Hamlet And King Claudius essay example

905 words
In the play Hamlet, King Claudius plays a main character that produces much of the conflict and troubles. King Claudius, at first, displays a smooth, proper, and respected king in his speech in front of the people. He perfectly honors his brother's death and expresses his happiness in marrying the widowed Queen. But as he goes through his list of people to speak to, he comes to Hamlet, his nephew and now son.

King Claudius shows his frustration with Hamlet for the continuation in mourning for his father's death, and he is rude and tries to act fatherly towards Hamlet. The result is a clash but the King strives to cover his intentions of forgetting his deceased brother even though he unwisely says, "Why should we in our peevish opposition take [my brother's death] to heart? (1.2, lines 100-101) " That is cruel and insensitive towards his family. Later, in the following acts, the readers find that King Claudius was the murderer of his brother so that he gets the Queen and the throne to Denmark. More and more, the true character of Claudius reveals a man bent on achieving his happiness. As Hamlet wants to take action to avenge his father's murder, the King deceives and lies in an attempt to kill Hamlet so that he won't lose anything.

His selfish motivation and scheming finally exposes his evil deeds and he receives his just punishment. King Claudius contrasts greatly with Hamlet in many ways because the King is unpardonable in his actions and words while Hamlet is justified in his desire to avenge the murder of his father. For example, the King asks Laertes if his father is precious to him "or are you like the painting of a sorrow, a face without a heart? (4.7, lines 107-109) " The irony is that the King quickly kills his own brother then lustfully marries his sister-in-law to also gain the throne. His very own "sorrow" was an act while Hamlet psychologically battles his need to quickly obtain revenge or go about it with care and thought (4.7, line 108). King Claudius maliciously performs to gain his ends whereas Hamlet cautiously considers the consequences of a rash revenge on the King.

Hamlet remembers his loved friends that remain loyal, and he wishes to save them from harm. For instance, Hamlet succeeds in ostracizing Ophelia to save her from being in the middle of the fight but unfortunately still brings her unintentional harm. On the other hand, King Claudius operates selfishly and uses others. But Hamlet and King Claudius both destroy indirectly the people that they tried to save. Hamlet kills Ophelia's father, Polonius, so she goes mad and then drowns or commits suicide.

The King poisons the drink that is meant for Hamlet but Gertrude drinks it and dies. Hamlet, the tragic hero, obliterates King Claudius' hopes though Hamlet achieves his purpose and expectation for justice. King Claudius deceives all those around him, even the friends and loyal subjects. This strong personal quality ruins his brother's life, Queen Gertrude, Hamlet, Laertes, Rosencrantz, Guildenstern, and many others indirectly. For example, the King states to Gertrude that "when sorrows come, they come not single spies, but in battalions: first, her father slain; next, your son gone, and he most violent author of his own just remove; ... ".

(4.5, lines 78-81). His masquerade of dismal feelings in front of Gertrude leads her to act like she believes or truly believe that he isn't evil but really looks out for the interests of others. She sees him as sincere in sorrow over the death of Polonius and the taking away of Hamlet, but really he's glad that his life and possessions aren't jeopardized. His secret actions and words show the flaws of Claudius.

The covert operation that the King plans in England involves "the present death of Hamlet" (4.3, line 65). The hidden agenda of the King also explains his drive for his own happiness, safety, power, and freedom. Important evidence that King Claudius betrays others is in his own words that "my soul is full of discord and dismay" (4.1, line 45). These quotes signify the evil brooding he does and the correct outlook on King Claudius.

In every action, King Claudius must take that and turn it for his benefit so that he will win the battle. King Claudius transforms during the play from a superior, powerful, and accurate man to a clumsy, conniving human. His exact nature appears increasingly and his fear swells so that he acts with impatience and a lack of attention on Hamlet's dealings. The King lets the matters get out of his hands and he loses control. These variations allow Hamlet to act and actually accomplish vengeance so the tragic hero wins. The personality of King Claudius created the conflict by murdering Hamlet's brother and marrying his mother.

King Claudius didn't think of the consequences but ambitiously hunted and obtained his goals. He wasn't willing to repent of his many sins and thus his punishment fell on him. The readers find moral lessons and ways to purify themselves by observing King Claudius just like Shakespeare meant it to be.