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Character Study of Claudius Fr

Oct 08, 1999 670 Words
In the play ‘Hamlet’ by William Shakespeare, Claudius kills his brother (King Hamlet, former king of Denmark) by murdering him in order to take his position. Cladius’s brother is the father of Hamlet (Prince of Denmark). Cladius is the villain of the play; he is extremely evil-minded. Although a lot of the time he does not show it. This comes under a very important theme of Shakespeare’s plays: appearance and reality. In every play of Shakespeare, there is always a character that is not what they seem to be. For example, in Act I, scene 2, lines 1-13, he gives a long speech about how sad he feels about his brother’s death (King Hamlet). “Though yet of Hamlet our dear brother death the memory be green, and that it us benefitted to bear our hearts in grief.” This is not what he really feels, because he desired power over the country and wanted to marry Gertrude (King Hamlet’s wife), so he was glad he poisoned his brother. Later, after he watches the play Prince Hamlet planned (in order to avenge his father) which involved showing the same actions Claudius took when he killed King Hamlet, Cladius then regretted he killed Hamlet’s father, as he realised how evil his actions were. However, he expressed these feelings in solitude in III, iii, ll. 36-72. “O, my offence is rank, it smells to heaven; it hath the primal eldest curse upon’t a brother’s murder...” When he is in public, he acts as if he did know anything about it. Claudius is a round character. This means that the reader is able to see many different aspects of him; he is a three-dimensional character. For example, in one scene, you see him behaving like a loyal king and in the next scene, you see him regretting the murder he had to commit to become King. Another piece of evidence that shows he is 3-D is when he speaks very politely to Hamlet treating him like his own soon, and then you see Claudius planning ways to kill him when he sends Hamlet to England. This seems quite logical too because in most plays, the major characters are usually three-dimensional and the minor ones (such as Rosencratz) are flat characters (two-dimensional). There are several times in the play when Cladius radically changes. First of all, he is happy that he is in power. But then, he discovers Hamlet ‘becoming’ mad (who wasn’t really and was just pretending to be), he starts getting a little worried, but not much, as he didn’t really care about Hamlet. However, there is a greater modification in Claudius after he watches the play that resembles the murder he committed. From being evil-minded, he regrets killing King Hamlet and admits his guilt to himself. This also shows that he is a dynamic character, and this means that he is a character who is altered by actions throughout the play. He first hungered for killing King Hamlet and has changed to regretting it. However, there are other changes that take place in him. He then suspects Hamlet knows about the murder, although after the Prince stabbed Polonius (think it was Claudius), he was adjusted again; from being relaxed and not so worried about Hamlet, he starts to hate him and switches back to evil mode and wanting to kill another person (Hamlet). He even plans it with another person, which is Laertes. Since Laertes wanted to kill Hamlet, the King took the chance and assisted Laertes by creating a plan to kill Hamlet (which did not work out and everyone dies). This was also a rule in great drams: the protagonists are always dynamic, and this is why Shakespeare made Claudius dynamic. He wanted to make Claudius think of evil ideas, which made the play more exciting.

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