|Hamlet: Masks We Wear
A mask is a covering worn on the face or something that disguises or conceals oneself. All the characters in Shakespeare's Hamlet hide behind masks to cover up who they really are, which contridictes a main idea, expressed by the fool, Old Polonius, "To thine ownself be true" (Polonius - 1.3.84). All the characters share strengths and triumphs, flaws and downfalls. Instead of revealing their vulnerabilities, each of them wears a mask that conceals who they are and there true convictions. The masks brought about feelings such as fear, hatred, insanity, indecisiveness, ambitiousness, and vengeance all of which contribute to the tragic ending of the play. Shakespeare reveals the idea of the masks in the first lines of the play, "Who's there" (Barnardo - 1.1.1). "Nay, answer me. Stand and unfold yourself" (Fransisco - 1.1.2).
These masks are upon each character, placed there by either society, self-ignorance, or g...