Claudius in William Shakespeare's Hamlet
Ans. 'Hamlet, Prince of Denmark' is perhaps Shakespeare's best
tragedy. It was written between the years, 1600-1601. Hamlet's
character in the play is one of introspection and reflection. He is a
person who thinks too much before he acts and also expresses a lot of
his feelings before actually doing something. All of Shakespeare's
tragedies concerned people in high positions in a country and his fall
would affect every one in the country too. As we see in, "King Lear"
and "Macbeth". Hamlet's fall is due to one major flaw, which is his
tendency to postpone action. His fall leads to death and destruction
of such magnitude that the audience is moved by pity and terror.
Hamlets tragic flaw brings about his downfall due to the peculiar
situation he is in. This situation is revealed to the audience when
they discover about Claudius, the late king Hamlet's brother, killing
the king and then quickly taking control over the state of Denmark. He
also marries Gertrude, the queen of Denmark and starts to rule over
We find the character of Claudius in the play a very complex one,
which is woven by Shakespeare to play an important role in the play.
Claudius is a very cruel villain in the play, who also leads to the
death of many people, including himself, with his pitiless acts. He
proves himself to the audience to be a murderer, villain and one of
who indulges in incest and cruel actions. He also is the source of
corruption, guilt and deception, in the play.
Shakespeare gives the name "Claudius" to the character because there
was an emperor of Rome named Claudius who was the ultimate epitome of
evil in the eyes of the Elizabethans.
We see him to be the bad character in the play immediately, when we
see the plays framework. Shakespeare makes him the brother of the King
Hamlet, in the play. He is quite a jealous and spiteful man, who takes
over his brother's place in the kingdom by killing him when he pours
poison into his ear while he was asleep. Swiftly after his death
Claudius goes to the council and demands their vote for him to be the
next king. We also see that Shakespeare tries to tell us that in those
day's kings had control over most things. Next he marries the wife of
his brother, the late king Hamlet, and soon blends into the position
of being king.
" Though yet of Hamlet our dear brother's death the memory be green,
and that it is befitted to bear our hearts in grief, and whole
kingdom", Claudius' first three lines seem to be sincere, as they
indicate Claudius wanting the whole court to mourn together. He
doesn't seem to be much of a killer here, but he is just as well very
shrewd when he tells the court that he is going to mourn but also
going to move on. Hence he will marry the queen of the late king, just