This website uses cookies to ensure you have the best experience. Learn more

Claudius As The Personification Of Evil In 'hamlet' By William Shakespeare

1238 words - 5 pages

The abstract concept of evil has vastly transformed throughout human history, ranging for the supernatural and mystical to the very humans amongst whom we live. In modern times, evil has become an entirely ambiguous term. Who is evil? What is evil? Men like Adolph Hitler and Saddam Hussein have been garnered with the term 'evil' for their atrocities against fellow humans. Now it seems evil has a solely human significance; when a person violates the individual rights of others on a massive scale, he/she is evil. In Shakespeare's time - the Elizabethan era - evil had a similar, but somewhat altered connotation in the human mind. Evil was an entity that violated the English Christian monarchial tradition. Therefore, a man such as Claudius, from Shakespeare's play Hamlet, a cold-blooded murderer and a ruthless manipulator, who uses "rank" deeds to usurp the thrown is in direct violation with the Elizabethan societal norms, and hence he is an evil character. In the Elizabethan era, the royal crown was viewed as divinely touched and hence any action against the crown was an action against God. Claudius dismisses God's right to control the crown by committing a "murder most foul" (I.v.27), yet he concedes that "there's such divinity doth hedge a king" (IV.v.121). Claudius admits that God influences the monarchy and yet he chooses to violate the divine monarchial progression. Hamlet recognizes Claudius' evil nature beyond simply the murder of his father; Hamlet sees that Claudius is corrupting all of Denmark. Claudius' reign is compared to "an unweeded garden/That grows to seed. Things rank and gross in nature/Possess it merely" (I.ii.135-7), his influence causing the destruction of a previously beautiful environment. Claudius' infectious evil must be eliminated, and Hamlet feels he is the only man who can do anything; he pulls out all the stops and in the end accomplishes his goal. King Hamlet's "foul and most unnatural murder" (I.v.25) tops Claudius' list of egregious sins, but most of his offenses are psychological rather than physical. Using his mastery of manipulation, Claudius, the "incestuous" and "adulterate beast" managed to win "to his shameful lust the will" of the virtuous queen, Gertrude (I.v.42-6). Gertrude could not be persuaded to switch husbands without a little verbal trickery on Claudius' part, and that turns out to be his true skill: lying convincingly. Claudius manages to legitimize his ascent to the throne by diverting popular attention, away from the circumstances of his ascent, and to the impending attack by the young Fortinbras (I.ii.1-20). Claudius' propensity towards fabrications is in direct violation with the Holy Commandment Thou shalt not bear false witness; hence, he violates one of the pillars of Christian moral law. Claudius' lies are effective enough to persistently deceive to play's antagonist, Hamlet. Despite Hamlet's disgust with Claudius for marrying Gertrude, and his view of Claudius as "a king...

Find Another Essay On Claudius as the Personification of Evil in 'Hamlet' by William Shakespeare

Claudius in William Shakespeare's Hamlet Essay

3222 words - 13 pages 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 Irony in Hamlet by William Shakespeare

827 words - 3 pages Gabrielle Stewart March 24, 2014 AP English- A3 The Irony in Hamlet In the book Hamlet by Shakespeare, irony is used numerous times in order to give the reader insight on what is going on. As stated in the Merriam-Webster dictionary, irony is an action that is understood by the audience but not by the characters in the play. If this strategy were not included in this drama, it would take away the whole purpose. This play would consist of no

The Royal Court of Denmark in Hamlet by William Shakespeare

973 words - 4 pages emphasizes the feminist lens by telling of the female's great anxiety that eventually leads to an unstable court. This chaos causes the females to desperately cling to the people around them for acceptance until social and political power is regained. In William Shakespeare’s Hamlet, Queen Gertrude’s experiences with Claudius and Hamlet illustrate a contrast between her longing for acceptance and her desire for an authoritative role in the royal court

The Concept of Staying True in Hamlet by William Shakespeare

1217 words - 5 pages Staying True "This above all: to thine own self be true, and it must follow, as the night the day, thou canst not then be false to any man" (Shakespeare 1794). This piece of guidance from Polonius to Laertes will be hard for many of the key players in Hamlet to follow, and will lead to their detriment. Shakespeare uses this advice as a continuous motif that foreshadows what will spread among major players in Hamlet such as: Ophelia, Polonius

Insanity as a Weapon in Hamlet by William Shakespeare

805 words - 4 pages play and that they had confessed to their crimes. Hamlet will watch his uncle in his actions as the play is going on. If he sees guilt on Claudius’s face, he then knows when to take action on his revenge. The reenactment of old Hamlet’s death shows the guilty conscience of Claudius. He could not take being around this plan that Hamlet made up. Claudius realizes that Hamlet knows what he did to old king Hamlet then wants Hamlet dead. Claudius

