Essay On King Claudius

Shakespeare's Hamlet Claudius Essay

Claudius of Shakespeare's Hamlet’s

G. Wilson Knight in "The Embassy of Death" interprets the character of Claudius in Shakespeare’s Hamlet:

Claudius, as he appears in the play, is not a criminal. He is - strange as it may seem - a good and gentle king, enmeshed by the chain of causality linking him with his crime. And this chain he might, perhaps, have broken except for Hamlet, and all would have been well. But, granted the presence of Hamlet - which Claudius at first genuinely desired, persuading him not to return to Wittenberg as he wished - and granted the fact of his original crime which cannot now be altered, Claudius cannot now be blamed for his later actions. They are forced on him. As King, he could scarcely be expected to do otherwise. (n. pag.)

This essay, with the involvement of various literary critics, will consider Knight’s evaluation in light of others’, and will thoroughly delineate the character of King Claudius, show his place in the drama, and interpret his character.

The drama opens after Hamlet has just returned from Wittenberg, England, where he has been a student. What brought him home was the news of his father’s death and his father’s brother’s quick accession to the throne of Denmark. Philip Burton in “Hamlet” discusses Claudius’ sudden rise to the Danish throne upon the death of King Hamlet I:

The fact that Claudius has become king is not really surprising. Only late in the play does Hamlet complain that his uncle had "popped in between the election and my hopes." The country had been in a nervous state expecting an invasion by young Fortinbras, at the head of a lawless band of adventurers, in revenge for his father’s death at the hands of King Hamlet. A strong new king was immediately needed; the election of Claudius, particularly in the absence of Hamlet, was inevitable. What is more, it was immediately justified, because Claudius manages to dispel the threat of invasion by appealing to the King of Norway to curb his nephew, Fortinbras; the ambitious young soldier was the more ready to cancel the projected invasion because the object of his revenge, Hamlet’s father, was now dead, and in return he received free passage through Denmark to fight against Poland (n. pag.).

Hamlet has also learned of the disturbing news of the new king’s “o’erhasty marriage” to Hamlet I’s wife less than two month’s after the funeral of Hamlet’s father (Gordon 128). The protagonist stands alone, with just about everyone allied with Claudius in his viewpoint on the rightness of the situation: G. Wilson Knight says, “Instinctively the creatures of earth—Laertes, Polonius, Ophelia, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, league themselves with Claudius: they are of his kind. They sever themselves from Hamlet.”

It would seem initially that Gertrude, “kindly, slow witted” (Pitt 47), rather than Claudius, is to blame for the protagonist’s “violent emotions” (Smith 80); thus in his first soliloquy Hamlet cries out, “Frailty, thy...

Loading: Checking Spelling

0%

Read more

Character Analysis of Shakespeare's Hamlet (Hamlet, Claudius, and Ophelia)

1561 words - 6 pages Within the play, Hamlet, by William Shakespeare, there are many famous quotes, like the famous, "To be, or not to be: (III, i, 56*)" soliloquy by Hamlet, and also many famous characters that lots of people today recognize without knowing the whole story. The play revolves around the main character, Hamlet, who is trying to get revenge on his uncle who killed his father to become king. Hamlet and his friend, Horatio, are the only ones who know...

Custom Essays: Claudius the Beast in Shakespeare's Hamlet

2238 words - 9 pages Claudius the Beast in Hamlet       Philip Burton in “Hamlet” discusses Claudius’ sudden rise to the Danish throne upon the death of King Hamlet I in Shakespeare’s tragedy, Hamlet:   The fact that Claudius has become king is not really surprising. Only late in the play does Hamlet complain that his uncle had "popped in between the election and my hopes." The country had been in a nervous state expecting an invasion by young...

Polonius in Shakespeare's Hamlet and John Updike's Gertrude and Claudius

2010 words - 8 pages Polonius in Shakespeare's Hamlet and John Updike's Gertrude and Claudius In every royal court throughout history, there has been the man who knows everything about everyone, and generally has the ear of the king; Shakespeare’s court of Denmark is no exception. Polonius, adviser and Lord Chamberlain to King Hamlet and Claudius, seems to know every intrigue, every alliance made in the interwoven royal court. In Shakespeare’s play Hamlet,...

Hypocrisy of Claudius in Shakespeare's Hamlet

1630 words - 7 pages “‘Forgive me my foul murder’! That cannot be; since I am still possess’d of those effects for which I did murder-.” (III.ii.52-6) The hypocritical Claudius proclaims the aforementioned prayer, but is Claudius’ prayer superficial? Shakespeare’s Hamlet is teeming with deceit, incest, and hypocrisy; all of which are clearly portrayed through Claudius. Shakespeare obscures Claudius’ sinister characteristics through hypocrisy, but as the play...

