Apperence And Reality In Hamlet

  • Category: Theater
  • Words: 1540
  • Grade: 88
Hi all! Heres an essay I grabbed from www.bignerds.com
not sure who wrote it but here goes:Hamlet - Appearance vs. Reality

Hamlet one of Shakespeare's greatest plays, where the
young prince of Denmark must uncover the truth about
his fathers death. Hamlet a play that tells the story
of a young prince who's father recently died. Hamlets
uncle Claudius marries his mother the queen and takes
the throne. As the play is told Hamlet finds out his
father was murdered by the recently crowned king. The
theme that remains constant throughout the play is
appearance versus reality. Things within the play
appear to be true and honest but in reality are
infested with evil. Many of the characters within the
play hide behind a mask of falseness. Four of the main
characters that hid behind this mask are Polonius,
Rosencrantz (Guildenstern), the king Cluadius. From
behind this mask they give the impression of a person
who is sincere and genuine, in reality they are
plagued with lies and evil. There appearance will make
it very difficult for Hamlet to uncover the truth, the
characters hide behind.

Polonius the kings royal assistant has a preoccupation
with appearance. He always wants to keep up the
appearance of loving and caring person. Polonius
appears like a man who loves and cares about his son,
Laertes. Polonius speaks to his son with advice that
sounds sincere but in reality it is rehearsed, hollow
and without feeling. Polonius gives his advice only to
appear to be the loving caring father. The reality is
he only speaks to appear sincere as a politician, to
look good rather then actually be good: "And borrowing
dulls the edge of husbandry. This above all: to thine
own self be true, And it must follow, as the night the
day, Thou canst not then be false to any man.
Farewell; my blessing season this in thee!" Act 1

Polonius gives his son Laertes his blessing to go
away, he sends a spy to follow him and keep an eye on
him. This shows his lack of trust for anyone, he gives
the appearance of a confident father who trusts his
son to go off on his own. In reality he lies about his
trust for his son by sending a spy to watch him. His
advice he gives his son is rehearsed and only said to
give the appearance of a loving father. Polonius
further adds to the theme appearance verses reality by
ordering Ophelia to stop seeing Hamlet. He lies to her
telling her that Hamlet does not love her, he only
lusts for her, in truth he does love her: Ay, springes
to catch woodcocks. I do know, When the blood burns ,
how prodigal the soul Through the play Polonius hids
behind his mask appearing to be honest loving parent.
In reality Polonius lies, manipulates people and
eavesdrops on peoples conversation. Polonius helps
contribute to the theme appearance verses reality by
showing how his appearance is not his true nature,
behind the mask there lies someone totally different.

Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are two of Hamlets
childhood friends who when asked by the king, try to
find out what is troubling the young prince. Both help
to contribute to the theme by showing there appearance
of being Hamlets friends. The pair go to Hamlet
pretending to be his friends when in truth they are
only there because the king asked them to find the
truth. There is some irony within the twins, they are
asked by the king to find out the truth by hiding
within a lie, by pretending to be his friend: A dream
is but a shadow Act II.

Hamlet knows there purpose for their visit is to dig
into his soul to find the real reason for his actions
as of late. As the play continues the twins are asked
again by the king to go to Hamlet and try again to
find the real reason for Hamlets behavior. Hamlet
insults them at every chance knowing they are lying to
him about there purpose of the visit: Tis as easy as
lying; govern these ventages with you finger and
thumb, give it breath with your mouth...Act III

As the melodrama continues Hamlet goes with the twins
to reclaim money that another state owes Denmark.
Hamlet is sent by the king to retrieve the assets. In
actuality Hamlet is sent off to wither because the
king, Claudius knows that Hamlet knows too much and
must be killed. The twins show there appearance of
being Hamlets friends but in truth they have a hidden
reason for visiting with Hamlet. Both show that it
will be very difficult for Hamlet to uncover the
fidelity hidden within the lies.

Claudius the king of Denmark conduct in council gives
him the appearance of an Honest and honorable man. In
Act one scene two Claudius in the presence of council
shows his true skill and ease of manner at speaking.
Claudius speaks well of the spent king by showing a
general love for him by all his subjects. Claudius
show respect for the old sovereign by speaking kind
words of him. In reality he cares little for the old
king, he speaks kindly only to give the appearance of
loving brother.

