Hamlet (1)

Hamlet one of Shakespeare’s greatest plays, where the young

prince of Denmark must uncover the truth about his fathers death.

Hamlet a play that tells the story of a young prince who’s father

recently died. Hamlets uncle Claudius marries his mother the queen

and takes the throne. As the play is told Hamlet finds out his father

was murdered by the recently crowned king. The theme that remains

constant throughout the play is appearance versus reality. Things

within the play appear to be true and honest but in reality are

infested with evil. Many of the characters within the play hide

behind a mask of falseness. Four of the main characters that hid

behind this mask are Polonius, Rosencrantz (Guildenstern), the king

Cluadius. From behind this mask they give the impression of a person

who is sincere and genuine, in reality they are plagued with lies and

evil. There appearance will make it very difficult for Hamlet to

uncover the truth, the characters hide behind.

Polonius the kings royal assistant has a preoccupation with

appearance. He always wants to keep up the appearance of loving and

caring person. Polonius appears like a man who loves and cares about

his son, Laertes. Polonius speaks to his son with advice that sounds

sincere but in reality it is rehearsed, hollow and without feeling.

Polonius gives his advice only to appear to be the loving caring

father. The reality is he only speaks to appear sincere as a

politician, to look good rather then actually be good: “And borrowing

dulls the edge of husbandry. This above all: to thine own self be

true, And it must follow, as the night the day, Thou canst not then be

false to any man. Farewell; my blessing season this in thee!” Act 1

Polonius gives his son Laertes his blessing to go away, he sends

a spy to follow him and keep an eye on him. This shows his lack of

trust for anyone, he gives the appearance of a confident father who

trusts his son to go off on his own. In reality he lies about his

trust for his son by sending a spy to watch him. His advice he gives

his son is rehearsed and only said to give the appearance of a loving

father. Polonius further adds to the theme appearance verses reality

by ordering Ophelia to stop seeing Hamlet. He lies to her telling her

that Hamlet does not love her, he only lusts for her, in truth he does

love her: Ay, springes to catch woodcocks. I do know, When the blood

burns , how prodigal the soul Through the play Polonius hids behind

his mask appearing to be honest loving parent. In reality Polonius

lies, manipulates people and eavesdrops on peoples conversation.

Polonius helps contribute to the theme appearance verses reality by

showing how his appearance is not his true nature, behind the mask

there lies someone totally different.

Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are two of Hamlets childhood friends

who when asked by the king, try to find out what is troubling the

young prince. Both help to contribute to the theme by showing there

appearance of being Hamlets friends. The pair go to Hamlet pretending

to be his friends when in truth they are only there because the king

asked them to find the truth. There is some irony within the twins,

they are asked by the king to find out the truth by hiding within a

lie, by pretending to be his friend: A dream is but a shadow Act II.

Hamlet knows there purpose for their visit is to dig into his

soul to find the real reason for his actions as of late. As the play

continues the twins are asked again by the king to go to Hamlet and

try again to find the real reason for Hamlets behavior. Hamlet

insults them at every chance knowing they are lying to him about there

purpose of the visit: Tis as easy as lying; govern these ventages with

you finger and thumb, give it breath with your mouth…Act III

As the melodrama continues Hamlet goes with the twins to reclaim

money that another state owes Denmark. Hamlet is sent by the king to

retrieve the assets. In actuality Hamlet is sent off to wither

because the king, Claudius knows that Hamlet knows too much and must

be killed. The twins show there appearance of being Hamlets friends

but in truth they have a hidden reason for visiting with Hamlet. Both

show that it will be very difficult for Hamlet to uncover the fidelity

hidden within the lies.

Claudius the king of Denmark conduct in council gives him the

appearance of an Honest and honorable man. In Act one scene two

Claudius in the presence of council shows his true skill and ease of

manner at speaking. Claudius speaks well of the spent king by

showing a general love for him by all his subjects. Claudius show

respect for the old sovereign by speaking kind words of him. In

reality he cares little for the old king, he speaks kindly only to

give the appearance of loving brother.

