APPEARANCE vs. REALITY IN "THE PRINCE" AND "HAMLET"

1614 Words Jul 18th, 2005 7 Pages
3. Reality and appearances, or if you prefer, being and acting, are important themes for both Machiavelli and Shakespeare. Why? How do their perspectives on this subject agree or differ?

APPEARANCE vs. REALITY IN "THE PRINCE" AND "HAMLET"

One of the most fundamental questions in philosophy is the appearance vs. reality. We find ourselves asking the question of what is genuinely "real," and what is viewed merely as just an "appearance," and not real? It becomes difficult when we assume there is a difference in the two to determine which is which. Generally, what we label as "real" is regarded as external and eternal. What we refer to as just an appearance is regarded as temporary and internal. Many early as well as modern day authors use
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Although he appears to be a confident father he does not trust his son to go away on his own. Furthermore, Polonius adds to the theme of appearance versus reality by ordering Ophelia to stop seeing Hamlet. He lies to her by telling her that Hamlet does not love her, he only lusts for her. Two of Hamlet's closest friends from his childhood Rosencrantz and Guildenstern can as well be viewed as liars who become very deceitful to Hamlet. After being asked by the king to find out what is bothering Hamlet, the two go to Hamlet pretending to see him as a friend, but are in reality just obeying the king's orders. When they ask what is troubling Hamlet, they become insincere, and almost sound as though they had rehearsed what it was they were going to say. Hamlet noticed that the boys were told to do this and states, "A dream itself is but a shadow" (Hamlet 73). Hamlet then realized that his own friend were not in reality any friends at all. The king again sends Rosencrantz and Guildenstern to apologize for their behavior but Hamlet noticed their intentions yet again and simply insulted them. Hamlet's supposed friends greatly add to the theme of appearance vs. reality.

The last character is Claudius, the brother of the deceased king, who was crowned the new king of Denmark is viewed as an honest and honorable man. As seen in a speech given by Claudius in the presence of the council in Act One Scene Two, he
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