Role Of Appearances In Hamlet

Caroline Lu
British Literature
Mr. Carlucci
18 December 2015
The Role of Appearances in Hamlet
“Hamlet”, William Shakespeare’s famous tragedy, publishes around 1600, but it continues to fascinate viewers because of its special themes and complex characters. “Hamlet” tells the story of the Prince of Denmark, he finds out that his father, the king, had been murdered by his brother Claudius, who also marries the widowed queen, and claims the throne. In order to accomplish his revenge plan, prince Hamlet fakes madness, which helps him to hide his real intentions from his enemies in order to discover the truth about his father. Other characters also hide their real motivations, feelings and true temperaments under a shadow of appearance. Claudius’s
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Hamlet loves Ophelia and for this reason he is hurt by the fact that she seems to be deceitful as well. He accuses her saying, “I have heard of your paintings too, well enough. God has given you one face and you make yourselves another.” (III, I, ll 154-156). Here, Hamlet accuses women of wearing masks specifically in order to deceive men. In his eyes, women are masters of deception because they hide their real personas under layers of make-up, and by posing as innocent and simple-minded creatures. However, Hamlet does not trust such tricks, and he is not convinced of Ophelia’s love and plainly tells her that he does not trust her. He seems to see only deception around him, and to not be able to discern the people who truly love him, from those who do not. However, he is indeed right to accuse her to being deceitful, because she is also, unwillingly, used by Claudius for his own purposes. On the other hand, Queen Gertrude, his mother, appears to be dishonest to him, because she marries Claudius only 4 months after the death of her husband. For this reason, Hamlet accuses his mother of being wicked, “That blurs the grace and blush of modesty.” (III, iv, l 50). However, Gertrude is guilty of being blind to the truth, rather than wicked. In this play, both women have little power, and they are both manipulated by stronger male characters. As compared to male …show more content…
When there is a contrast between appearances and reality, an atmosphere of tension and distrust installs and this destroy the lives of everybody involved. Unlike most other members of the royal court, Hamlet hates the games of deceit that those around him play, and he easily recognizes dishonesty in those around him. The play has a moral significance, as it tries to show that, when corruption and deceit are used, the outcome will always be negative. Even though Hamlet has noble intentions, his decision of putting a mask of his own, further leads to more distrust and tension. Eventually, this leads to complete

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