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William Shakespeare's Hamlet

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In William Shakespeare's Hamlet, the idea of appearance versus reality can be seen through the characters. In a world where the rules are strict, acting inappropriately shows that the appearance is not always the reality. With Hamlet's faked insanity, he is able to deceive the entire court, lying to all those who were close to him, just for revenge and the members of the court act as friends to each others' faces, yet behind their backs, they spy on each other and do not trust one another.

Hamlet's madness was feigned throughout the play to get away with his plan to kill the King, although he suffered from depression. "Here, as before, never, so help you mercy,/ How strange or odd some'er I bear myself/(As I perchance hereafter shall think meet/ To put an antic disposition on" (Ham. 1.5.189-192). Hamlet is telling Horatio that he has a plan, however, to complete his plan, he must act out of sorts. As long as Hamlet is acting insane, it will mask the fact that he is actually out to kill his uncle, the King. He uses this to his advantage to deceive the court, lying to his friends and family to get away with murder. "Ecstasy?/My pulse as yours doth temperately keep time/And makes as healthful music. It is not madness/ That I have uttered. Bring me to the test, And I the matter will reword, which madness/ Would gambol from" (Ham. 3.4.160-165). Hamlet tells his mother the truth, that he is not actually insane, but rather quite coherent and knows exactly what is going on in the world. His feigned madness has convinced his mother otherwise, and she does not believe him when she is told the truth. Gertrude is terrified by Hamlet's actions, and believes he has completely lost his mind. The appearance that Gertrude sees is much different from the reality of the situation, in that Hamlet is sane, rather than absolutely crazy.

The Royal Court is expected to act in a proper and refined manner, which they do on the outside, however, with a closer look, it is not what is seems, since everyone is lying, spying, and cheating on each other. "I'll warrant you. Fear me not. Withdraw,/ I hear him coming" (Ham. 3.4.9-10). The queen is talking to Polonius, when she hears Hamlet entering the room. She tells Polonius to hide, so that he can spy on Hamlet. Spying throughout the court shows that not everything is what it seems. The members of the court act as if they are caring for one another, where in reality they are lying to each other. "The Frenchman gave you; bring you, in fine,/ together/ And wager on your heads. He, being remiss,/ Most generous, and free from all contriving,/ Will not peruse the foils" (Ham. 4.7.151-155). The King tells Laertes to stay calm and to wait patiently because he will get the chance to kill Hamlet and avenge his father's death. The idea that the King is allowing a court member to kill the Prince of Denmark, his own nephew, shows that things



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