The main difference between appearance and reality is that appearance is the way something looks, while the reality is the state of things as they actually exist or the true state of something.
Appearances are often deceiving and misleading. What we see is not always true, and we cannot judge someone or something by looking at the outward appearance. It is because how someone looks on the outside is not always how they are on the inside. And, this is where the concept of appearance and reality comes into being. In brief, appearance is how something appears to be while the reality is how something actually is.
Key Areas Covered
1. What is Appearance
– Definition, Examples
2. What is Reality
– Definition, Examples
3. What is the Difference Between Appearance and Reality
– Comparison of Key Differences
Appearance, Deception, Reality
What is Appearance
Appearance is how something looks or how we see something. It, basically, refers to the outward or exterior look. However, appearance is often misleading and deceiving. How someone looks on the outside is not always how they are on the inside. Someone who looks very innocent and decent on the outside can turn out to be a killer, while someone who looks angry and grumpy can turn out to be a very kind person. It is why we say you can’t judge a book by its cover.
Let’s look at a simple real-life example. We see so many photos on social media every day; most of these photos are filtered and photoshopped. If we see these people in real life, we won’t be able to even recognize them. Therefore, these photos don’t actually show reality. Interestingly, this is not just applicable to humans. We can even apply this concept to nature. For example, animals camouflage themselves to match their environment. Because of this camouflage, we can’t actually see the animal (e.g. lizards, butterflies, etc.)
What is Reality
Reality is the state of things as they actually exist, in contrast to an idealistic or notional idea of them. In simple words, it is how things actually exist in real life. Reality is not an illusion, deception, fantasy, or a sense of intuition. It is something that really exists.
Although we assume the things we sense with our five senses to be real, they are not always so. For example, we can see the earth’s surface and the sky meeting at the horizon, but this not real. The same goes for natural phenomena such as the size of the size (the real size of the sun and how we see it), nature of clouds (we see it as a white substance, while in truth, it’s made of drops of water), etc.
Appearance vs Reality in Literature
The concept of appearance and reality is also a popular theme in literature. In fact, it is a recurring theme in works of Shakespeare, especially in notable plays like Macbeth, Hamlet and Othello. In literary works featuring this theme, characters, incidents, and even dialogues are not what they appear to be. There are deeper layers of meaning, which only become clear at the end or upon extensive study.
Difference Between Appearance and Reality
Appearance is the way we see at something or how something looks, but the reality is the state of things as they actually exist or something’s true state.
Appearance is what we gather using our senses, while the reality is something that may not be understood using our senses.
While appearance may be deceptive and misleading, the reality is genuine.
The main difference between appearance and reality is that appearance is the way something looks, but the reality is the state of things as they actually exist or something’s true state. What we see is not always true, and we cannot judge someone or something by looking at outward appearance. Therefore, this is where the concept of reality comes into being.
1. Schombert, James. “Glossary – Appearance and Reality.” Available here.