There are many points in the play Hamlet where a situation may appear one way, but the situation actually has a different reality to it. In Act III, there are many examples of this. The presence of the theme of appearance versus reality creates a deeper meaning in many of the scenes. Many of the characters in the play hide behind a mask, and they use the mask so their true evil is not uncovered. In some cases, the falseness of situations makes it difficult for Hamlet to uncover the truth. .
At one point in Act III, Hamlet has the actors perform a play that parallels the situation that is occurring in real life. Hamlet uses the play to perhaps encourage a confession from Claudius. Hamlet instructs the actors to perform the play exactly as it is to ensure that the plot is not disturbed. To the audience, it seems that the play is just an innocent production, but in fact the play is used to try to catch Claudius in the midst of his evil. In the middle of the play, Hamlet gets exactly what he wants. Claudius stands up in rage and asks immediately for the play to be stopped. He asks for a light to be shone on him and Gertrude, and they immediately leave the room.
Another example of the appearance versus reality theme is when Hamlet notices Claudius crouched down alone. In the situation, Hamlet draws his sword and prepares to kill Claudius, but Claudius appears to be repenting for his sins. Hamlet realizes that if he kills Claudius now then he will go to heaven. Hamlet decides to wait for a better time when he will be sure that Claudius goes to hell.
Hamlet walks into his mother's private chamber to have a discussion. Polonius immediately hides behind a tapestry so that he can hear what Hamlet has to say. As soon as Hamlet enters the room, he begins to be extremely rude to his mother. He argues to her about her incestuous marriage and the foolish person that she has become. Gertrude begins to become scared for her life, and she decides to cry for help.