Thursday, September 19, 2019
Shakespeares Presentation Of Claudius In Hamlet Essay -- William Shak
Shakespeare's Presentation Of Claudius In Hamlet 'Hamlet' opens with the death of Old King Hamlet, Father of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark. The new king, Claudius, brother of the previous king has married Gertrude, the dead man's widow and has taken the throne. Shakespeare presents Claudius as the plays 'damned smiley villain' although he does allow him some redeeming features; leading an audience to view him as a complex and contradictory figure within the play. After Old King Hamlet dies Claudius is crowned king of Denmark and talks to the people as though he has sympathy and is saddened by his brother's death 'and that it is us befitted to bear out hearts in grief, and our whole kingdom to be continued in one brow of woe.' However, he comes across as insincere as he marries his brother's wife so soon after the funeral. Claudius is sly and clever as he counters possible opposition to his marriage by flattering his court; thanking them for their better wisdoms, which have freely gone with this affair! For the same reasons he turns his attention to the threat of invasion by Fortinbras and shows himself to be an excellent king: knowledgeable, organised and efficient in dealing with the imminent attack by diplomatic means. The king's treachery is revealed when the ghost of Old King Hamlet appears to Hamlet who talks very much of his hate of his brother, Claudius 'The serpent that did sting thy fathers life now wears the crown.' Referring to Claudius as a serpent who plays around beneath you, very deceptive and sly. Claudius has committed two crimes of murder, Fratricide- murder of his brother and Regicide- murder of the ki... ..., I am but hurt.' Hamlet kills Claudius by forcing him to drink the poison his mother has drank. Hamlet is not an unprincipled murderer and traitor, Claudius is! Claudius has manipulated Laertes and deserved to die by Hamlet, as it was an act of revenge and justice for the murder of his father. Claudius is the obvious villain of the play presented by Shakespeare as a contradictory character with clear strengths and weaknesses. He possesses excellent leadership qualities, is diplomatic, determined and clever but beneath this impressive public image he is cowardly, deceptive, murderous and duplicitous. He is therefore presented as a complex character throughout the play. Shakespeare's presentation of Claudius allows him to explore human nature and the themes of corruption, appearance and reality and political intrigue.