Hamlet Character Analysis Of King Claudius Essay, Research Paper
The character of Claudius the King in Shakespeare s Hamlet is a complex individual. In the play he murders his brother, marries his former sister-in-law (the Queen), and ascends to the throne of Denmark. These three deeds were performed by a shrewd and self-serving man. The King will do almost anything to protect the throne, in spite of knowing that he did not rightfully earn it. He resorts to underhanded tactics such as spying, manipulation, and deceit in order to overcome whatever he perceives as a threat to his supreme position.
Claudius first appears in Act 1, scene 2, where he addresses the court after his marriage to the Queen. He begins by acknowledging their feelings of sorrow for the former King Hamlet, then transitions into expressing his thanks for their acceptance of the marriage. By receiving the court s acceptance of him as King, Claudius can proceed to comfortably reign and carry out the affairs of the state of Denmark. He continues on with his speech to discuss the plans that he has developed to remedy a situation that is brewing with Young Fortinbrau. Claudius demonstrates great strategic planning skills by diverting Young Fortinbrau s revenge on Denmark and it s citizens. The Fortinbrau issue helps Claudius to prove to the court that he is most immediate to the throne. Claudius also takes advantage of this opportunity for his own self-promotion.
Claudius had successfully gained the loyalty and respect of the court, his Queen and the state of Denmark. However, Claudius had not been able to gain any amount of loyalty and respect from Hamlet, his stepson and former nephew. Hamlet clearly does not accept his new uncle-father nor is he pleased with his mother s quick marriage. Claudius makes attempts to win over his cousin and son. but is
disrespected and treated with contempt.
A little more than kin, and less than kind
Hamlet is suspicious of the King, and those suspicions yield some validity by Hamlet s meeting with the Ghost of his Father. The ghost informs Hamlet that Claudius poisoned him while taking a nap. The former King instructs Hamlet to get revenge for his unnatural murder. As a result of this meeting, Hamlet s behavior changes. Everyone perceives this change as lunacy due to Hamlet s inability to accept the death of his father. However, Claudius does not believe that this is the root cause of Hamlet s madness. Since he is uncertain of Hamlet s knowledge of his secret, Claudius feels that his supremacy is being threatened by Hamlet.
Claudius sends for Hamlet s childhood friends Gildenstern and Rosencrantz to assist him with getting to the source of Hamlet s so called transformation. Claudius
played on their loyalty and respect for his position, in addition to their long-standing friendship with Hamlet, in order to get their cooperation.
When Polonius presents the idea to Claudius that Hamlet s madness is due to his daughter (Ophelia) rejecting Hamlet s affections, he reserves judgment on this notion. Claudius needs assurance, and recognizes an opportunity to get to the bottom of this situation. He proceeds to manipulate Polonius into spying on Hamlet. Together they use Opheila in a scheme intended to test Polonius the theory of rejection. The outcome of the test reveals to Claudius that his concern should be for something other than a rejected lover.
There’s something in his soul,
O’er which his melancholy sits on brood;
And I do doubt the hatch and the disclose
Will be some danger: which for to prevent
(Act III, sc. i, 167 – 170)
Claudius realized that he must resolve this situation with Hamlet to eliminate the potential threat to his security. However, Claudius was astute enough to know that there were two special reasons why he could not openly do anything to harm Hamlet.
so that my arrows,
Too slightly timber’d for so loud a wind,
Would have reverted to my bow again,
And not where I had aim’d them.
(Act IV, sc. vii, 22 -25)
Claudius also knew that any direct action taken against Hamlet would likely result in negative consequences for himself. To compensate for this, he used Laertes to do his dirty work.
Claudius took advantage of Laerte s intentions to revenge the death of his father. He was able to put Laertes anger to rest and win over his confidence. He then succeeded with leading Laertes into a scheme intended to kill Hamlet.
Although Claudius was skilled at manipulating others and events to retain his crown, he was not always able to keep his own emotions under control. Claudius confident exterior showed signs of deterioration due to his guilty conscious.
The sight of Ophelia s maddened state stirred up some emotion in Claudius.
He sighed a cry of grief for pretty Ophelia. but then quickly gained his composure. In that brief moment he recognized that she was not guilty of any crime, but that she fell victim to his scheme on Hamlet. Claudius sends Horatio to spy on her, which appears to be a show of concern to the Queen for Ophelia s safety, but was more likely due to Claudius need to protect his secret. He also withholds information from the Queen concerning the scheme that ultimately led to Ophelia s madness. To protect himself, he explained to the Queen that Ophelia s divided fair judgment stemmed from the death of her father.
