Character Duplicity in Hamlet

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In Act I Scene II of Hamlet, Gertrude asks Hamlet, "Why seems it so particular with thee?" Since death is common to all, she asks, why does Hamlet seem to be making such a particular fuss about his father's death? He replies, "Seems Madam? Nay it is. I know not seems." It is not a question of seeming, but being: His black mourning clothes are simply a true representation of his deep unhappiness. With this line, Shakespeare develops the theme of appearance versus reality and that he intends to stress Hamlet's dedication to truth in contrast to appearances which serve others, notably Claudius. Allied to the question of Hamlet's madness is a variety of references to the idea of acting a part or of presenting a false image to the world. Hamlet…show more content…
Claudius speaks highly of Polonius giving him thanks and saying the he was responsible for Claudius becoming king: "The head is not more native to the heart, The hand more instrumental to the mouth, Than is the throne of Denmark to thy father. What woudlst thou have, Laertes?" (Act 1, Scene 2 lines 47 - 50) This council would see this as a man who greatly respects his subjects and cares for them. This adds to the difficulty of uncovering the truth for Hamlet later. Hamlet enters the council chamber and speaks with Claudius. King Claudius speaks with Hamlet seeming to be concerned with Hamlet. He gives advice that over grieving is not healthy, this shows a concern for Hamlets well being. This conduct of Claudius gives him the appearance of being kind in front of council that accepts him even more for his family values: "How is it that the clouds still hang on you?" (Act 1, Scene 2 line 66) Claudius appears to be even more caring when insulted by Hamlet he still shows love and general care for Hamlet. A normal king would have become angry and Hamlet would have gotten into trouble. Claudius shows the council that he is understanding of Hamlet's grief over his father: "A little more than kin, and less than kind." (Act 1, Scene 2 line 65) Claudius gives Hamlet advice that over grieving can be harmful and not healthy. He tells Hamlet that he is an admirable person for grieving for so long over his father's death. Claudius further makes it difficult to
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