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Character Development Through Deception and Identity

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Deception and disguising one’s identity can lead to many outcomes including positive or negative. In Shakespeare’s Hamlet and Nadia Hasmini’s The Pearl That Broke Its Shell, these themes play a significant role in the novels. Although the themes of deception can be linked to many characters in each novel, the characters that use deception and disguising identity to show character development is shown through Hamlet, from Hamlet and Rahima from the pearl that broke its shell.

Firstly, the theme of deception and disguising one’s identity is very significant in Shakespeare’s Hamlet. This play revolves around the idea of revenge and deception. When Hamlet finds out his uncle killed his father, Hamlet is determined to get justice for his father’s death. Deception is seen in Hamlet when he says ‘“Seems,’ madam? Nay it is. I know not ‘seems”. Tis not alone my inky cloak, good mother, Nor customary suits of solemn black, Nor windy suspiration of forced breath, No, nor the fruitful river in the eye, Nor the dejected havior of the visage, Together with all forms, moods, shapes of grief, That can denote me truly. These indeed ‘seem’, For they are actions that a man might play: But I have that within which passes show, These but the trappings and the suits of woe.” From this scene, Hamlet portrays himself to be someone who values the truth over anything and hates those who deceit. He is saying that his grief feelings for his father’s death are way more intense than what they appear to be. He also implies that Claudius and Gertrude are disingenuous and fake people, just like the rest of the court because they are not concerned about Hamlet’s feelings, nor do they care for him. By saying this Hamlet disguises his identity and portrays himself to be the victim so that attention could be towards the king and queen, which would let Hamlet to continue with his plan to seek revenge on the king. Although Hamlet is really angered by what happened to his father, using deception as a grieving mechanism gives Hamlet some time to think about what he is about to do. Hamlet holds off killing the kind because he thinks that by killing the king, he will have to face a similar fate. In act 3, Hamlet describes how his emotions are getting stronger and it is crashing down his confidence to kill the king. He starts having suicidal thoughts as shown through a well-known line saying “To be, or not to be, that is the question: Whether ‘tis nobler in the mind to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune” (Shakespeare). Hamlet describes how he feels and is contemplating between taking his life or not since he wanted to be free of all misery but he scared of facing death. This leads to Hamlets’ character development as he holds off killing the king because he thinks he will have to face a similar fate and he desires to stay pure. Although Hamlet was sure of killing the king to avenge for what happened to his father, he is now unsure of killing the king, thinking if it is even a good idea and what the outcome of all of it will be. At this point in the play, Hamlet understands what he needs to do and starts to evolve into a greater person then he was before. Although Hamlet does end up killing the king, he becomes a new person who is confident and prepared for what the consequences will be by saying “The readiness is all” (Shakespeare). Throughout this play, Hamlet uses deception and disguises his identity multiple times which allows him to evolve as a character.

Furthermore, deception and disguising one’s identity are major themes in Nadia Hashimi’s The Pearl That Broke It’s Shell. As a young girl in Afghanistan, Rahima does not have freedom written in her naseeb. She goes through many things at a young age to attain the same privileges as a male. When Rahima decides to leave her abusive husband, she disguises her identity and uses deception to successfully make her way to freedom. At a young age, Rahima went to bacha posh and lived like a boy for many years. When the day of the escape came, Rahima decided to be sick when she said “[she’s] not feeling well at all…its [her stomach. It must be something [she] ate last night”. Rahima uses an excuse of being sick to get her out of going with her family to attain freedom. When her time to escape her husband came, she used the same identity as she did in bacha posh to make her way out. She had got very comfortable with being a male as she said, “Funny who I slipped back into this person, how comfortable I [feel] even though my nerves were on fire”. Rahima hs heard many stores about her great-great-grandmother who dreamt of freedom and attained it, now Rahima’s only goal was to follow Sheikiba’s instructions and make her way there. However, females are not to be roaming around without the company of a male. She decides to hide her identity as a female and portray herself as a male. The themes of deception and hiding one’s identity are crucial factors in this novel because they lead to the development of Rahima’s character. She is able to attain her freedom and earn her rights that he deserves as a human. Due to living in an environment where inequality plays a huge role in society, it encourages Rahima to build her own destiny and achieve it through concealing herself.

In conclusion, in both novels, the characters Hamlet and Rahima able to achieve a goal they set their minds to by using deception and disguising their identity. The characters were able to gradually develop into confident people who were able to achieve what they set their mind and heart to.

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Character Development Through Deception And Identity. (2021, May 14). GradesFixer. Retrieved January 19, 2022, from
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