Abuse Of Power In Hamlet

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Is one ever truly pleased with their power? In the play, Hamlet, by Shakespeare, power, cynicism, and manipulation are all major themes. Power is one’s ability to manipulate others. Manipulation is using one’s power to control others. Cynicism is one’s belief that people are solely driven by self-interest. Power causes the characters Hamlet, Claudius, and Polonius to form cynical opinions of others, leading to the manipulation of characters through deceit, lies, and intimidation in order to sustain and advance their own power. Hamlet’s knowledge causes his cynicism towards Claudius, eventually leading to Hamlet’s deceitful manipulation of Claudius and Polonius in order to gain more powerful knowledge to revenge his father’s death. After meeting…show more content…
He is cynical about those who threaten his power, causing Claudius to manipulate others through intimidation and lies to retain his power. When Claudius speaks to Rosencrantz and Guildenstern about manipulating Hamlet, he tells them “to gather/so much as from occasion you may glean” (2.2.15-16). Claudius’s unstable rise to power causes him to perceive Hamlet’s madness cynically, fearing that Hamlet will take away his power by disclosing the truth. Claudius manipulates Rosencrantz and Guildenstern into discussing with Hamlet his source of madness, so Claudius can preserve his power. When speaking about his brother’s death, Claudius claims that “our whole kingdom/to be contracted in one brow of woe” (1.2.3). In fear that the truth will prevail, Claudius uses this metaphor to deceptively manipulate others into believing he has true sorrow for King Hamlet’s death. Claudius asks Hamlet to stay in Denmark “in the cheer and comfort in our eye” (1.2.120) Claudius’s unstable power leads to cynicism towards Hamlet. Thus, Claudius lies and manipulates Hamlet, claiming that he needs to stay to prepare to be king, allowing Claudius to appear as wonderful Stepfather. However, Claudius wants him to stay in order to keep a watchful eye over Hamlet and ensure that Hamlet does not do anything to threat Claudius’s power. Claudius unstable power causes cynicism towards Hamlet, causing him to manipulate Hamlet and his friends in an attempt to…show more content…
Polonius tells to Reynaldo to “breathe his faults...that they may seem the taints of liberty” (2.1.34-36). Polonius’s limited power leads to cynical beliefs regarding his son’s actions in Paris, fearing his son is ruining Polonius’s reputation. Polonius manipulates Reynaldo in order to preserve his reputation, thus maintaining his power. Polonius tells Ophelia, in regard to her love with Hamlet, she must “tender yourself more dearly/or.../ you’ll tender me a fool” (1.3.126-127). Polonius's limited power causes him to cynically fear that Hamlet is toying with Ophelia and will disgrace his family. Polonius uses this pun of tender to describe the relationship between love and money. Polonius manipulates his daughter by telling her to choose a suitor that truly loves her because he fears that her relationship with Hamlet makes him a fool, potentially causing his loss in power. Polonius devises a plan in order to determine the source of Hamlet’s madness, he plans to “loose my daughter to him” in order to decided “if he love her” (2.2.176-178). Polonius has limited power. Thus, in order to gain Claudius’s approval and increase his power, Polonius forms cynical opinions about Hamlet and manipulates Ophelia. Polonicus has limited power, which leads to a cynical mind and manipulation in order to manage his

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