English Comp 2
Childish Claudius Hamlet, by William Shakespeare, talks about a devoted son seeking revenge for his father’s (the kings) murder. One night, a ghost of the king appears and watchmen report it to Hamlet. The ghost tells Hamlet that he was murdered by his brother, Claudius, who now is the king of Denmark, and that Claudius married the queen. The ghost pleads that Hamlet avenge his death by killing Claudius, and Hamlet agrees. Later, Hamlet orchestrates a play matching the events of his father’s murder to make Claudius guilty. Of course, Claudius quickly shoots up and exits the room due to his guilt. Hamlet goes to meet with his mother but notices someone behind the curtains. Thinking it is Claudius, he draws his sword and stabs the person behind the curtains, who turns out to be Polonius. Claudius convinces Polonius’s son Laertes that Hamlet is too blame for his father’s death. Laertes and Claudius form a plot to kill Hamlet, where Laertes and Hamlet will have a duel, but Laertes will have a poisoned sword. At the end of the story, Hamlet is stabbed by Laertes’s poisoned blade, he then takes down Laertes, his mother accidentally drinks poison, Hamlet then stabs Claudius with the same poisoned blade he was stabbed with, and they all die.
One of the main characters of this story is Claudius. Obviously, Claudius is a childish, selfish, and disturbing person who only puts himself before others. He murders his own brother for his crown and wife, and seems to have no guilt about the whole situation due to his thirst for power and happiness. To quote Albert Camas “To be happy, we must not be too concerned with others.” Claudius believes this quote to be true because throughout the story, he does terrible things to achieve happiness, while only putting himself before others and not caring about how his actions will affect the people around him.
Although there is sufficient proof for Claudius’s selfishness and greedy personality, there is also evidence that he has some sort of a conscience and a small glimpse of a good side. In Act III, scene iii, Claudius is found in his chambers confessing his sin and admitting he did wrong. “Oh, my offence is rank, it smells to heaven; it hath the primal eldest curse upon’t, a brother’s murder!” Unfortunately, this confession does not last long and transforms into an excuse. He wishes to be forgiven, but he knows that if he is to be forgiven, he must give up the crown and the queen, which is not an option. This is a childish feeling, which a king, let alone a grown man, should not feel.
Besides for his selfish personality, Claudius seems to have no problem sleeping with his late brother’s wife, Queen Gertrude. Although there is nothing written about Claudius and Gertrude physical relationship before the death of the King, we can assume that there was either talk of a physical relationship, and/or an actual physical relationship, due to the outcome of this whole situation. What kind of brother would backstab his brother for his wife and the crown, and what sort of wife would betray her husband to sleep with her brother-in-law? Claudius and Gertrude must have been meant for each other after all, due to their self-centeredness, need for power, and incestuous desires. By nature, Claudius is a backstabber. A backstabber is a person who pretends to be a friend, but then betrays you. In act I, scene ii, Claudius asks Hamlet why he is still mourning for his father’s death? “But now, my cousin Hamlet, and my son… How is it that the clouds still hang on you?... But, you must know, your father lost a father; that father lost his;… ‘tis unmanly grief; it shows a will most incorrect to heaven.” Claudius tells Hamlet to stop mourning over his father, and instead focus on the future, which includes Hamlets reign over Denmark once Claudius dies. Claudius thinks that Hamlet has no idea how his father really died, and plays the innocent brother who feels he doing