Discuss Hamlet's speech (lines 76–86) in terms of the theme of appearance and reality, quoting briefly to substantiate your answer.

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In act I, scene 2, Hamlet speaks at length of the “the trappings and the suits of woe" and of “all forms, moods, shapes of grief, / That can denote me truly” to emphasize the difference between seeming and being—between appearance and authenticity.

In her advice that he cease grieving, Gertrude refers to her son’s “knighted colour,” or black mourning clothes. Hamlet builds on this, referring to “my inky cloak” and “customary suits of solemn black” to emphasize that such conventions are just that: customary. When he speaks of sighing and crying (“windy suspiration of forced breath, . . . the fruitful river in the eye”), in referencing the eye, he responds as well to her request that he support his country: “let thine eye look like a friend on Denmark.” Outward...

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