Role of Evil in Hamlet's Delay and Downfall. Hamlet by William Shakespeare. Discusses how Hamlet resists, falters and eventually succumbs to evil, heavily focuses on nature of ghost

2899 words - 12 pages Role of Evil in Hamlet's Delay and DownfallScholarly critics have long regarded William Shakespeare's seventeenth-century tragedy, Hamlet, as perhaps the single greatest piece of English literature ever produced. In his Shakespeare: The Invention of the Human, Harold Bloom calls the phenomenon of Hamlet's character "unsurpassed in the West's imaginative literature" (384), and the play itself "the Mona Lisa of literature" (391). Written almost

Hamlet by WIlliam Shakespeare

1776 words - 8 pages ” (Shakespeare). Prince hamlet overwhelmed by the new realization decides to proceed with caution with the ghost of the deceased king until he is able to prove that king Claudius really murdered his father. With that, an idea transpired into Hamlet’s head and he decided upon himself that he would act insane as a mask to place over himself. Hamlet then depicts a play with the specified events in which he believed had happened to his father, King Hamlet. He

Hamlet by William Shakespeare

1848 words - 7 pages your own brother and feel no grief from it, all for the thrown. Is it worth it? One can conclude that in his eyes it must have been. He felt no grief, no sorrow, no remorse. Everything was going as planned for Claudius until Hamlet discovered of his Uncles cruel actions. Claudius at this point is willing to do whatever it takes to keep his secret from getting out. Now King Hamlet takes a different approach, more unique and twisted then them

Hamlet by William Shakespeare

1683 words - 7 pages The expression “an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth” is never taken literally in the modern day, as it only exaggerates the idea of payback or karma, but this saying took a whole new meaning in the famous tragic-revenge play of Hamlet, written by William Shakespeare in 1601.What is so appealing about this masterpiece, to audiences of many decades, is the fact that revenge plays a rather large role throughout the play, motivating not only

Hamlet by WIlliam Shakespeare

2200 words - 9 pages which states “According to Freud, the boy (Hamlet) wishes to possess his mother and replace his father, who the child views as a rival for the mother's affections” (Cherry). In the play, Hamlet’s actions are motivated by the Oedipal Complex and his unconscious forces (id, ego, and superego) which prove that only by the death of Gertrude can Hamlet kill Claudius. Throughout the play we can see Hamlet’s anger with his mother stays at a reasonable

Hamlet by William Shakespeare

748 words - 3 pages Hamlet In the play Hamlet by William Shakespeare, two of the character's fathers are brutishly murdered. The first executed character is King Hamlet who is supposed to be reprisal by his son prince Hamlet. The subsequent murder is Polonius who is supposed to be revenged by his son Laertes. Both Prince Hamlet and Laertes go to take revenge for the death of fathers; on the other hand they will each use diverse methods to achieve their deeds

Similar Essays

King Claudius In William Shakespeare´S Hamlet

1938 words - 8 pages finding out if Hamlet suspects Claudius of any wrong doing. The cause of the change “ I cannot dream of.” Some little time; so by your companies, To draw him on to pleasures, and to gather So much as from occasion you may glean Whe’r aught to us unknown afflicts him thus, That open’d, lies within our remedy. (II,ii,15-20) Later in the play we see how like everyone else in the kingdom of Denmark, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are deceived by the

Character Analysis Of Claudius From The Play Hamlet By Shakespeare

1245 words - 5 pages Character Analysis of Claudius from the Play Hamlet by Shakespeare In the play, "Hamlet", Shakespeare needed to devize an evil character, a villain that is ambitious, and has the ability to scheme to get what he wants. The character would also have to contain some good qualities, such as kindness and contriteness. These good qualities make the character seem more human and thus, more believable. Claudius is this character. Shakespeare uses

The Many Identities Of Hamlet In Hamlet By William Shakespeare

829 words - 3 pages The Many Identities of Hamlet in Hamlet by William Shakespeare In the play Hamlet, by William Shakespeare, the protagonist, Price Hamlet, uses several ways to defend himself against his oedipal desires, his animosity towards his uncle, as well as his own inner conflict . Hamlet's hatred towards Claudius stems from two crimes committed; Claudius' murder of his brother and his incest with Hamlet's mother. Because of the seriousness of both

Hamlet's Transformation From Good To Evil In The Play Hamlet By William Shakespeare

931 words - 4 pages Hamlet's Transformation from Good to Evil in the Play Hamlet by William Shakespeare Hamlet’s Transformation from Good to Evil In the play Hamlet by Shakespeare, Hamlet endures exorbitant amount of pain and anger because of his father’s death, his mothers hasty remarriage, and the loss of his only love, Ophelia. The losses that Hamlet has to deal with, the anger and lack of forgiveness that he allows to build within himself, allows Hamlet’s