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