Appearance Vs Reality
Anonymity is something that makes mankind feel quite powerful, and in some cases it is to benefit us in certain situations. Shakespeare’s Hamlet is known as one of the greatest plays of all time and, Appearance vs. reality is a major theme that is consistent throughout this play. In the play Hamlet there are characters who are behaving and acting a certain way, while in reality their objective and intentions are the direct opposite. Some of these characters do not realize this until the end of the play. Most of these characters appear to be candid and sincere throughout the play, while in reality they appear to be the complete opposite by the end of the play. Shakespeare has used five character throughout the play, in order to demonstrate the theme of appearance vs reality. Those five characters are Hamlet, Claudius, Polonius, Rosencrantz, and Guildenstern.
Throughout the play Hamlet makes it look like he has gone mad due to his father’s death. Moreover he blames his madness on the fact that his mother married his uncle Claudius not too long after his father’s death, and due to his uncle and Ophelia rejecting him. ”And he, repelled—a short tale to make—Fell into a sadness, then into a fast, Thence to a watch, thence into a weakness, Thence to a lightness, and, by this declension, Into the madness wherein now he raves And all we mourn for.” (Hamlet 2.2.150-155). On the contrary to his actions the main reason behind Hamlet’s insanity is to find out what his uncle’s intentions are. Hamlet decided that once he finds out claudius’s intentions, he will kill him right after and he will use his lunacy as an excuse to his actions. “As I perchance hereafter shall think meet to put an antic disposition on..” (Hamlet 1.5.190-191). Hamlet also seems to be extremely mad at Ophelia and he even threatens her. And it makes the reader believe that all these actions and his lunacy is due to his father’s death. While on reality Hamlet’s bad treatment and madness towards Ophelia is not due to his father’s death. Ophelia’s ignorance, made Hamlet hate her. He uses his fake lunacy to convince that he has gone insane and makes it look like Ophelia is one of the reasons behind it.
Another character that is used to demonstrate appearance vs reality throughout the play is polonius. Polonius is the royal assistant of king Claudius. He seems like a genuine and caring person. The people of the kingdom believe that he is a responsible person and that he is concerned about them and the kingdom. Furthermore it seems like he is a loving and caring father for both Laertes and Ophelia, and he has faith in Laertes and trusts him. Polonius also appears to be concerned about Ophelia’s unconditional love for Hamlet, so he decides to tell her that Hamlet is only using her. ” 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,” (Hamlet 1.3.81-85). On reality ,Polonius only acts like he is a truthful and sincere person, rather than actually being one. He acted like he cared about the kingdom, while in reality, he only did what he did because, he thought it was the best for himself, which makes him fairly selfish. He also acted like as if he was a caring father while in reality he was the one who decided to send his son Laertes away and yet sent someone to spy on him. Polonius showed that he’s concerned about his daughter’s relationship with Hamlet by telling her that Hamlet is using her while in reality the only reason why he did that was because he did not like Hamlet’s insanity and he didn’t want his daughter around him. “Do not believe his vows; for they are brokers not that of that dye which their investments show, but mere implorators, of unholy suits,” (Hamlet 1.3.133-135). “You shall do marvellous wisely, good Reynaldo, before you visit him, to make inquire of his behaviour,” (Hamlet 2.1.3-5).
King Claudius is Hamlet’s uncle and he portrays himself as a virtuous and respectable king. He also makes it seem like he is saddened due to his brother’s, former king Hamlet’s death. Moreover Claudius tries to show that he is concerned about Hamlet and Gertrude and that he cares about them. “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,” (Hamlet 1.2.1-4). On the contrary to what he does and how he acts, Claudius is an evil person & he is the one who killed his own brother, King Hamlet. Claudius also lies about the fact that he cares for Hamlet and Gertrude, He only does that because he wants the throne and he needs Gertrude’s support. Claudius tried to get rid of Hamlet as soon as he realized that Hamlet is looking for an answer. “England; for like the hectic in my blood he rages, and thou must cure me. Till I know ’tis done…” (Hamlet 4.3.69-71). Furthermore Claudius acted like he was innocent and that he was disappointed about his brother’s death while having a chat with Hamlet, While in reality he faked his sympathy and innocence just because he was afraid that Hamlet might find out the truth that he killed his father.
Rosencrantz and Guildenstern portray themselves as two of the closest friends that Hamlet had since childhood, but in reality they’re not Hamlet’s friends anymore. Whenever they talk to Hamlet they act like they’re his good friends and that they really want to know what is bothering Hamlet while in reality they’re against him. They’re sent by the king in order to spy on Hamlet and determine why he has gone mad. They’re ordered by the king to find the truth behind Hamlet’s insanity. They would make random reasons to visit and talk to Hamlet. They got an order from the king to see Hamlet and to spy on him and they do not care about Hamlet’s problems “(To Be or Not to Be, pg.1,para 4).
Many Characters in the play Hamlet mask their real intentions and personalities and they betray and lie to each other in order to gain what they wish. Appearance vs reality is a major theme that’s consistent throughout this play. In the play Hamlet there are characters who are behaving and acting a certain way, while in reality their objective and intentions are the direct opposite. Some of these characters do not realize this until the end of the play. Shakespeare unmasked and revealed the inner thoughts of the character in the play Hamlet by using the Theme Appearance vs. Reality. In Particular, The five characters who constantly try to mask their personalities and pretend to be someone that they are not are, Hamlet, Polonius, Claudius, Guildenstern, and Rosencrantz. These Character in the play always mask their intentions and inner thoughts.