Appearance Vs Reality in Hamlet

Essay by Anonymous UserA-, January 1996

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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).

It is

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

you, bend...