Claudius in Hamlet

Topics: Hamlet, Gertrude, Characters in Hamlet Pages: 3 (1034 words) Published: May 1, 2013
English IV
Claudius in Hamlet
In William Shakespeare’s “Hamlet”, Claudius, the new King, is striving for absolute power and strength over everyone and would stop at nothing to get it. His actions seem to be overlooked by some of the other characters and their actions. Claudius’s actions resulted in many deaths. He ordered others to do all of his dirty work, he was selfish and thought only about how to gain more power, and he was a master manipulator. His selfish ways led to the tragic ending of Hamlet.

Claudius starts off in Hamlet by taking the key role of mourner as he is mourning the death of his brother. This quickly shifts though as the ghost enters and says, “…that incestuous, that adulterate beast” (1.5.42). This is stating to the audience that Claudius has in fact done something that is frowned upon, and that it is just a matter of who knows about what happened and why. We soon learn exactly what he has done. King Claudius has killed his very own brother and taken his brother’s wife as his own. This becomes clear when we hear about what “is rotten in the state of Denmark” and how he has taken the Queen with “the witchcraft of his wit” (1.5.47). We soon learn that Claudius cannot be the one doing everything for himself. Hamlet knows that Claudius is the one who has killed his father and it soon becomes obvious that they both feel the need to kill each other before the truth comes out to everyone else.

Claudius does many things that could very well make him a better person in Hamlet rather than the villain, but the one thing that makes him the villain is that Hamlet is right and Claudius is wrong. Claudius is a sneak who murdered and lied about the death of his own brother, and then went and mourned his brother’s death and acted as if he hadn’t done anything wrong. Hamlet commits his murders in the open and suffers the pangs of his own conscience while Claudius subverts his conscience and refuses to ask for forgiveness because he doesn’t want to...
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