Comparing Reality In Macbeth And Hamlet

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Theatrical Elements Versus Reality In Macbeth and Hamlet In plays both Macbeth and Hamlet, the author; William Shakespeare, reveals the metaphor of the world as a stage. Shakespeare delivers this metaphor by displaying the imbalance between what appears to be and what truly exists. The idea that not everything can be defined by its appearance, is central in Shakespeare’s two famous tragedies Macbeth and Hamlet. Through the use of these ideas and themes, Shakespeare conveys the nature of theater, and how it relates to one’s own life. In Macbeth, Shakespeare consistently contrasts between appearances and reality. This contrast begins with the opening scene, involving the Three Witches. The Witches say “ Fair is foul, and foul is fair” (I,…show more content…
In the beginning of the play, the appearance of Hamlet’s father’s ghost exhibits this theme extremely well. Hamlet’s uncertainty of whether or not the ghost truly exists prevents Hamlet from taking action to seek revenge. In order to assure himself, Hamlet crafts a play within a play that will confirm if the ghost’s appearance matches with reality. The play itself; “The Mousetrap” perfectly represents how the nature of theater contrasts with the nature of life. For example, in “ The Mousetrap,” when a man murders a king, marries his wife, and takes his throne, the audience becomes shocked and disgusted at the tragedy. However, when Claudius secretly performs this exact action in real life, the wife Gertrude and the people of Denmark regard Claudius as a virtuous and noble man with pure intentions. Polonius’s character exhibits another example of a false appearance. While Polonius appears to be a genuine and caring father he says to his son Laertes, “This above all: to thine own self be true” (I, iii, 79). Although it may appear in this quote that Polonius cares about what his son does outside of Denmark, Polonius actually concerns himself more with how his own reputation may be affected by his sons actions. For this reason, Polonius sends Reynaldo to secretly spy on Laertes. All of these representations of appearances versus reality contribute to the contrasting nature of theater and life, where ones outside appearance can hide true intentions and

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