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Hamlet Vs Heart Of Darkness Essay

1257 words - 5 pages

Lying is to delude one, for the purpose of concealing reality from that person. In Shakespeare's Hamlet, characters like Polonius and Claudius are lead to their destruction by their selfish lies. In Conrad's Heart Of Darkness, Marlow's great lie, unselfish in nature, ensures the well being of Kurtz's intended. Upon the comparison of the nature of lies in both works, it is clear that selfish lies lead to destruction, and unselfish lies help to preserve life.The most egocentric character in Shakespeare's Hamlet, Polonius is the first victim of destruction due to selfish lies. As long as Polonius is alive in the play, he continuously operates behind a false mask of loyalty and eloquence with the sole purpose of moving up on the chain of being. Although Shakespeare does not provide us with a certain statement proving Polonius's selfish motives, they become apparent when he tries to convince Claudius and Gertrude that the reason behind Hamlet's madness is his love for Ophelia, Polonius's daughter." I went round to work…"Lord Hamlet is a prince among stars, this must not be" and then I prescripts gave her, that she should lock her self from his resort… which done, she took the fruits of my advice; and he repelled, …fell into a sadness…into a madness wherein now he raves.(2.2.139-150)" Polonius is trying to present himself as a person who has knowledge of the matters in court. By showing that he has the ability to draw intelligent conclusions about the problems in court, he increases his chances of obtaining the genuine respect of the king and queen. At the same time he is suggesting that he has the only solution to this difficulty Claudius and Gertrude are facing. He hopes that Claudius and Gertrude will be dependant on his decisions in order to maintain Hamlet's insanity, since Ophelia is obedient only to Polonius. His main purpose is to move up on the chain of being and, he would go as far as manipulating royalty, as well as taking advantage of his own daughter. Polonius thinks that he is an eloquent person, therefore he always talks excessively while making a point. When Polonius says that Hamlet is mad after about six lines of pointless speech, Lady Gertrude says; "More matter, with less art. (2.2.95)" This shows that Polonius is trying too hard to build a good image of him self. Even a simple minded character such as Gertrude her self has no problem noticing this. If Polonius were truly loyal to the king, he would not have an ulterior motive. Polonius needs to show loyalty to the king to gain what he wants, there for he is creating a false image of him self. This behaviour ultimately costs him his life. When Claudius realises that Hamlet has discovered the truth about Hamlet senior's death, he worries about what Hamlet is going to tell Gertrude, since he had jus departed to her chamber. At this instance, Polonius volunteers to spy on Hamlet, "Behind the arras I'll convey my self, To hear the process. (3.3.28-29)" Later...

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