Illusion Against Reality in Hamlet

Length: 4 Pages 1054 Words

The focus of this essay is the struggle between appearance and reality as illustrated in the play Hamlet by William Shakespeare. This play teaches us about the reality and appearances and how important each of these are. The struggle between appearance and reality is clearly evident throughout the play. Things within the play appear to be true and honest but in reality are polluted with evil, mainly the characters. Polonius the king’s royal assistant has a fixation with appearance. He always wants to keep up the appearance of la oving and caring person. Polonius appears to be like a man who loves and cares about his son, Laertes. Polonius speaks to his son with advice, which 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, but he sends a spy to Continue...


Both show that it will be very difficult for Hamlet to uncover the reliability hidden within the lies. 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. Hamlet is spied on many times in the play. Unwilling to let up his cover, Claudius goes so far as to let his own wife Gertrude drink of the cup of poison he had prepared for Hamlet. It reveals a love and care for Hamlet to the council and Gertrude. Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, Polonius, and the king all appear to be good and honest. Throughout the play, characters help to show the theme, which is appearance versus reality. He appears to be to be an excellent king. Also it makes Claudius appear to be kind and loving person. He speaks well of the King Hamlet by showing a general love for him and all his subjects. Next thing Claudius does is announcing that Hamlet is next to get a crown. Through the play Polonius hides behind his mask appearing to be honest loving parent. Claudius seems like a very organized and powerful king who is in control of his country and of its affairs. Under this shiny disguise hides a most sinful man. As each character is presented in the play all appear to be good and honest making it a hard for Hamlet to uncover the hidden truth about the nature of each character.