man// For if the sun breed maggots in a dead dog, being a god kissing carrion-
have you a daughter?
What he could be saying to Polonius is that he (Hamlet) is the only honest man in the kingdom, and what secrets he knows will eat him up inside, so he will reveal his knowledge of his fathers murder.
Polonius uses Ophelia as bait to get to Hamlet.
Excellent well, you are a fishmonger. (II; ii; 174)
When Hamlet says this, it can be argued that he is implying that Polonius is
using Ophelia as a way to bait Hamlet. She is told by her father (Polonius) not to take anymore of Hamlets gifts of love.
This is for all–//as to give words or talk with the Lord Hamlet. Look tot I
charge you; come your ways. (I; iv; 131-135)
Polonius uses a letter that Hamlet wrote to Ophelia to prove to the King and Queen that Hamlet is mad with his love for Ophelia.
To the celestial and my souls idol, the most beautifies Ophelia
Thats an ill phrase, a vile phrase; beautified is a vile phrase, but you shall hear.
(II; ii; 109-112)
Hamlet knows that Polonius does not want Ophelia to be with him, so he teases him about not letting Ophelia go out.
Let her not walk i th sun. Conception is a blessing, but as your daughter may conceive- friend look tot. (II; ii; 185-187)
Hamlet is not fond of Polonius, nor is Polonius fond of Hamlet. Polonius illustrates this through his constant spying. Hamlet illustrates it by mocking him, while acting his antic disposition.
Old men have grey beards// and that they have plentiful lack of wit(II; ii; 199-202)
Hamlet may be considered naive because of his innate goodness, but he is really very perceptive, and recognizes that he is being betrayed and why he is being betrayed, that is, to meet the Kings need for power. His goodness and naivete form a tragic flaw, which is redeemed only by his killing the King.