Appearance Versus Reality in Hamlet

1786 Words8 Pages
Maya Bishop Ms. J. Yurick ENG 4U November 6, 2012 Shakespeare’s Hamlet: Appearance versus Reality In Shakespeare’s Hamlet, Hamlet gradually uncovers the truth about his father’s recent murder. The difference between what seems to be and what actually is, forms the theme of appearance versus reality. Things within the play appear to be true and honest but in reality are infested with lies and ulterior motives. Many of the characters hide behind a mask of falseness. Hamlet, Claudius, and Gertrude all put up a facade in an attempt to get what they want, and these characters play their roles behind a veil of duplicity. The theme of appearance versus reality gives shape to Hamlet’s, Claudius’, and Gertrude’s characters, as they all try to conceal their true emotions that stem from King Hamlet’s death. Hamlet has been interpreted as a tragic figure due to the poisonous misfortune that is inflicted upon him. It is abnormal that Hamlet cannot find the will to avenge his father’s death immediately. The full conflict of which he feels and keeps concealed within himself is not explained. Some insight into Hamlet’s true feelings are revealed however, through his soliloquies and asides. Although Hamlet mourns his father’s death, we see that the source of his depression lies in his mother’s hasty marriage. This has turned his world into “... an unweeded garden/ That grows to seed; things rank and gross in nature/ Possess it, merely” (I.ii.135-137). While he accumulates more and more evidence of Claudius’ obvious guilt, he constantly returns to the theme of his mother’s remarriage, a source of pain equally as unbearable as the circumstances of his father’s death. There is also the question: is Hamlet’s madness real or feigned? Everyone in the court seems to think that Hamlet has gone crazy. The only character who is an exception is Horatio, as he is Hamlet’s true
Open Document