Literary Analysis Essay on Hamlet

Published: 2021-07-08
1074 words
4 pages
9 min to read
Wesleyan University
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Research paper
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The main themes in the works of Shakespeare Hamlet are reality versus appearance. The two themes explain how the conduct of a particular character may seem to be perfect and dependable while in the real sense they have different intentions that do not match their behavior. Various examples have been used to explain these two themes. Another important illustration is the fool who, indeed, is astute yet by all accounts seems stupid and the King who appears to have control but, however, has neither his life nor respect. The catastrophe is an account of finding the subjects and "genuine" children. In Othello, all through the play, the "fair Iago," tries to seem steadfast, kind, considerate and benevolent to Othello and others, but however, he is a crafty and slippery individual who is depicted as the devil's incarnation. The play is similarly an account of discovering reality. In Macbeth, witches predict a decent future and hope to bring great greetings; however, they do want bad things to happen to the individuals in the play. The gutsy Macbeth at first seems to be dedicated but turns out to be to be a deceiver who in most section of the play goes unsuspected. This article will discuss the appearance and reality theme in Shakespeares play, Hamlet (Juhl 43).

In Hamlet, the theme appearance versus reality happens frequently. The first occasion that depicts appearance versus the reality is after his arrival from school in Wittenberg, Germany, and the demise of King Hamlet, Prince Hamlet's dad. Hamlet is addressing his mom and his uncle, Claudius, as he reveals his emotions towards his father's passing (Bate and Rasmussen 39). Hamlet tells his mom that he doesn't seem to be lamenting, but in reality, he is. In Act II scene 1, Hamlet gives off an impression of being crazy (Bennett 23). The passionate turmoil over his dad's demise has made him unsettled, and he seems crazy to some of the court individuals. Hamlet reveals to Horatio that he would put on a show to be insane, along these lines; Horatio ought not to shake his head at him. Hamlet uses the method for tossing or diverting everybody as he tries to settle down from his dad's demise. He talks ordinarily to his friend though he acts insane with every other person (Bate and Rasmussen 39).

In the play, Ophelia is controlled by her dad and spies on Hamlet. Hamlet sees through the misrepresentation, and control, and perceives that a trap has been laid for him and hence lashes out at the unfortunate Ophelia. Hamlet addresses her inconsiderately and nonsensically because he knows Claudius and her dad were spying. Despite the fact that, Hamlet goes about as though he doesn't love Ophelia he still goes ahead to disclose to Laertes that he adored Ophelia and is lamented by her passing (Bate and Rasmussen 24).

Hamlet knows about the distinction amongst reality and appearance. He needs Horatio to join in the judgment of Claudius' "appearing." Hamlet is for sure most mindful of "the shrewd certainty under the shroud of good appearance" (Bate and Rasmussen 25). Hamlet shows his affections when he regrets to his classmates, and they pity him.

Hamlet's uncle Claudius, and Queen Gertrude's husband, just give off an impression of being minding and great to Hamlet. Claudius appears to be worried about Hamlet's breaking down emotionally, but in reality, she is searching and plotting for ways to execute Hamlet. He arranges a duel amongst Hamlet and Laertes, where Laertes uses a sword tipped with the toxic substance. He then gives Hamlet a drink from a cup that is poisoned. Claudius additionally sends Hamlet to England under the falsification of assurance that he will survive, but in reality, he has been arranged to be murdered by the King of England. In the play, King Claudius seems like he was sincerely lamenting King Hamlet's, his sibling, passing when, truth be told, he was the individual behind his demise. Claudius additionally appears to lament Polonius' passing and puts on a show to enable Laertes and Ophelia to discover and convey his killer to justice though, truth be told, he is searching for a chance to execute Hamlet (Bate and Rasmussen 26).

Polonius in Act II scene II, and in Act III scene II seems to be favoring Hamlet by consenting to whatever Hamlet said at the same time. In essence, he is Claudius instrument. He needs to satisfy his Lord to infiltrate Hamlet and utilizing his little girl Ophelia as the bait. The unsympathetic father trusts that Hamlet will go up against Ophelia there and inadvertently uncover his exact sentiments to himself and the King (Bate and Rasmussen 26). Polonius additionally goes about just as he thinks about his girl and erroneously shows concerns in regards to the Prince's wellbeing though he is controlling his little girl. He disallows his little girl from seeing Hamlet in the wake of persuading her that Hamlet does not love her. Polonius knows about the unscrupulousness of his activities and convinces Queen Gertrude that his activities are because of worry for her child's apparent psychological wellness. Additionally, her child is seen as Claudius pawn trying to charm himself with the King (Bate and Rasmussen 26).

Hamlet Sr., Hamlet's dad, appears to Hamlet as an apparition and converses with him concerning Gertrude. Gertrude seems to be respectable though; she was committing infidelity with his sibling, Claudius. After Hamlet murders Polonius, he requests that Queen Gertrude not to enlighten Claudius regarding the demise and furthermore requests that her not rest in his bed. She seems trustable though, in reality, she is most certainly not. She discloses to Claudius about the passing and proceeds to sleep in his bed. Gertrude seems to at Ophelia's memorial service, yet she couldnt have cared less for her.


Apparently, the play comprises of pictures, scenes, thoughts, and characters that propose the appearance and reality. Maynard Mack has contended the perspectives of reality versus appearance in the play typically more than once. The play plainly represents trickery, double-dealing, and lies. There are difficult issues amongst appearance and reality that results from defilement, lies, and goals, which wind up in the grievous downfall of all the important characters in the play.

Work Cited

Juhl, Peter D. Interpretation: an essay in the philosophy of literary criticism. Princeton University Press, 2014.

Bennett, Andrew, and Nicholas Royle. An introduction to literature, criticism and theory. Routledge, 2016. Bate, Jonathan, and Eric Rasmussen, eds. William Shakespeare and others: collaborative plays. Palgrave Macmillan, 2013.


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