Appearances Are Not Reality Essay

944 words - 4 pages

Hamlet is Shakespeare’s most famous tragedy, which contains and portrays many themes in outstanding ways. Throughout this play, the title character, Hamlet, is obsessed with trapping a culprit and bringing him to justice. (Hamlet, 15) Sorting fact from fiction and appearance from reality is a major theme of the play. Appearance vs. Reality encircles throughout the play and remains constant. It’s about those characters that play their roles behind the veil of duplicity. Within the play, everything appears to be true and accurate, but in reality it’s vice-versa. (Hamlet- Appearance vs. Reality) In this play, Appearance vs. Reality is dealt with by many characters. The way Shakespeare used this theme in Hamlet is not only interesting, but quite astonishing in the way it affects the play in general, but the ending tremendously.
The most important characters in this play that deals with Appearance vs. Reality are: Hamlet, Prince of Denmark, and Claudius, King of Denmark. There is not one part of the play where this theme is not being used by these two characters. Hamlets character is mostly revolved around this theme. He claims to be mad throughout the whole play. “I’m only mad when the wind blows north-by north-west. When the winds from the south, I know a hawk from a handsaw.” Hamlet says this to Guildenstern, which sums the way he uses this them all up. He appears to be mad to everyone, but he is not. He is acting to be this way, what appears to be is not what really is. King Claudius portrays this theme in a much different way. Claudius appears to be a good man to the people but he is not. He killed King Hamlet and married Hamlets mother. Hamlet is the only one aware of the murder and when Claudius finds out; he sets out to have Hamlet killed. “Hamlet, for your own safety, which we hold just as dearly as we grieve over what you’ve done, we must send you away with the upmost speed.” (Hamlet 235) It appears Claudius is sending him away for the right reasons, but that’s not the case at all. Claudius is sending him away to immediate death because he is aware that Hamlet knows what he has done. Both characters show Appearance vs. Reality in major ways. Just about everything they appear to be doing is not what they are really doing.
Hamlet and King Claudius are both fully aware of Appearance vs. Reality in their lives. If they were not aware of it, nothing they do would have been able to happen. When Hamlet is dying he tells Horatio, “Tell the truth about me and my cause to those who don’t already know.” (Hamlet 331) He wanted the people to know that he was pretending, he knew he wasn’t mad...

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