Though yet of Hamlet our dear brother's death The
memory be green, and that it us befitted To bear our
hearts in grief, and our whole kingdom To be
contracted in one brow of woe Act I

As Claudius sends Voltimand and Cornelius off to give
the king of Norway the message of Fortibras, he thanks
and gives them complete trust, in the deliverance of
the notation. This shows his trust and caring for his
subjects in front of the council, wining even more
consent from the council: We doubt it nothing:
heartily farewell. Act I Claudius increases his
appearance of a honest and honorable man, in front of
the council by showing his respect for Polonius. He
gives him the power to let his son Laertes stay or
leave for Norway. Claudius speaks highly of Polonius
giving him thanks and saying the he was responsible
for Claudius becoming king:

The head is not more native to the heart,
The hand more instrumental to the mouth,
Than is the throne of Denmark to thy father.
What woudlst thou have, Laertes (Act I ii, 47-50)
This council would see this as a man who greatly
respects his subjects and cares for them. This adds to
the difficulty of uncovering the truth for Hamlet
later. Hamlet enters the council chamber and speaks
with Claudius. The king (Claudius) speaks with Hamlet
seeming to be concerned with Hamlet. He gives advice
that over grieveing is not healthy, this shows a
concern for Hamlets well being. This conduct of
Claudius gives him the appearance of being kind in
front of council that accepts him even more for his
family values: How is it that the clouds still hang on
you? Act I Claudius appears to be even more caring
when insulted by Hamlet he still shows love and
general care for Hamlet. A normal king would have
become angry and Hamlet would have gotten into
trouble. Claudius shows the council that he is
understanding of Hamlet's grief over his father: A
little more than kin, and less than kind. Act I .
Claudius gives Hamlet advice that over grieveing can
be harmful and not healthy. Claudius tells Hamlet that
he is a admirable person for grieveing for so long
over his dads death. Yet again Claudius keeps putting
on the appearance of the honorable man.

Tis sweet and commendable in your nature, Hamlet,
To give these mourning duties to your father:
But, you must know, you father lost a father;
That father lost, lost his; and the survivor bound
In filial obligation for some term
To do obsequious sorrow; but to persever
In obstinate condolement is a course Act I
Claudius further makes it difficult to uncover the
truth by announcing that Hamlet is next in line for
the throne of Denmark. This shows that Claudius would
let Hamlet become the next king when he is gone. This
reveals a love and care for Hamlet to the council and
Gertrude making Claudius appear to be kind, loving
person: You are the most immediate to our throne; And
with no less nobility of love Act I

Claudius final conduct that makes him a difficult
truth to uncover, is his care and want that Hamlet
remain in Denmark. Claudius is insulted by Hamlet, he
asks Hamlet to stay only that his queen Gertrude wants
Hamlet to stay. Claudius appears to be concerned with
Hamlets well being, Gertrude and council see this
,making Claudius a more deserving person to be king.

As Claudius speaks in council he gives the appearance
of someone who is a deserving person that should be
king. Claudius is voted in as king meaning he is
already approved by everyone. Claudius gives respect
to his subjects giving the council the impression that
he respects them. The king shows general concern for
Hamlet, his nephew. This will make it very difficult
to prove the truth about Claudius in the future for he
has not only, one the love and respect of council
(that voted him in). But also has prevented a attack
on Denmark (from Fortinbras) proving that he is good
king that can protect the state from harm. Claudius
makes it very difficult for Hamlet to uncover the
truth about the true nature of Claudius in the future.


Through the characters within the play all help to
show the theme, that being appearance verses reality.
Polonius, Rosencrantz (Guildenstern) and the king all
appear to be good and honest. As Hamlet finds out, all
contain lies and have hidden intentions within them.
As each character is presented in the play all appear
to be good and honest making it a difficult task for
Hamlet to uncover the hidden truth about the nature of
each character. As Hamlet best said it somethings is
rotten in Denmark That being the lies which have
replaced or covered the true state of each character.

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