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Four of the main characters that attempt to deceive Hamlet by hiding behind this mask are Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, Polonius, and King Claudius.Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are two of Hamlets childhood friends who are not as they appear. They give the appearance of being Hamlet’s friend, yet in reality, the pair only came to Elsinore because they were summoned. Knowing that his so-called friends are lying about the purpose of their visit, Hamlet discloses nothing to them.Following this, Claudius proceeds to declare Hamlet as the most immediate to the throne before the court, furthermore strengthening his appearance as a loving father.
Polonius appears to be a good father, and honourable man. He gives advice in order to appear to be a caring father, when in fact he speaks in order to look good rather than to actually be good.
Upon learning that his son is going to France, he gives several pieces of advice to Laertes, in particular “This above all, to thine own self be true” (II. Polonius then sends Reynaldo to bring Laertes money but instructs that “Before you visit him, to make inquire / Of his behaviour” (II. 4-5), and then advises him how to be sneaky about it.
In Act II, a terrified Ophelia cries out to her father and tells of Hamlet’s recent melancholy and strange behaviour.
Upon hearing this, Polonius’ initial concern is not for Ophelia and her safety, but for Hamlet. He decides to inform the King of this recent news, not for the protection of his daughter, but so that the King might find favour with him in light of Hamlet’s recent madness.
Call me what Instrument you will, though you can fret me, you cannot play upon me. The King’s royal associate, Polonius, plays an important role in developing the theme.
Appearance Vs Reality Hamlet Essay Stickley Furniture Essay
He’s constantly keeping up the facade of a concerned and caring individual.Similarly, Claudius puts on a manufactured appearance to conceal his overwhelming desire for power.He is an ambitious, intelligent and capable ruler, willing to go to great extents to satisfy his own desires, even at the cost of innocent lives.They are asked by the King and Gertrude to spy on Hamlet in order to find the reason behind Gertrude’s “too much changed son” (II. Surprised by his friends’ unexplained arrival, Hamlet questions what has brought them there. Hamlet instantly sees through their lies and insists “you were sent for, and there / is a kind of confession in your looks…I know the good king and / queen have sent for you” (II. Having gotten no answers for the King, the two were asked to go to Hamlet once more and continue to seek the real reason for Hamlet’s behaviour.Rosencrantz lies when responding “To visit you my lord, no other occasion” (II. Hamlet has little patience since being lied to and reveals to the pair that he is aware that they are spies and saying to them: [Y]ou would play upon me, you would seem to know my stops, you would pluck out the heart of my mystery, …….. 343-350) Although appearing to be Hamlet’s friends, he quickly sees that in actuality, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are only trying to pry him for information.Hamlet’s antic disposition penetrates the outward shell of characters in the play and uncovers their true colours, including himself.As the play progresses, Claudius, Polonius, and Hamlet are put through a series of situations which in the end, exposes their true nature to the audience.In William Shakespeare’s Hamlet, the main theme of the play is appearance versus reality.The characters within the play appear to be sincere and honourable when in reality they are corrupt and immoral.Many of the characters within the play illustrate this concept.When looking at them from behind a mask they give the impression of a person who is genuine and honest, but in reality they are plagued with lies and despicable behaviour.