Claudius the Machiavelli

Topics: Hamlet, Characters in Hamlet, Prince Hamlet Pages: 5 (1644 words) Published: January 22, 2013
Claudius the Machiavelli
There are many kinds of people in the world. Some people are kind, generous, caring, etc. But there are the kinds of people who are selfish deceiving and very cruel to those around them and only puts themselves before other people, these are characteristics of a Machiavellian character. In the story of Shakespeare, Hamlet, shows a great example of a Machiavellian character Claudius. Claudius is the type of man who is willing to go to the extremes in order to keep high position of power. He doesn’t care for the well being of others and only cares about himself. In Hamlet Claudius faces many threats to his position of power that has brought out his Machiavellian characteristics. Some of which are his willingness to kill and end the lives of other people, being very deceitful and trickery to those around him and manipulates and uses other people without thinking about the negative consequences it might have on the people he is using, all for his high position of power. One of the characteristics that make Claudius a Machiavellian character is his willingness to end other people’s life for his own gain whether it is directly or indirectly. In the beginning of the play the previous king hamlet is bit by a snake and dies, as the people were told. The truth is Claudius, the previous king Hamlet’s brother murdered him married his wife and gained the title of the new king. Claudius admits to his murder in the play in a form of a soliloquy, “Thanks, my dear lord/ O my offence is rank, smells to heaven./ It hath the primal eldest curse upon it,/ a brother’s murder. Pray can i not./...Can serve my turn? ‘ forgive me my foul murder’?/ That cannot be since I am still possessed/ Of those effects for which I did the murder/ May one be pardoned and retain the offence?/... Be soft as sinews of the newborn babe!/ all may be well.” (Shakespeare III. III 38-75). In this scene Claudius admits to the audience through a soliloquy that he had murdered the previous king Hamlet and has gained a lot of things through the murder and he is not sorry for what he has done in order to gain his new title as the king. This shows the Machiavellian side of Claudius because he selfishly made the decision of killing someone just for his own selfish gain. There has been more than one time where Claudius shows his Machiavellian trait of trying to end someone’s life in order to keep his high position and power. In the play Claudius sees Hamlet as a threat to his life and safety. So Claudius arranges an execution for Hamlet in England. “... And, England, if my love thou holdest aught-/

As my great power thereof may give thee sense/
Since yet thy cicatrice looks raw and red/
After the Danish sword, and thy free awe/
Pays homage to us- thou mayest not coldly set/
Our sovereign process, which imports at full,/
By letters congruing to that effect, /
The present death of Hamlet. Do it England,/
For like hectic in my blood he rages/
And thou must cure me. Till i know ‘tis done,/
However my haps, my joys were never begun.”
(Shakespeare IV. III 64-74). The previous quote is said by Claudius. Claudius shows his Machiavellian side through this quote, in this quote Claudius shows his true intentions of why he is sending Hamlet to England which is to get him executed. The reason why is because he feels threatened about Hamlet’s existence and is in the way of his plan in keeping his seat as the king of Denmark. Claudius has many more characteristics that label him as a Machiavelli. Besides killing people directly/ indirectly he also deceives and betrays those around him in order to cover up his true intentions. In the play, Hamlet, Hamlet accidentally kills Polonius who was hiding behind the curtain in the queen’s room, thinking it was Claudius. Hamlet finds out it wasn’t polonius and soon people in the palace found out what recently took place and Claudius feeling threatened plans on sending Hamlet to England. Claudius tells Hamlet...
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