Though yet of Hamlet our dear brother’s death

The memory be green, and that it us befitted

To bear our hearts in grief, and our whole kingdom

To be contracted in one brow of woe Act I

As Claudius sends Voltimand and Cornelius off to give the king of

Norway the message of Fortibras, he thanks and gives them complete

trust, in the deliverance of the notation. This shows his trust and

caring for his subjects in front of the council, wining even more

consent from the council: We doubt it nothing: heartily farewell. Act

I Claudius increases his appearance of a honest and honorable man, in

front of the council by showing his respect for Polonius. He gives

him the power to let his son Laertes stay or leave for Norway.

Claudius speaks highly of Polonius giving him thanks and saying the he

was responsible for Claudius becoming king:

The head is not more native to the heart,

The hand more instrumental to the mouth,

Than is the throne of Denmark to thy father.

What woudlst thou have, Laertes (Act I ii, 47-50)

This council would see this as a man who greatly respects his

subjects and cares for them. This adds to the difficulty of

uncovering the truth for Hamlet later. Hamlet enters the council

chamber and speaks with Claudius. The king (Claudius) speaks with

Hamlet seeming to be concerned with Hamlet. He gives advice that over

grieveing is not healthy, this shows a concern for Hamlets well being.

This conduct of Claudius gives him the appearance of being kind in

front of council that accepts him even more for his family values: How

is it that the clouds still hang on you? Act I Claudius appears to be

even more caring when insulted by Hamlet he still shows love and

general care for Hamlet. A normal king would have become angry and

Hamlet would have gotten into trouble. Claudius shows the council that

he is understanding of Hamlet’s grief over his father: A little more

than kin, and less than kind. Act I . Claudius gives Hamlet advice

that over grieveing can be harmful and not healthy. Claudius tells

Hamlet that he is a admirable person for grieveing

for so long over his dads death. Yet again Claudius keeps putting on

the appearance of the honorable man.

Tis sweet and commendable in your nature, Hamlet,

To give these mourning duties to your father:

But, you must know, you father lost a father;

That father lost, lost his; and the survivor bound

In filial obligation for some term

To do obsequious sorrow; but to persever

In obstinate condolement is a course Act I

Claudius further makes it difficult to uncover the truth by

announcing that Hamlet is next in line for the throne of Denmark.

This shows that Claudius would let Hamlet become the next king when

he is gone. This reveals a love and care for Hamlet to the council

and Gertrude making Claudius appear to be kind, loving person: You are

the most immediate to our throne; And with no less nobility of love

Act I

Claudius final conduct that makes him a difficult truth to

uncover, is his care and want that Hamlet remain in Denmark. Claudius

is insulted by Hamlet, he asks Hamlet to stay only that his queen

Gertrude wants Hamlet to stay. Claudius appears to be concerned with

Hamlets well being, Gertrude and council see this ,making Claudius a

more deserving person to be king.

As Claudius speaks in council he gives the appearance of someone

who is a deserving person that should be king. Claudius is voted in

as king meaning he is already approved by everyone. Claudius gives

respect to his subjects giving the council the impression that he

respects them. The king shows general concern for Hamlet, his nephew.

This will make it very difficult to prove the truth about Claudius

in the future for he has not only, one the love and respect of council

(that voted him in). But also has prevented a attack on Denmark (from

Fortinbras) proving that he is good king that can protect the state

from harm. Claudius makes it very difficult for Hamlet to uncover the

truth about the true nature of Claudius in the future.

Through the characters within the play all help to show the theme,

that being appearance verses reality. Polonius, Rosencrantz

(Guildenstern) and the king all appear to be good and honest. As

Hamlet finds out, all contain lies and have hidden intentions within

them. As each character is presented in the play all appear to be

good and honest making it a difficult task for Hamlet to uncover the

hidden truth about the nature of each character. As Hamlet best said

it somethings is rotten in Denmark That being the lies which have

replaced or covered the true state of each character.

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