William Shakespeares Hamlet is full of symbols and motifs that establish the play, and Shakespeare uses these to further develop the plot. Uncertainty and deception are big themes of the play that play a big role in the overall plot. More motifs and themes include corruption, ghost and disease. In the play Hamlet by William Shakespeare, King Hamlets ghost is the catalyst that creates uncertainty and mental disease among the characters, revealing mass corruption and deception.
In the beginning of the play, the ghost of King Hamlet arrives and stirs up the characters. Marcellus, Horatio, and Barnado see him, and realize its the recently deceased king. This begins the madness especially when Hamlet talks to him, and he figures out how his dad actually died. He tells him how Claudius, his brother and Hamlets now step-dad poisoned him while he was asleep.
Thus was I, sleeping, by a brothers hand
Of life, of crown, of queen at once dispatched,
Cut off, even in the blossoms of my sin (I.V.81-83).
Claudius is corrupt in doing so, just in order to get the throne. It shows that he will go to far lengths to get what he wants. It was also deception in a way because the citizens are told that King Hamlet died from a disease/seizure. But in reality he was poisoned which triggered a seizure. The ghost asks Hamlet to avenge his death and thats exactly what Hamlet is going to do.
In Act II, Hamlet is going crazy. Deep down Hamlet knows hes not actually going mad, but he wants to be perceived that way. Different people think different things, and it is all part of Hamlets plan. Polonius and Ophelia thinks he is mad because he loves Ophelia, and she is avoiding him.
This is the very ecstasy of love,
Whose violent property fordoes itself (II.I.114-115).
They are convinced he is crazy because of how in love he is with Ophelia. His mother Gertrude thinks hes crazy over his fathers death and how fast she remarried.
I doubt it is no other but the main
His fathers death and our oerhasty marriage (II.II.59-60)
She knows how fast she remarried and she recognizes how that could affect him. But, Hamlet wants to deceive as crazy to distract everyone in his master plan to kill Claudius and avenge his fathers death.
Throughout the play, Shakespeare uses these motifs to show even though Hamlet was just acting crazy in the beginning, he starts to actually develop his true madness. Hamlet becomes obsessive with avenging his father and that further corrupts his character. Even other characters become mad by Hamlets actions, especially Ophelia. Ophelia is actually in love with Hamlet, not the other way around. Hamlet uses her for his own benefit, which corrupts her.
And I a maid at your window,
To be your Valentine.
Then up he rose and donned his clothes
And dupped the chamber door,
Let in the maid, that out a maid
Never departed more. (IV.V.55-60).
Ophelia lost her virginity to Hamlet, and Hamlet doesnt care. She finally realizes that he was using her and it makes her mental state go south. Ophelias mental health decline so rapidly, she ends up taking her life because of everything that happened.
In the last act, it all comes down to Hamlets plan, which shows the characters true corrupt selves. Hamlet and Claudius plan go south, and everything they planned for blows up in their face. Claudius wanted to poison Hamlet, which backfires and ends up killing Gertrude and Laertes instead. But, Hamlets plan didnt totally not work out. Hamlet does end up killing him by forcing him to drink poison after he stabbed him. Hamlet doesnt care however. He feel like Claudius ruined his life.
He that hath killed my king and whored my mother,
Popped in between th election and my hopes,
Thrown out his angle for my proper life, (V.II.72-74)
Claudius stirred up his whole life and Hamlet thinks that he ruined it. Hamlet finally gets his final revenge, and avenges his fathers death.
The murder of King Hamlet sent an array of craziness throughout the whole kingdom. It was a chaos of men trying to avenge their loved ones deaths. Throughout the whole story, Shakespeare uses motifs, symbols, and an overall theme to convey these. Every single one of the characters was corrupt in some way, and in the end it showed. The ghost of King Hamlet started everything, and was the main reason for the conflicts within the characters. Hamlets plan did and dont work in some ways, but in the end, Hamlet got his revenge and thats what he wanted all along. Hamlet has always known this however; he has always prepared himself for death.