Hamlet Character Analysis Essay – Rough Draft
In Hamlet, Claudius is seen as the antagonist throughout the play, for murdering Hamlet’s father, and marrying the deceased’s wife straight after his death. Claudius was the brother of the late King Hamlet, who murdered him, then married his widowed wife, Gertrude, and becomes the new king of Denmark. Hamlet strongly dislikes Claudius because of his actions, mainly for killing his father, but also marrying his mother right after the funeral. In William Shakespeare’s play, Hamlet, Claudius was justified in murdering the late King Hamlet because his manipulative actions make for a good king for Denmark.
Claudius only feels guilty about murdering Hamlet’s father because of the play he put on, which was almost exactly similar to the situation that he was involved in. He does not want anyone to know what he has done, for the truth would conflict with what the people of Denmark know, that King Hamlet died from a serpent sting while sleeping in his orchard. The exclamation,”Give me some light, away!” (3.2.252) from the play shows that the play Hamlet put on made Claudius uncomfortable, because it was so relevant to what he had done to the King Hamlet. “Oh, my offence is rank, it smells to heaven.” (3.3.37) Scene 3 of Act 3 is when Hamlet discovered Claudius praying because of the guilt his play caused him. Claudius also states that it, his guilt, stinks all the way up to heaven. However, Claudius is only admitting to the crime in this scene because of what the play held, for sure. He only felt guilty about murdering Hamlet’s father because it was right in his face, that he couldn’t face away from the truth.
Claudius does not truly love Gertrude, and only married her for his path to become king. I believe that Claudius does not truly love his wedded wife because it is very expectant of him to only marry her just to obtain the throne of Denmark, with no way of anyone else even having the option to be able to. I doubt that he truly loves Gertrude, because he is planning on killing her son, Hamlet. “…And for his death no wind of blame shall breathe but even his mother shall uncharge the practice and call it accident.” (4.7.67-69) If Claudius truly loved his wife, he would not even bring up the idea of murdering his nephew, let alone his wife’s son. In “The Manipulative Nature of Claudius in Shakespeare’s Hamlet,” by N B, “Claudius sent the prince to England alongside Rosencrantz and Guildenstern with letters that would arrange Hamlet’s death, making it look like an accident.” (B, 2) He was planning on making Hamlet’s death look like an anonymous murder, so no one, not even Claudius would even be thought of being accused. Gertrude is not as loved as much as Claudius as tries to claim, or show. He cares much more about himself and his own fate, rather than his newlywed wife and how she might react to certain actions of his. Again, I believe Claudius does not genuinely love Gertrude, and is only taking advantage of her to be the king of Denmark.
Claudius presents himself and acts a certain way that a bad, or cruel-hearted person would. In Act 1, Scene 2, lines 16 through 39, we see Claudius as a very serious figure, while discussing Fortinbras underestimating Claudius’ strength or ability to handle being the King of Denmark. The quote,“…With this affair along. For all, our thanks. Now follows that you know. Young Fortinbras, Holding a weak supposal of our worth Or thinking by our late dear brother’s death Our state to be disjoint and out of frame, Colleaguèd with the dream of his advantage, He hath not failed to pester us with message Importing the surrender of those lands Lost by his father, with all bonds of law,Thus much the business is: we have here writ To Norway, uncle of young Fortinbras— Who, impotent and bedrid, scarcely hears Of this his nephew’s purpose—to suppress His further gait herein, in that the levies, The lists, and full proportions are all made Out of his subject; and we here dispatch You, good Cornelius, and you, Voltemand, For bearers of this greeting to old Norway, Giving to you no further personal power To business with the king more than the scope Of these dilated articles allow.” (1.2.16-39) shows an example of how serious and efficient of a leader Claudius is. However, as a person, it is the complete opposite. He more than likely has to be cruel and manipulative to be respected by the nation he is now running.
All in all, Claudius’ manipulative actions, like murdering his brother for the throne of Denmark, publicly denying his guilt, to marrying
Gertrude to be well-respected, he has a valid reasoning for murdering King Hamlet, no matter how twisted his reasoning is, and may even possibly be an even more effective leader than Hamlet’s father once was. After reading Shakespeare’s play, Hamlet, readers may be able to see
Claudius and his actions, how ther way he presents himself, and how this can help Claudius appear to be as an efficient leader, and possibly better than King Hamlet was.