Appearance vs. Reality?

Essay by amberlynnCollege, UndergraduateA, March 2004

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One of the most fundamental questions in philosophy is the one of appearance vs. reality. We find ourselves asking the question of what is genuinely "real," and what is viewed merely as just an "appearance," and not real? It becomes difficult when we assume there is a difference in the two to determine which is which. Generally, what we label as "real" is regarded as external and eternal. What we refer to as just an appearance is regarded as temporary and internal. Many early as well as modern day authors use the theme of appearance vs. reality to portray a character in a certain way.

The theme of Appearance vs. Reality is extremely noted in Williams Shakespeare's Hamlet. This play can be summarized as a young prince's journey in life to discover the truth of his father's death. Throughout the story, you learn much about the deceitfulness that the characters portray.

Claudius, who is Hamlet's uncle as well as the king's brother, deceitfully marries the recently widowed

queen, taking the throne. In the beginning of the story it is believed that Claudius actually murdered his brother the king. Many of the characters in the story are viewed as being honest and innocent characters, but in reality they are evil in their actions as well as in their speeches. There are really four dishonest characters that I saw as being relevant to the theme of appearance vs. reality, and they are Polonius, Rosencrantz, Guildenstern, and the newly crowned king Claudius. When these characters are first being introduced in this story, they tend to come across as being truthful and honorable, but in all reality they have many evil sides that show when they play their deceitful roles against Hamlet as well as the people of Denmark. Their innocent appearances become...