The play staged by Hamlet, in addition to Hamlet s wit, agitated the King. His reaction during the play causes a disruption, and the play is discontinued. His self-conscious struggled with his self-serving mission to remain in power as the Dane.
It hath the primal eldest curse upon t,
A brother s murder. Pray can I not,
Though inclination be as sharp as will:
My stronger guilt defeats my strong intent;
(Act III, sc. iii, 37 – 40)
Claudius attempts to repent but realizes that he can not do so because the throne of Denmark meant more to him than obeying the natural laws of divinity.
Claudius was an individual whose greed and selfishness was responsible for his rise and fall from the throne of Denmark. The power and position that he tried so hard to maintain was ultimately destroyed by the same evil methods that he used to acquire them.
The play 'Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark' is one of the four greatest tragedies of William Shakespeare. It is the longest play written by him, and also one of the most powerful. The play is about the conflict of a person, who had to choose between moral values and personal revenge.
The plan involves complex themes like revenge, treachery, moral corruption, and incest. Prince Hamlet is enraged by the fact that his mother, Queen Gertrude, married his uncle, Claudius, soon after the death of his father, King Hamlet. When he sees the ghost of his deceased father, he learns that his father was murdered by his uncle. This arouses in him, a feeling of revenge towards his uncle. He also suspects that his mother was involved in the murder plan, and this angers him even further.
He starts acting like a madman so that no one suspects his actual motive, and also turns away from his lady love Ophelia. However, when he kills Polonius, the King's chief counselor who was trying to know about his actual motives, by eavesdropping his conversation with his mother, Claudius suspects that even his life is in danger. Learning about the death of her father Polonius, Ophelia becomes mad with grief and commits suicide. To save himself, Claudius makes plans to kill Hamlet.
When his first attempt fails, he convinces Laertes, Polonius' son to avenge the death of his father and sister, and arranges a combat between him and Hamlet. To make sure that Hamlet dies, he coats Laertes' sharp sword with poison, and also prepares a poisonous drink for him. However, Claudius' plan backfires on him. Instead of Hamlet, Gertrude drinks the poison and dies. Hamlet kills Laertes but is wounded by his poisonous sword. Before dying, Hamlet slays Claudius, thus avenging his father's death.
The credit for the success of Shakespeare's tragedies not only goes to the plot, but also to his characters. They are very human, and react to situations in the way people would behave in certain situations, even in real life. The protagonists in his tragic plays have superior characteristics that make them great and powerful, but they all have one flaw, which leads them to their tragedy. It is the same in the case of prince Hamlet. It is a complex play, and understanding its characters is not a simple task. Each one has different layers, and are rounded, as seen in most plays of Shakespeare. He never portrayed characters as black and white because he believed that human beings have a mixture of good virtues as well as bad.
Hamlet is very complex, and many scholars have given different interpretations for this enigmatic character of Shakespeare. He is an intelligent and knowledgeable person, a University student, thoughtful and philosophical by nature. He thinks deeply about important matters, and decisions in life. However, this contemplative nature is also his major flaw. His lack of timely action is the cause of his tragedy. Even after he sees the ghost of his father, he does not totally believe that Claudius killed his father. Only when he gets the proof that his uncle is guilty, he is ready to kill him. Even after that, he delays his action in spite of getting plenty of chances to do it. However, he has a contradictory personality too. This is seen when he suddenly kills Polonius, thinking that it was Claudius, who was standing behind the tapestry. This comes as a shock to the audience, because Hamlet does not even think about checking who the person is before killing.
» King Claudius
King Claudius is the villain of the play who is portrayed as cunning and selfish. His powerful ambition leads him to kill his own brother, and marry his widow to usurp the throne from Hamlet, who is the heir apparent. He is a calculative man who can fall to any level to hold his power to himself. He thinks only of himself, and has the ability to manipulate people the way he wants to. However, this evil character shows its human nature too. He feels guilty, and is shown to be praying for forgiveness in various acts of the play. Although he may have married Gertrude for power, he seems to truly love her. However, his evil virtues foreground his good ones, leading to his tragic end.
