One of the main themes of the play Hamlet by Shakespeare is that of appearance vs. reality. The main characters of this play consistently project one thing while actually being another. The theme of appearance vs. reality reinforces the notion that one cannot truly trust someone else because they most likely have ulterior motives. “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 passeth show,
These but the trappings and the suits of woe.
This passage is of Hamlet when he appears in act 1 scene 2 after Claudius’ speech. This quote by Hamlet is his response to his mother’s claim that he is putting on a show, and that he is pretending to mourn his dead father. The irony of it is that Hamlet is actually the only one there who is mourning his father’s death. This passage reinforces the theme of appearance vs. reality because Hamlet is dressed in all black and crying because of his father’s death, but his own mother believes that he is putting on a show as she indicates by the word “seem”. While his mother and her new husband (Hamlet’s uncle) appear to be mourning the death of the king, in reality they are glad that he is dead. Furthermore this quote from Hamlet can also be interpreted in another way; as Hamlet said his black clothes and his crying do not even come close to how he is actually feeling inside. In other words, his appearance is not as powerful in emotion as in reality. This interpretation of this quote is given to us by Hamlet in his own words strengthening the idea that the theme of appearance vs. reality will play a huge role in the novel. Among...