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Hamlet: The Character of Claudius in Shakespeare’s Hamlet

Hamlet: The Character of Claudius

Of all the characters in Shakespeare’s Hamlet, perhaps the role of Claudius is the most intriguing and crucial. Claudius is the most controversial, the most mysterious and the most talked about character in this play. Many people look at Claudius and only see a villain, but there are additional sides to him that are often overlooked: Claudius the father, the husband, the ruler and the mortal individual. In this play the characters are not super-human beings. They make mistakes, just as Claudius does, but it goes to show that they are only human.

Claudius, the father is very recognizable in Scene 2 of Act 1. He states to Hamlet starting at Line 109 “…think of us as of a father: for let the world take note, you are the most immediate to our throne, and with no less nobility of love that that which dearest father bears his son do I impart toward you.” Hamlet is “Our chiefest courtier, cousin and our son.” (Line 119) Here Claudius is speaking to Hamlet and saying that he is loved and accepted even since he is not Claudius’ natural son. Claudius seems to have no trouble speaking to his son Hamlet in front of a crowd. But when the two men are alone, Claudius is at a loss for words and cannot figure out what to say, or when to say it. It could be that the King feels so guilty about murdering King Hamlet that he is unable to speak to Hamlet in private, for fear of his true self emerging. Along the same lines, Claudius is also a great and sovereign leader. When young Fortinbras came to demand the surrender of those lands lost by his father to King Hamlet, Claudius handled the matter with such ease and grace. He informed Fortinbras that a letter was going to be sent to the King of Nor…

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…d turned-bad turned-even worse characters of all time. His strength to get through all of the circumstances in this play is tremendous. In the end, Claudius was the cause of nine deaths, including himself. Claudius’ obsession for control and power ruined one of the greatest kingdoms in history.

Works Cited and Consulted:

Bradley, A.C. “Shakespeare’s Tragic Period–Hamlet.” Shakespearean Tragedy: Lectures on Hamlet, Othello, King Lear, and Macbeth. Toronto: MacMillan, 1967. 79-174.

Oakes, Elizabeth. ” Claudius.” New Essays on Hamlet. Ed. Mark Thornton Burnett and John Manning. NY: AMS Press, 1994. 103-112.

Shakespeare, William. Hamlet. Sven Birkerts, ed., Literature The Evolving Canon, Boston: Allyn

Hamlet, A Tragic Hero

Hero’s are defined by the actions they take, but they either live to see there fall or die heroically. One of shakespheres most memorable tragic hero’s Hamlet is the definition of a tragic hero. In the book, Hamlet, Shakespeare’s character hamlet is determined on killing his uncle the king. This goal proves to be challenging to him due to his morals. He often struggles with this throughout the book. This proves to be his downfall for not deciding to kill the king until the very end. A tragic hero has to have a fatal flaw that, combined with fate, brings tragedy. This is one of the key characteristics of a tragic hero. He had many chances to kill the king, but due to his inner turmoil he allows adversity to build up against him. This leads to him being poisoned, and ultimately heroically dying along with his mother, the king, and Laertes. Hamlet proves he is a tragic hero because he gets supernatural guidance, his morals contradict his goal, and he possesses tragic flaws.
Hamlets can be defined as a tragic hero because he has an objective given to him by the supernatural. This objective turns hamlets life in a direction he could never imagine possible. “For Hamlet it is a secret, revealed to him by the ghost of his murdered father. Hamlet shares the same roof as his father’s murderer, and the assassin has now in great haste married Hamlet’s mother. Suspicion, anguish, unbearable tension.”(Duran 3) To be a tragic hero a literary character must have some sort of guidance which hamlet gets. Without his fathers perspective hamlet would live the rest of his life not knowing. This is the first time hamlet has an encounter with the supernatural, but not the last time he will speak with him. Throughout the book hamlet gets instructions fr…

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…eare’s Feminine Endings. 44-71. n.p.: Taylor

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