Many of the characters within the play illustrate this concept.When looking at them from behind a mask they give the impression of a person who is genuine and honest, but in reality they are plagued with lies and despicable behaviour.
While Polonius appears to be a loving and caring father to Laertes and Ophelia, his approach to Ophelia’s relationship with Hamlet and his interaction with the King proves his overwhelming desire for recognition and status.
In Act I, having received the consent of both the King and his father, Laertes prepares for Paris.
Similarly, Claudius puts on a manufactured appearance to conceal his overwhelming desire for power.
He is an ambitious, intelligent and capable ruler, willing to go to great extents to satisfy his own desires, even at the cost of innocent lives.
Hamlet’s antic disposition penetrates the outward shell of characters in the play and uncovers their true colours, including himself.
As the play progresses, Claudius, Polonius, and Hamlet are put through a series of situations which in the end, exposes their true nature to the audience.Following this, Claudius proceeds to declare Hamlet as the most immediate to the throne before the court, furthermore strengthening his appearance as a loving father.In reality, Claudius does not care much for Hamlet, which…In Act II, a terrified Ophelia cries out to her father and tells of Hamlet’s recent melancholy and strange behaviour.Upon hearing this, Polonius’ initial concern is not for Ophelia and her safety, but for Hamlet. He decides to inform the King of this recent news, not for the protection of his daughter, but so that the King might find favour with him in light of Hamlet’s recent madness.Polonius appears to be a good father, and honourable man. He gives advice in order to appear to be a caring father, when in fact he speaks in order to look good rather than to actually be good.Upon learning that his son is going to France, he gives several pieces of advice to Laertes, in particular “This above all, to thine own self be true” (II. Polonius then sends Reynaldo to bring Laertes money but instructs that “Before you visit him, to make inquire / Of his behaviour” (II. 4-5), and then advises him how to be sneaky about it. Reality in Hamlet Contrast between appearance and reality is a prevalent theme in William Shakespeare’s play, Hamlet.Hamlet’s feigned madness – a perfect example of appearance versus reality - introduces disorder to the royal house of Denmark, forcing others to act accordingly.Four of the main characters that attempt to deceive Hamlet by hiding behind this mask are Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, Polonius, and King Claudius.Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are two of Hamlets childhood friends who are not as they appear. They give the appearance of being Hamlet’s friend, yet in reality, the pair only came to Elsinore because they were summoned. Knowing that his so-called friends are lying about the purpose of their visit, Hamlet discloses nothing to them.