Essay, Research Paper: Hamlet And Truth

Shakespeare: Hamlet

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As the young prince of Denmark, Hamlet, tries to uncover the truth of his
father's death, he has no one to turn to. Many of the characters within the play
appear to be genuine and honest but are really infested with evil. Not knowing
who is actually genuine and honest, Hamlet trusts no one. Shakespeare develops a
theme of appearance vs. reality where Hamlet's dedication to the truth is
stressed in contrast to the appearance which others serve. Many of the
characters seem to hide behind masks, which give the impression they are sincere
and genuine, when in reality they are plagued with lies and evil, notably
Claudius. In order for the truth to be revealed Hamlet must disguise himself and
real motives to find out what is real and what not. From the very beginning
Hamlet questions the motives of his uncle Claudius, who has just married
Gertrude, his mother the queen. As the plays goes on he finds his father was
murdered by the newly crowned king. Hamlet cannot share his feelings with his
mother because she is literally sleeping with the enemy. This is where Hamlet's
distrust begins. He uses the expression "shows of grief….that a man might
play.", to develop the theme of appearance vs. reality while referring to
Claudius. He realizes that Claudius is willing to do anything to stay king of
Denmark, obviously including betraying Gertrude. Gertrude believes that Claudius
loves Hamlet, when on the contrary Claudius hates him and is plotting his
murder. Hamlet knows he cannot trust the other woman in his life, Ophelia,
because she has taken the side of Claudius because of her father Polonius. There
is no real reason that Polonius has given Ophelia not to trust him because
Polonius has always given the illusion of being a loving caring father. Polonius,
however, is only interested in the appearances of things. Polonius tries to
convince Ophelia that Hamlet does not love her, only lusts after her. He cannot
conceive the fact that Hamlet really does love Ophelia. Tender yourself more
dearly, Or- not to crack the wind of the poor phase, Running it thus- you'll
tender me a fool. He thinks only of himself and shows this. He is more
interested in his public image then his daughters welfare. Polonius' mentality
is shown through his son. His greatness weigh'd, his will is no his own; For he
himself is subject to his birth. He may not as unvalued persons do, Carve for
himself, for on his choice depends The sanity and health of the whole state
Laertes refers to Hamlet as not being a private person but a public one.
Whatever he does has public concern. Ophelia's family is anti-Hamlet which makes
Ophelia biased and makes Hamlet not able to fully trust her. The ghost is
something else that Hamlet is not sure that he can trust. Hamlet's has doubts
about the nature of the ghost. Hamlet realizes that if he merely ups and kills
Claudius and avenges the death of his father the ghost, he would definitely have
been tried and put to death. This would leave the people with no king, and a war
would probably break out.
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