The Theme of Knowledge in Hamlet

1632 words 7 pages
Who Knows?: The Theme of Knowledge in Hamlet What may be true to one person is not always true to another. There are huge factors to take into account like a difference in opinion, secrets, or lies. Another important aspect of information is what is done with it, since knowledge is power. The need to verify information is always as great as the need for it in the first place. These are all central pieces to consider when evaluating a theme of knowledge. This theme is especially noteworthy in William Shakespeare’s Hamlet, a play about a prince who learns that his uncle murdered his father, the King, in order to ascend to the throne. The way prince Hamlet learns this information is indeed a driving force in the theme of knowledge, and the …show more content…

Similarly, he states after the prologue that, “the players cannot / keep counsel; they'll tell all” (146-7). This statement demonstrates Hamlet’s underlying desire that the players will reveal the King’s guilt, yet it is disguised by a statement which, on the surface, adheres to the conversation and fools Ophelia. Taken all together, these examples of Hamlet’s showing discontent with Claudius demonstrate how he takes advantage of his knowledge, or rather his inconsistency in believing in it. Knowledge is shown further as a theme when Hamlet deals with Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, as he has figured out their betrayal of him, but they do not know that he has. The confrontation between Hamlet and his old friends is especially reliant on the tone and word choice. Hamlet’s exchange with them is with the same madness that he puts on for everybody else, taking both a cocky and sarcastic tone. Rosencrantz picks up on this, and says that Hamlet “loved him once.” Hamlet’s tone here understandably becomes much harsher as he mocks more frequently; his hypocrite friends, in the midst of betraying him, complain that Hamlet is not treating them well. The quick dialogue between Hamlet and Guildenstern about the pipe that follows is best summarized by Hamlet’s calm line, “Tis as easy as lying” (355), and, after losing all control, his frenzied line: “Why, look you now, / how unworthy a thing you make of /


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