In Shakespeare's tragedy, Hamlet, there is a prevalent and almost overwhelming theme. All
throughout the play, all of the characters appear as one thing, with one standpoint, and one outlook.
However on the inside, all of these characters are completely different. This 'mask' theme, the way that all
of the characters portray themselves as one person on the outside and one different one on the inside, is not
in the least disguised by Shakespeare. Claudius, the murdering king, appears to be a somewhat kind,
caring, and friendly person. But inside he is different. He is cold, calculating, and self-serving. But this
might also be a mask. The women in the play, Ophelia and Gertrude, both use a type of mask to cover
what is obvious in their lives, masking it so that they can continue living as if their existence was without
and cruelty. And finally Hamlet hides behind his madness, be it real or pretend, a person who is indecisive
Masks in this play are not just a theme; they are the whole basis of it.
The mask theme develops throughout the play as various characters try to cover their secret
intentions with a veneer of a whole other person. One of the most obvious, of course is Claudius. Claudius
murdered his brother, the former king Hamlet, in order to become king himself. This murder, which was
done in secret, with no one but Cladius knowing that the act was committed by him. Not only is he the
King of Denmark, but he is also married to Queen Gertrude, his brothers former wife. These hideous and
awful crimes have not been punished, and no one knows that Claudius has done this. When Claudius
confronts anyone, he must become someone totally different. Claudius puts on a...