Essay On The Dichotomy Between Appearance And Reality In Hamlet

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In William Shakespeare’s play Hamlet, the discrepancy between appearance and reality drives the central plot. Following the premature death of his father, Hamlet questions the true intentions of his uncle Claudius, his mother Gertrude, his close friends Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, and even his lover Ophelia. Yet, when faced with lies and deceit, Hamlet deliberately puts on his own appearance of “antic disposition” to hide his inner thoughts and disguise his carefully plotted actions. Ironically, it is through this deception that Hamlet seeks to learn the truth about his father’s death. This dichotomy between appearance and reality, between truth and deceit, leads Hamlet to discover that truth is subjective to one’s own perspective.
Throughout the play, Hamlet must contemplate the disparity between the appearance and the truth regarding his father’s death. King Hamlet appears to have died from a serpent bite while he was
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During his initial exchange with Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, Hamlet tells them that, “There is nothing/ either good or bad, but thinking makes it so” (2.2.248 - 250). Hamlet’s confusion within an ambiguous world, where appearance and reality often do not coincide, leads him to believe that the appearance of something is what you make of it. However, at the end of the play, the appearance of death and destruction as result of Denmark’s corruption is in fact the reality, as startling as it may seem. Hamlet’s final wish is that Horatio lives to tell his story: “If thou didst ever hold me in thy heart / Absent thee from felicity awhile, / And in this harsh world draw thy breath in pain, / To tell my story” (5.2.320-323). Hamlet wants others to have the clarity that he suffered for. He wants others to see the reality of things from his perspective. Most importantly, he wants the appearance of the scene to match the reality of what is

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