William Shakespeare brought to life an interesting character in King Claudius. On one side you see a kind and affectionate man toward the Queen. Yet on the other side you see a character that Shakespeare would have you believe is truly diabolic and will kill to get what he wants. I believe Claudius is not the bad person that most critiques would have you believe; rather he was a man who loved his country deeply enough to kill his own brother King Hamlet for it.
We enter King Claudius’s life with Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, two of Hamlet’s friends and very quickly we see how the King shows his compassionate side. He asks Rosencrantz and Guildenstern to check on Hamlet and see if they can find out what truly afflicts Hamlet thus causing Hamlets change in behavior. On the surface what the Kings is asking of Hamlet’s friends shows genuine concern or is it a way of 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 king and is costs them their lives. Is this the sign of a man desperate to hide his secret or someone that loves Denmark and willing to do whatever it takes to keep it strong?
Claudius, appears at first in the play as if he is a kind and gentle king however he can’t escape the chain of events that link him to his crime. He might have gotten away with it if it wouldn’t have been for Hamlet.
The story begins when Hamlet returns from Wittenberg, England upon hearing about his father’s death. A new king was immediately needed, the election of Claudius takes place, because of the absence of Hamlet, it was inevitable. It was immediately justified because Claudius manages to stop the threat of invasion by going to the King of Norway to stop his nephew, Fortinbras. Fortinbras didn’t have a problem stopping the invasion because Hamlet’s father was now dead. Again this could be proof that Claudius didn’t want Denmark to be caught up in a war that could destroy his beloved Denmark.
Hamlet has also learned the disturbing news of the new king’s marriage to his mother only two months after the funeral. The act of marrying the Queen in Claudius mind could have been a way of solidifying the country or Claudius could have genuinely fell in love with the Queen. However, Hamlet was extremely upset by this news and cries out “Let me not think on ’t: Frailty, thy name is woman!” (I,ii,150)
King Claudius appears at the court gathering where he grieves the death of his brother. Claudius laments in a very convincing way and the argument could be made he was extremely sincere. Because we will see later in the play Claudius praying about what...