Gertrude's character in the play is a little confusing one, as Shakespeare has not explained her intentions and attitudes clearly. Her character is completely opposite to that of Hamlet. She is a person who does not think much about consequences of her actions. It can be said that her hasty marriage to Claudius led to the destruction of the entire family. In many parts of the play, Hamlet condemns Gertrude for having weak moral standards, as he could not accept the fact of her remarriage. Although she married her brother-in-law, it is not even remotely mentioned anywhere in the play that she had a relationship with him before, or had a share in King Hamlet's murder. Her actions reveal that by marrying Claudius, she made a choice that would be beneficial to her without affecting her power and position. Although Gertrude appears to be a shallow woman, she is shown as a loving mother who cared for her son till her last breath.
Ophelia is the most pitiable character in the play. Hamlet loves this beautiful and innocent daughter of Polonius and apparently she loves him too. But, her father and brother dissuade her from having any relationship with Hamlet, as they think that he does not love her truly. Being an obedient daughter, she never professes her love for him. Ophelia gets disturbed when she sees Hamlet acting as a madman, and under the orders of the king and her father, tries to know about his real motive. Hamlet accuses her of being a spy, and condemns her for betraying him. This behavior of Hamlet shocks her and when he kills her father, her gentle heart is shattered. She goes mad with grief and finally kills herself. The people she loved i.e. her father, brother, and lover failed to understand her, and were in some way responsible for her untimely death.
Hamlet emphasizes the fact that Shakespeare was truly a genius. Although the play was written in the 16th or 17th century, by observing the people of those times, it surely rings true even in this century. The complexity of the characters make 'Hamlet' a real masterpiece.
Last Updated: September 26, 2011
Hamlet Character Analysis Paper: Claudius
In the play, "Hamlet", Shakespeare needed to devize an evil character, a villain that is ambitious, and has the ability to scheme to get what he wants. The character would also have to contain some good qualities, such as kindness and contriteness. These good qualities make the character seem more human and thus, more believable. Claudius is this character. Shakespeare uses Claudius in his revenge theme in this play. Without the acts of Claudius, this theme just would not be. The entire play revolves around what Claudius has done, or will do.
The evil traits of Claudius by far outweigh the good things he does. He is very ambitious, perhaps too.
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not only wanted to be the king of Denmark, he also wanted the queen that came with it. In Act I Sc. II Lines 8-14, Claudius has just recently been crowned king and is addressing the court. He shows in his words how happy he is to be married to Gertrude, the Queen.
"herefore our sometime sister, now our queen,
The imperial jointress to this warlike state,
Have we, as ‘twere with a defeated joy,
With an auspicious, and dropping eye,
With mirth in funeral, and with dirge in marriage,
In equal scale weighing delight and dole,
Taken to wife;. "
The ambition of Claudius lays the foundation for the theme of revenge. Without his need to be king and his willingness to do anything for it, the play would be completely different. This evil trait is, in part, what in the end kills Claudius.
Claudius’ other evil trait, his scheming, also leads to his death. An example of one of Claudius’ many ‘plans’.
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to kill Hamlet. Now, Claudius is aware that Hamlet knows about his crime and wishes him dead. Claudius, in a plan to save himself, has Laertes and Hamlet engage in a fencing match. Laertes has his sword poisoned in an effort to do Hamlet in once and for all.
"And for that purpose I’ll anoint my sword,
I bought an unction of a mountebank,
So mortal that, but a dip a knife in it,
Where it draws blood no cataplasm so rare,
Collected from all simples that have virtue
Under the moon, can save the thing from death
That is but scratched withal. I’ll touch my point With this
Contagion, that, if I gall him slightly,
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The character of Claudius the King in Shakespeare's Hamlet is a complex individual. In the play he murders his brother, marries his former sister-in-law (the Queen), and ascends to the throne of Denmark. These three deeds were performed by a shrewd and self-serving man. The King will do almost anything to protect the throne, in spite of knowing that he did not rightfully earn it. He resorts to underhanded tactics such as spying, manipulation, and deceit in order to overcome whatever he perceives as a threat to his supreme position.
Claudius first appears in Act 1, scene 2, where he addresses the court after his marriage to the Queen. He begins by acknowledging their feelings of sorrow for the former King Hamlet, then transitions into expressing his thanks for their acceptance of the marriage. By receiving the court's acceptance of him as King, Claudius can proceed to comfortably reign and carry out the affairs of the state of Denmark.
