One of the most famous and popular authors and script
writers is William Shakespeare. Shakespeare has always been able
to create interesting characters and one of the reasons they are
so interesting might be that they are complex people with their
inner selves differing from their outer selves. Are the
characters in Hamlet the same on the inside as they appear to be
on the outside? The characters in William Shakespeare's Hamlet
can be studied in a manner relating to appearance versus reality.
Some of these characters are Claudius, Rosencrantz and
Guildenstern, and Hamlet.
One character who enables us to examine the theme of
appearance versus reality is Claudius, the new King of Denmark.
In Act One, Scene Two Claudius acts as though he really cares for
his brother and grieves over the elder Hamlet's death. This is
shown in his first speech addressed to his court, 'and that it us
befitted/To bear our hearts in grief, and our whole kingdom/To be
contracted in one brow of woe' (Shakespeare I 2 2-4).
shown further on in the same speech when he says, 'our late dear
brother's death' (Shakespeare I 2 19). However, this is not how
Claudius truly feels about his brothers death, for Claudius is
the one who murders elder Hamlet. We see the proof of this in
Claudius' soliloquy when he appears to be praying; 'O, my offence
is rank, it smells to heaven./It hath the primal eldest curse
upon't/A brother's murder' (Shakespeare III 3 36-38).
Another love which Claudius fakes is the love he has towards
his nephew and stepson, Hamlet. In his first speech to his court
Claudius tells Hamlet not to leave for school but to remain in
Denmark; 'It is most retrograde to our desire/And we do beseech