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Appearances in Hamlet

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'The most intriguing aspect about Hamlet is that one character cannot be genuine' ' Appearances can never be trusted so as one can be confused at Shakespeare's message' Refer to both quotes and offer your own. Appearances is one of the key themes in 'Hamlet', and it occurs throughout the whole play, each character has been seen to put on an appearance, even Horatio who can be seen as someone who doesn't put on an appearance, yet he does for Hamlet's sake. The effects, appearance has on the audience vary, as some think that, appearances can be never trusted, but they are confused at what Shakespeare is trying to say to the audience, whereas others believe that appearances is the best theme, as we see a whole other personality, and this makes the audience see the characters as not 'one dimensional' but maybe two or three dimensional and this brings the characters alive on stage. Appearance also links other themes together, the theme of reality and imagination, madness, deception, evil and good. Appearance can be the most intriguing aspect about Hamlet, as the characters we originally see, we portray them only in one light, but with the theme of appearances, we see them in another light. ...read more.


So, we do not see the character's beliefs and what do they really feel like. For example Ophelia in the nunnery scene, she is the main heroine, she puts an appearance to Hamlet, pretending that she doesn't know what's going on, when in fact she does. This does not only lead to her, madness, but also her downfall and the end of Hamlet and Ophelia's romantic relationship. This could also be seen that appearances cannot be trusted, as she has undeniably lost not only her romantic relationship, but also her trust from Hamlet and she has undeniably become a mere puppet for Claudius and Polonius, to manipulate to their needs and to ruin her. On the other hand, Appearances can never be trusted so as one can be confused at Shakespeare's message, as Young Hamlet provides a good appearance for Old Hamlet, yet when we see Old Hamlet, he can be portrayed as someone who emotional blackmails people to get his own way, as he wants Hamlet to kill the "snake" who "wears [Old Hamlet's] crown", as he has corrupted Denmark. Shakespeare is trying to present a middle-ground for appearances, as it can be either good or bad; it just depends on the character. ...read more.


Yet Horatio, who we see at first, he is a scholar and so the audience can trust him, and he does not put on an appearance, but when Hamlet is about to put on his "antic disposition", Horatio starts acting, just for Hamlet's sake. Overall, Shakespeare is trying to make appearances in the middle-ground, as it can neither be good nor evil; it just depends on the character itself. Without appearances, the characters wouldn't be as interesting as they would be, and they would only be presented as one-dimensional, when they should have three dimensions to it. He is also trying to show the audience that with appearances, we cannot judge a book by its cover. As appearances are seen as the corrupting Denmark through the "ear" and that it is a "prison", it covers all of that up, making it look normal, yet it is corrupted underneath. As Horatio says "tis rotten in the state of Denmark", I believe that appearances are useful, but they can be trusted to a certain length, whereas if you completely trust it, then corruption would reign supreme. 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. ...read more.

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