Appearance Vs. Reality In Hamlet

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In Hamlet, Shakespeare explores the theme of appearance versus reality through the duplicitous characters presented in the text. He examines the way in which humanity is hypocritical, and how willing we are to alter ourselves in an attempt to appear superior.

Shakespeare uses Hamlet’s character to exemplify the theme of appearance versus reality and the hypocrisy of humanity. In Act I scene II, we see Hamlet exhibit his indignation about deception. In voicing that he “know[s] not seems,” and that he does not seem sad, he is sad, Hamlet projects himself to be a man of honesty, while implying others are not. Hamlet establishes his moral standings, stressing his belief that one’s outward appearance, like a “dejected haviour of the visage” should
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In feigning madness, I feel Hamlet is conforming to the devious ways of people he despises (i.e. Claudius). By contradicting his own commitment to authenticity in his thoughts and actions, Hamlet becomes, to me, Shakespeare’s example of how we can all be subjects of hypocrisy. Furthermore, Hamlet’s paradoxical relationship with words also suggests his duplicity. I feel that Shakespeare foreshadows Hamlet’s hypocrisy through his opening line by saying: “a little more than kin, and less than kind”, where he manipulates words to provide double meanings. By taking a literal approach in saying “a little more than kin” Hamlet could be accepting that Claudius is family but he is “less than kind” in the charitable sense. Nevertheless, Shakespeare invites us to see how words can have two very different meanings, just as people sometimes do. In saying “a little more than kin” Hamlet ironically infers that Claudius has crossed the threshold from the line of “family” to the line of “enemy.” From this, it is possible to assume that in saying “less than kind” Hamlet is referring

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