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Word Count: 941
An Exploration of the Theme of Appearance vs Reality in Shakespeares Hamlet In William Shakespeares Hamlet many of the characters exhibit a puzzling duplicitous nature namely Hamlet and Claudius Shakespeare weaves an ambiguous tale where through the attributes of acting a role and that of being true to ones self each of the characters appear to be something they are not Unknown2 2 The reason for the characters ruse is that they must struggle with some sort of internal dilemma consciously or sub-consciously be it revenge hypocrisy or deceit These three issues make up a thematic basis of this tragedy they are the reality that is hidden behind a mask of appearances In this play Hamlet consistently contradicts himself through his pledges of revenge and action only to become emotionally distraught and self-piteous moments later in revelations to the audience Unknown1 1 He further displays his paradoxical nature by his feigned madness which is the essence of the appearance versus reality theme of Hamlet In the first act Hamlet appears to be very straightforward in his actions and inner state Crunelle-Vanrigh 6 When questioned by Gertrude about his melancholy appearance Hamlet says Seems madam Nay it is I know not seems 1276 That is to say I am what I appear to be Later in Act I Hamlet makes a clear declaration about his state when he commits himself to revenge After the apparition of his father appears to him Hamlet seems to make a transition from a mourning son to a man whose being is centered on revenge Ill wipe away all trivial fond records All saws of books all forms all pressures past That youth and observation copied there And thy commandment all alone shall live Within the book and volume of my brain15100-103 There is no confusion about Hamlets character at this point he appears to be concentrating wholly on the injustice committed
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