Appearance versus reality is the difference between what seems to be, and what truly is. Society experiences this, as sometimes someone appears to be your friend, when they are actually working against you. Many people hide their true identities, keeping up an appearance different from their own. Many pieces of literature utilize this theme, and a notable example would be Shakespeare’s Hamlet. Many of the characters appear to be acting in Hamlet’s best interests, but are really plotting against him, and Hamlet himself puts on an appearance of madness, unlike his own sanity. In Hamlet, the characters of Claudius, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, and Hamlet are not what they appear.
Claudius is ...view middle of the document...
So the whole ear of Denmark
Is by a forged process of my death
Rankly abused. But know, thou noble youth
The serpent that did stung thy father’s life
Now wears his crown.
Old Hamlet explains how Claudius was the one to murder him, not a snake. Hamlet is unsure if he should believe the ghost, which proves how genuine Claudius’s manipulations seem. Claudius is also deceptive in his appearance as a loyal king, when he knows he is only king because he killed his predecessor, his brother. Claudius appeared to love his brother, and mourn his death, but he was the one who poisoned him, and married his wife.
Rosencrantz and Guildenstern appear to be great friends of Hamlet. They went to school together, and when they arrive in Denmark, Hamlet greets them warmly. He trusts them enough to reveal he feels Denmark is a prison, and he is the prisoner. It is quickly evident, however, they are not true friends to Hamlet. He questions why they are at Elsinore, and makes them reveal they “were sent for” by the King (II.ii,284). Throughout the rest of the play, they keep an eye on Hamlet, and report his behaviour to Claudius. They reveal Claudius they do not believe Hamlet to be truly crazy, but think he is upset at something he will not disclose to them. In Act IV, they escort Hamlet to England, and essentially to his death. They possess papers with Claudius’s official instructions to have Hamlet’s head cut off the moment they reach England. Hamlet discovers these papers, and now has absolute proof his good ‘friends’ are truly against him. Hamlet arranges for their deaths, and reveals his conscience is clean, as they did this to themselves by pretending to be his friend while secretly working for his uncle. Rosencrantz and Guildenstern appear to be Hamlet’s close friends, but they are actually spies for the king, and their deception leads to their deaths.
Hamlet is an example of a character who differs in their appearance versus reality. The play revolves around Hamlet’s fake madness. Throughout, Hamlet manages to...