In today’s society, appearance is everything. What brand do you wear? What hairstyle do you have? What color is your skin? Are you fat? Are you “cool”? However, appearances are often deceiving, and sometimes first impressions are anything but accurate. The deceptive quality of appearance plays a major role in Shakespeare’s play Hamlet. Throughout the entire play, Shakespeare addresses the theme of appearance versus reality through plot and characterization.
Hamlet’s plot is teeming with incidents and events that prove how things are not always as they appear to be on the surface. One specific incident is Ophelia’s ambiguous death. When the audience first hears of Ophelia’s death from the Queen, it sounds as though it were an accident. She speaks of the death poetically and claims that it was an accident. During the Graveyard Scene, however, the clowns speak of Ophelia’s death as a suicide. Does Ophelia, as it appears, absent-mindedly set foot too far into the murky waters and, held down by her heavy garments, meets with her untimely death? Or, does she, mad...
... middle of paper ...
... on Hamlet. Ed. Mark Thornton Burnett and John Manning. New York: AMS Press, 1994. 189-205.
Hopkins, Lisa. "Parison and the Impossible Comparison." New Essays on Hamlet. Ed. Mark Thornton Burnett and John Manning. New York: AMS Press, 1994. 153-164.
Rose, Mark. "Reforming the Role." Modern Critical Interpretations: Hamlet. Ed. Harold Bloom. New York City: Chelsea House Publishers, 1986. 117-128
Wiggins, Martin. "Hamlet Within the Prince." New Essays on Hamlet. Ed. Mark Thornton Burnett and John Manning. New York: AMS Press, 1994. 209-226.
Need Writing Help?
Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.Check your paper »
- Appearance versus Reality in Hamlet Shakespeare's play, Hamlet, is a tale of a young prince who must ascertain the truth regarding his father's death. Throughout the play, the fundamental theme of appearance versus reality is constant. The majority of the main characters hide behind veils of lies and deceptions, obscuring the truth to the point that nearly nothing of their actual selves are visible. The labyrinth of deception is so twisted that only Hamlet is aware of the truth, and only because the ghost of his father revealed it to him.... [tags: Essays on Shakespeare Hamlet]
1073 words (3.1 pages)
- Appearance vs. Reality in Shakespeare's Hamlet In Hamlet deceiving illusions are frequently used to protect truth from being a destructive force. Situations within acts one and two that appear to be true and honest are really contaminated with evil. Various characters within the first two acts hide behind masks of corruption. In the first two acts most characters presented seem to be good and honest making it a complex task for Hamlet to discover all the lies that have hidden objectives within them.... [tags: Shakespeare Hamlet]
513 words (1.5 pages)
- Appearance Vs Reality In Hamlet 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.... [tags: Hamlet, Characters in Hamlet, Gertrude]
1674 words (4.8 pages)
- Reality and Illusion in Hamlet Shakespeare’s play, Hamlet, begins with the appearance of a ghost, an apparition, possibly a hallucination. Thus, from the beginning, Shakespeare presents the air of uncertainty, of the unnatural, which drives the action of the play and develops in the protagonist as a struggle to clarify what only seems to be absolute and what is actually reality. Hamlet's mind, therefore, becomes the central force of the play, choosing the direction of the conflict by his decisions regarding his revenge and defining the outcome.... [tags: Essays on Shakespeare Hamlet]
882 words (2.5 pages)
- Appearance versus Reality in Hamlet Appearance versus reality is one of the central themes of Shakespeare's play, Hamlet. The characters in the play assume roles for the purpose of concealment - Claudius, in reality a murderer and usurper, plays the roles of grieving brother and rightful king; the adulterous Gertrude plays the role of a 'most seeming-virtuous queen' when she is, in her son's view, a 'most pernicious woman'. Even Hamlet himself assumes the role of a madman in his attempt to establish the reality of his uncle's guilt.... [tags: GCSE English Literature Coursework]
1602 words (4.6 pages)
- By far, Hamlet is the best piece of writing ever written by William Shakespeare in my opinion. In most tragedies heroes die in the worse manner ever; in the play Romeo and Juliet, Romeo and Juliet commits suicide, and like that Hamlet dies by getting stabbed with a poison blade. The theme appearance versus reality has shown a lot throughout this play. Things may appear to be one way, but in reality, it’s a different allusion to many evil circumstances. Many characters throughout the play tends to hide behind a different personality than what they portray in reality.... [tags: deceit, truth, love]
533 words (1.5 pages)
- Reality, Illusion, Appearance, and Deception in Shakespeare's Hamlet As appearances play an important role in today's society, so they also play an important role in William Shakespeare's play Hamlet. From the first scene to the last, Shakespeare elaborates on the theme of appearance versus reality through plot and character. The play's plot is full of incidents and events that are not what they appear to be. One such incident is Ophelia's ambiguous death. When, from the Queen, the audience first learns of her passing, the girl's death seems very peaceful, poetic and accidental.... [tags: GCSE Coursework Shakespeare Hamlet]
1269 words (3.6 pages)
- Appearance versus Reality in Hamlet Hamlet is organized around various pairs of opposing forces. One of these forces is the difference between that what seems and that which actually is, in other words, appearance versus reality. What is, and what merely appears to be. We can discern two principal angles from which this question is approached in Hamlet. First, we have the angle of inward and outward emotions, and the profound distinction that is drawn between them. In other words, the tranquil face that we all show to the world is never the same as the turmoil of our souls.... [tags: Essays on Shakespeare Hamlet]
2127 words (6.1 pages)
- Appearance versus Reality in William Shakespeare's Hamlet Things are not always what they seem. This statement is prevalent to Shakespeare's "Hamlet", emphasized in some connotations of the language used by Hamlet's character in his second soliloquy. Throughout the play there remains a conflict of appearance versus reality. In addition to revealing Hamlet's plot to catch the king in his guilt, this soliloquy uncovers the very essence of Hamlet's true conflict. Characters such as Polonius, Rosencrantz, and Claudius are all hiding behind a mask of fallacy.... [tags: Papers]
423 words (1.2 pages)
- Appearance vs. Reality in William Shakespeare's Hamlet In Hamlet, one of Shakespeare's greatest tragedies, there is a prevailing theme that is concurrent throughout the play. Throughout the play, all the characters appear to be one thing on the outside, yet on the inside they are completely different. The theme of appearance versus reality is prominent in Hamlet because of the fact that the characters portray themselves different from what they really are. In the play, Claudius, Hamlet's uncle, appears to be a caring, moderate man on the outside, but he is using his loving personality to mask his true traits of a selfish, mean, cold-hearted murderer.... [tags: Papers]
999 words (2.9 pages)