Hamlet Appearance vs. Reality

Topics: Hamlet, Characters in Hamlet, Gertrude Pages: 3 (982 words) Published: January 9, 2011
Appearance vs. Reality in Hamlet
Appearance vs. reality in Shakespeare’s, Hamlet, is a jaded yet common theme. This play is teeming with characters that play their roles behind a veil of duplicity. They often appear to be one way when they really are something entirely different. Things within the play appear to be true and honest but in reality are polluted with evil. Many of the characters within the play hide behind a mask of dishonesty. Four of the main characters that hid behind this mask are Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, Polonius, and King Claudius. From behind this mask they give the impression of a person who is sincere and true, in reality they are overwhelmed with lies and evil.

One of the most obvious examples of appearance vs. reality in Hamlet is the character of Claudius. Claudius longed to be king, rule the land and crown his queen. He gave no regard to the feelings of the family. He was jealous and ruthless in pursuing his dream…ruthless to the point of murder. He pretends to be concerned and upset with the actions of Hamlet and his well being, when in reality he is frightened that Hamlet is aware of his deadly secret. It was as if he cast a spell on the whole kingdom for his own self-fulfilling interest. Our “innocent” Claudius even summons spies to investigate the origin of Hamlet’s madness…not for the good of Hamlet but for himself. He is indeed a jaded character, whose kind aura masks the face of a selfish murderer as he says “whose whisper o’er the world’s diameter, as levels as the cannon to his blank transports his poisoned shot, may miss our name and hit the woundless air. Oh come away! My soul is full of discord and dismay!”- Claudius, act 4 scene 1, lines 42-46. This quote demonstrates how Claudius seems to be worried about Hamlet and his actions when he is really fearful of him discovering the truth.

In addition, the king’s royal associate, Polonius, appears to be a loyal and trustworthy servant to the kingdom throughout the...
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