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Masks 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 …

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…is one flesh, and so, my mother" (Hamlet - 4.4.60-61). Hamlet's mask of insanity had fooled the King, the Queen, Ophelia, Polonius, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern. Though he had fooled these people he always kept a full grasp of reality and his true convictions. "To thine own self be true," (Polonius - 1.3.84) the words of a fool followed only by the tragic hero, Hamlet. The masks of the characters were what lead each to their tragedy.