Hamlet the Human, Claudius the Inhuman

Topics: Hamlet, Characters in Hamlet, King Claudius Pages: 3 (1051 words) Published: December 9, 2010
Hamlet the Superhuman, Claudius the Human
“When your desires are strong enough, you will appear to possess superhuman powers in order to achieve them” is a quote by Napoleon Hill, one of the earliest American authors of personal success literature. His quote about the ability to achieve desires relates a lot to the life of Hamlet. In William Shakespeare’s Hamlet, Hamlet has been viewed by critics as one that possesses inhuman (or superhuman) qualities in order to take vengeance on his uncle Claudius, who, on the contrary, is seen as one who possesses human qualities. Hamlet’s inhuman characteristics and Claudius’s more human behavior are defined by conflict with the supernatural, perception of cleverness, and influence by outside forces.

In Hamlet one of the inhuman qualities that Hamlet bears is the ability to see the ghost of his father who returns to tell him that Claudius has indeed been the cause of his death. Hamlet is the only one that can see the apparition when it appears for the second time. When Gertrude is present with Hamlet when the ghost appears, she believes it “is the very coinage of [his] brain” (3.4.157). The queen believes that the ghost Hamlet speaks of is only a figment of his imagination caused by his madness. Claudius, on the other hand, is incapable of seeing the ghost, revealing his human qualities. Although Claudius cannot see the apparition, ironically he is the reason that it appears to Lord Hamlet. Claudius, like every other human, contains the flaw of sin by giving into temptation. The ghost tells Hamlet that Claudius is the “adulterate beast, with witchcraft of his wit, with traitorous gifts…won to his shameful lust the will of my most seeming-virtuous queen” (1.5.49-53). Claudius used both fancy words and gifts to seduce Gertrude and make her give into his lust, making him a human who let temptation control his decisions and drive him into sin. The appearance of apparitions in Hamlet exhibits one of the reasons Hamlet is seen...
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