Theme Of Betrayal In Shakespeare

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It is not to say that with every action, a subsequent reaction follows. Whether it be minor or major, consequences are received by all. In his plays, Shakespeare uses betrayal, as both an action and a feeling, to exhibit how fragile human relationships are. Revenge is a bitter medicine only appealing to some. It serves to get the despised person to feel hurt, or, in the case of many of Shakespeare’s plays, cause the character to die. There is almost always an ulterior purpose that motivates a person to seek revenge on another. Usually, that motive is a personal one in which the avenger believes that there has been a wrongdoing from another person’s behalf onto them. The easiest way to harm someone is to get revenge on the one who has ‘committed’…show more content…
In Hamlet, Queen Gertrude marries King Claudius, Hamlet’s uncle. In a way, Hamlet does feel betrayed by his mother’s marriage to her recently deceased husband’s brother. He feels as if she did not love his father, for if she did, she would have grieved longer. Through Hamlet and Queen Gertrude’s relationship and interactions, Shakespeare shows how even those closest to one can feel betrayed by actions and decisions that do not directly involve them. However, whether purposeful or not, Shakespeare does only portray familial betrayal. It is as simple as saying one will do one thing but another is actually done. The sense of betrayal felt by the person who was lied to is uncomparable. Though a minor interpretation, it sets the stage for more lies, or rather honesty, and betrayal to occur. For example, in King Lear, another one of Shakespeare’s plays, Lear asks all three of his daughters to state how much they love him, and as a result, the one who loves him the most will receive the largest piece of his kingdom. However, the fact of the matter is that Lear’s eldest daughters, Goneril and Regan did not love him as much as they proclaimed. Cordelia, the one who loved him most, said “I love you as a child should love her father, neither more nor less” Lear felt betrayed by his daughter, and later went on to disown his daughter (Shakespeare). Though the wife is never mentioned, it can be said that Lear asked about…show more content…
Depending on how one looks at the situation, three outcomes of betrayal may be perceived: win-win, lose-lose, or win-lose. The latter is solely based on who tells the story. A simple example of a positive consequence is studying for an exam and receiving a good grade on it. Knowledge is received and a reward is given. An interpretation of a lose-lose situation is not studying, cheating on a test, and obtaining a low grade on it. No knowledge is received and no reward is given. However, an example of a win-lose situation is more of a double-edged sword. In a win-lose situation, one party gets a desired outcome while the other does not. Many of Shakespeare’s theater works include this type of scenario. An example of such would be Goneril and Regan obtaining power while Lear got thrown out of the castle. The sisters achieved what they wanted, the power, while removing their father from the throne. As a result of his throwing out, Lear realized that Cordelia was, in fact, the only one of his three daughters that loved him truly. Through this, Shakespeare illustrates the feeling of regret. After one has been or has betrayed, they feel a sense of remorse because of the pain caused. That pain stays in the hearts and minds of the avengers for a long time, if not the rest of their life. Another example of win-lose situations would be before Hero and Claudio’s double wedding with Beatrice and
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