Procrastination of Revenge in William Shakespeare's Hamlet

586 words - 2 pages Procrastination of Revenge in William Shakespeare's Hamlet In the play “Hamlet” by William Shakespeare, the protagonist Hamlet, the Prince of Denmark, is deceived by many of his former allies, including his mother, Gertrude, and his lover, Ophelia. Perhaps the most deceptive of these former allies is Hamlet’s uncle, Claudius. Not only does Claudius kill Hamlet’s father, the King, but he also proceeds to marry Hamlet’s mother, Gertrude,...

Hamlet's procrastination

535 words - 2 pages At the beginning of Shakespeare's play Hamlet discovers that his father, King Hamlet, has been murdered. Hamlet discovers this when Horatio calls for him to come out to the battlement where a ghost has been seen. The ghost speaks with hamlet in private and divulges to him that King Hamlet was murdered by Hamlet's Uncle, the new

How Hamlet changes throughout the play due to his many losses.

576 words - 2 pages HamletThroughout the course of Shakespeare's Hamlet, the main character, Prince Hamlet, is forced to overcome many devastating losses. Dealing with these hardships causes Hamlet to change during the course of the play. Hamlet's change from a peaceful to bloodthirsty man is evident through his anger over his situation, his wanting revenge, and his determination to finally get what he wants.Hamlet's peaceful life was flipped upside...

Essay on "Hamlet" and connections to courage, risk, and sacrifice.

1103 words - 4 pages Courage by definition is "state or quality of mind and or spirit that enables one to face danger, fear, or vicissitudes with self-possession, confidence, and resolution; bravery,"(Word Dictionary). In William Shakespeare's play Hamlet, we compare and contrast the two characters, Claudius and Hamlet, and study how each does and does not portray courage. By comparing...

Hamlet's Summary.

1376 words - 6 pages Act I.Shakespeare's longest play and the play responsible for the immortal lines "To be or not to be: that is the question:" and the advise "to thine own self be true," begins in Denmark with the news that King Hamlet of Denmark has recently died.Denmark is now in a state of high alert and preparing for possible war with Young Fortinbras of Norway. A ghost...

The Character Horatio in Shakespeare's Hamlet

1241 words - 5 pages The Character Horatio in Shakespeare's Hamlet In the play Hamlet, by William Shakespeare, the confidant Horatio is created to serve a number of different purposes. Horatio is a flat character. He is a loyal, obedient, and trustworthy companion to Hamlet. His character does not undergo any significant transformation throughout the play, except that he serves as a witness of the death of Hamlet, Claudius, and Gertrude. Horatio's role in the...

Effective Use of Humor in Hamlet

942 words - 4 pages Effective Use of Humor in Hamlet   The use of humor in a tragic story helps to give the reader a break from the monotony of a depressing story line. “If a story were completely filled with depressing and tragic events, the readers' interest would most definitely be lost”( Bloom 91). William Shakespeare's, Hamlet is based on the tragedy of a murder of the king of Denmark, whose son must revenge his murderer. Therefore it is classified as a...

The Character of Claudius in Shakespeare's Hamlet Essay

2062 Words9 Pages

The Character of Claudius in Hamlet

Shakespeare presents Claudius as a character with many faces yet the audience can clearly understand his motives and ambition throughout the play. His character does however change and we clearly see how his evilness and weakness increases as his need to escape discovery and his clandestine nature in doing so, is revealed.

It is in Act one scene two that we are first introduced to the character of Claudius. The impression made by him is that of a powerful and controlled man who is respected by most. His mannerisms of speech are graceful and are nothing less than the words of a king, 'to bear our heats with grief, and our whole kingdom.' Claudius is presented to us by…show more content…

Hamlet is not convinced but Claudius's eloquent and graceful words are seemingly enough to win over the heart of Denmark. "Through yet of Hamlet our dear brother's death, the memory be green, and that it us befitted, to bear our hearts in grief."

Shakespeare uses the technique of giving Claudius's language a double meaning to portray to the audience his deceptive and two-sided character. Yet still, in these early stages on the play the audience is still yet to learn of the king's spiteful murder and in his speech he compares the body of his brother to that of "the first corpse" referring to Abel. It is unconscious but dramatic irony used here by Shakespeare as Claudius committed the same crime as Cain. Shakespeare's use of dramatic irony here engages the audience's interest and adds tension. Moreover, it makes Claudius seem vulnerable as his avenger is trying to out step him.

Unlike the procrastinating Hamlet, the king is straightforward "be as ourself in Denmark. Madam come." discreet and acts without hesitating although he usually incorporates the help of other characters of lower status than himself to do his deeds ' can you by no drift of conference get from him why he outs on this confusion?'

Hamlet has little respect for Claudius due to the circumstances of his mothers marriage and condemns him as a drunkard to

Show More

0 comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *