y “Everything that we find objectionable about others can lead us to an understanding of ourselves.”(Carl Jung) This quote states that much of what goes on in the world is due to what people think rather than what actually is; therefore, the only thing we must do is present ourselves the way we wants others to believe we truly are. The play, A Doll’s House, by Henrik Ibsen, is about characters who are all dealing with the transition of becoming either dependent or independent. They may seem happy to other people and to the readers at first, but their appearances are really a lie. Appearance and reality are often misunderstood; just because someone may seem happy, this does not mean they lead a rich and better life in comparison to someone else. Furthermore,in Shakespeare’s tragedy, Hamlet, there is a dominant and overwhelming theme that is current throughout the play. In the play, all the characters appear as one thing on the outside, yet on the inside they are completely different. The theme of appearance versus reality surrounds Hamlet due to the fact that the characters portray themselves as one person on the outside, and one different on the inside. Thus, in the plays Hamlet by William Shakespeare and A Doll’s house by Henrik Ibsen the use of various literary devices, including characterization andimagery, help develop the theme of appearance versus reality.?Through Shakespeare’s in depth development of the theme of appearance vs. reality, nearly everything in the tragedy must be questioned at some point due to the uncertainty of appearances. The play makes several references to how things appear versus the truth. The character which offers the best example of reality vs. appearances is Hamlet. An example would be the imagery ofHamlet’s “antic disposition” in the presence of certain characters including Polonius, Claudius, Gertrude, Ophelia, Rosencrantz, and Guildenstern. Hamlet is an excellent actor, and is even able to convince his own mother that he is insane.However, in reality he is perfectly sane. Hamlet’s real purposefor pretending to be crazy is that he wants to be able to investigate the accusations made by his father’s ghost against his uncle,Claudius, without raising any suspicion that he knows the truth about his father’s death.?Furthermore,throughout the play, Claudius, Hamlet’s uncle, appears to be a caring, moderate man on the outside, but he is using his loving personality to mask his true traits of a selfish, mean, cold-hearted murderer. Claudius is not the heroic brother of the dead king who took over the throne to save the people, as they think he did. Claudius speaks to the people and convinces them not to be afraid that their King has died. Claudius, pretending to grieve, encourages the people that they need to forget about King Hamlet and get on with their lives. Claudius says: “Though yet of Hamlet our dear brother’s death. The memory be green, and that it us befitted. To bear our hearts in grief, and our whole kingdom.”(Claudius.i.ii.Lines1-7). The people of the kingdom believed that King Hamlet died of natural causes and had no idea that their new king murdered him. After his father’s death Hamlet was to return to Wittenberg. However,Claudius asks Hamlet not to go back to Wittenberg but to stay so they can watch over him. In reality, Claudius does not care about Hamlet, he wants to watch him. Claudius knows that if Hamlet finds out the truth about his father’s death, he will kill him. In addition, Gertrudes thinks that because Claudius asks him to stay he is trying to get closer to his stepson. Hamlet agrees to stay but is determined to find the truth about his father’s death and expose Claudius. ?Henrik Ibsen portrays appearance versus reality within every character in the play A Doll’s House. The Helmer’s lives appear to be a happy marriage of two happy individuals, butin reality its based on lies, play-acting and an unequal relationship. Nora appears to be a sweet,kind and happy woman, but in reality is guilty of forgery and lying to her husband for many years. Ibsen first introduces Nora as a silly, and selfish girl.During the opening of the play, Ibsen displays the imagery of Nora eating macaroons. Although Nora claims that she never disobeys Torvald, the macaroons come to represent Nora’s disobedience and deceit. However what this image actually represents is Nora’s craving for freedom. By the end of the play, we learn that Nora seeks freedom from her familial obligations in order to pursue her own ambitions, beliefs, and identity.Nora argues that Torvald has never understood her and that, until that evening, she has never understood Torvald. She soon realizes that she has spent her entire life being loved not for who she is but for the role she plays. To both her father and to Torvald, she has been a doll. She realizes she has never been happy in Torvald’s dollhouse but has just been performing for her keep. Nora comes to the conclusion that she had forced herself into thinking she washappy, when in reality she was miserable. ?In addition, Torvald, appears to be a loving, devoted and generous husband. However in reality he is a coward,shallow, vain man, concerned mainly with his public reputation, and too weak to take a fall for Nora just like he promised he would. To begin with, early in the play we learn Torvald’s obsession with Nora’s appearance when he states”You don’t need to ruin your dear eyes and pretty hands”(Torvald pg 5).The uncertainty of appearances within the Helmer household at the play’s end results from Torvald’s devotion to an image of the creation of true happiness. However,Towards the end of the play Iben shows Torvald’s true colours when he finds out about Nora’s fraud. “From now on, forget happiness. Now its just about saving the remains,the wreckage,the appearance” (Torvald,Act3,pg2).Torvald speaks these words after learning of Nora’s forgery and Krogstad’s ability to expose her. Hisconversation with Nora throughout this last scene make it clear that he is primarily attracted to Nora for her beauty and that he takes personal pride in the good looks of his wife. He also once again shows himself to be obsessed with appearing dignified and respectable to the world. Torvald’s reaction to Krogstad’s letter emphasizes his characterization as a cowardman concerned mainly with appearances. This quote states explicitly that the appearance of happiness is far more important to him than happiness itself.These words are important also because they expose Torvald’s actual reactionand thoughts to Nora’s crime, in contrast to the reaction that she expected. Rather than sacrifice his own reputation for Nora’s, Torvald seeks to make sure that his reputation remains. His desire to hide rather than to take responsibilityfor Nora’s forgery proves Torvald to be the opposite of the strong, noble man that he advertises himself to be in front ofNora and society.?To conclude, the recurring theme of appearance versus reality in Hamlet and A Doll’s is shown by means of imagery and characterization. Hamlet continually masks his true emotions in the play to an extent where the question of appearance versus reality comes into mind. Hamlet is a play dominated by lies, corruption and deception. As the story progresses, it seems like no one can express what their true motives are, whether they are doing it consciously or unconsciously. Appearance is used often in Hamlet to protect the characters from the truth. All characters appear to feel one way, but in reality, they are thinking the opposite inside. Therefore, Shakespeare effectively shows that reality can often be masked by appearance. In addition, at the beginning of A Dolls House,Isben first introduces Nora as a silly, selfish and spoiled character but later readers find out that she is actually a strong willed and intelligent woman. At the end of Isben’s play, we also learn that Torvald’s obsession with controlling his home’s appearance and his constant denial of reality, have harmed his family and his happiness irreparably.Appearances can be deceiving; just because a person may appear to be content, and carefree with their life, it does not necessarily mean they actually life a perfect life. Unfortunately just like in the plays this may be a reality for many people today, so we must always ask ourselves;Does ourappearance to others also reflect our reality?