He continues on with his speech to discuss the plans that he has developed to remedy a situation that is brewing with Young Fortinbrau. Claudius demonstrates great strategic planning skills by diverting Young Fortinbrau's revenge on Denmark and it's citizens. The Fortinbrau issue helps Claudius to prove to the court that he is "most immediate to the throne". Claudius also takes advantage of this opportunity for his own self-promotion.
Claudius had successfully gained the loyalty and respect of the court, his Queen and the state of Denmark. However, Claudius had not been able to gain any amount of loyalty and respect from Hamlet, his stepson and former nephew. Hamlet clearly does not accept his new "uncle-father" nor is he pleased with his mother's quick marriage. Claudius makes attempts to win over his "cousin and son", but is disrespected and treated.Citation styles:
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in-law and king. Hamlet begs his mother to stop being intimate with Claudius and to think more upon her late husband. This shows that Hamlet has a very clear perception of right and wrong. He also shows this characteristic by being suspicious and even hurt by his childhood friends loyalty.
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Laertes. Hamlet is writing to inform the King that he has returned to Denmark and tha he wishes to meet with Claudius tomorrow. Claudius, concerned about Hamlet's untimely return, advises Laertes to have a dueling match with Hamlet. In this match, Claudius plans to have Laertes kill Hamlet.
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in the schemes of Claudius and Hamlet. The first character to die in Hamlet is Polonius. Although Polonius often acts in a deceitful manner when dealing with Hamlet, it is only because he is carrying out plans devised by the king or queen to discover the nature of Hamlet's madness. Being the king.
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Ophelia has gone mad because her father Polonius had been killed and because Hamlet was sent off to England. The sexual aspect of the play was brought in when Claudius married Gertrude after he had dreadfully killed Old Hamlet and taken his throne. Hamlet.
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deceit. In III.4 Hamlet finally tries to kill the king while talking to his mother. Hamlet had actually killed Polonioius, but he knew that he now had the ability to kill Claudius. The lack of remorse Hamlet expresses over the deaths of Polonious, Rosencrantz and.
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King Claudius, as illustrated in Shakespeare’s Hamlet, displays both charm and eloquence. Claudius is an intelligent person and is able to deceive people into believing he is innocent and morally guided. He is adept at manipulating people in order to advance and maintain his own power and fails to show any remorse for his actions. Claudius utilizes his linguistic skills to portray himself as an innocent and prudent leader; however, upon further inspection his diction is a mere smoke screen that hides his manipulative and cunning nature.
When King Claudius enters for the first time in the play he begins by acknowledging the death of Old King Hamlet. He describes his elder brothers sudden death as, “green” and, “that it is befitted/To bear our hearts in grief and our whole kingdom” (1.2.1-2). Claudius is attempting to sound melancholy as he paints his brother’s death as recent and fresh in his mind. He furthers a portrayal of innocence by declaring that he thinks it is proper to mourn the old king throughout the kingdom. However, Claudius continues to say that although he believes it is “wisest” to mourn him he must also do it with “remembrance of ourselves” (1.2.5-6). Though Claudius appears to exhibit profound sorrow for his “dear brother’s death”, he fails to depict real sorrow for him as he quickly states that he must not forget about himself and his own well being (1.2.30). Claudius solidifies this conception when he speaks of grief as “fitting”, though he fails to mention that he himself is or has experienced any form of grief for the death of his brother. Claudius also uses the plural pronoun “ourselves” and “our” rather than the personal pronoun “me”. This separates Claudius emotionally from his brother’s death because he t.
. middle of paper.
. 3.57). Though Claudius appears to show remorse for his actions, he shows his true character by focusing on maintaining the power and rewards that came from murdering his brother.
When Hamlet calls his uncle a “smiling, damned villain!” he is illuminating Claudius’s ability to hide his true iniquitous nature and appear charming (1.5.107). Hamlet uses the word “smiling” to highlight the dual nature of Claudius. Claudius’s smile is illuminated because a smile can either be good in nature or evil. Hamlet is able to see Claudius’s dual nature as he appears to be a good person but acts as a power hungry and malicious person. He uses his eloquence to hide his true nature and intentions. Just as Claudius murdered his brother by pouring poison in his ear, Claudius pours his words, like poison, into the ears of those around him in order to mask his true nature and intentions.
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