Claudius As A Conflicted Character In William Shakespeare's Hamlet

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Shakespeare presents Claudius as a conflicted character with varying ideals regarding his nephew, Hamlet. His actions within this passage suggest that he may actually possess some level of care for Hamlet at the beginning, but near the end, we see that Claudius holds deep disdain for Hamlet, for he wants to kill him. Claudius is both highly intelligent yet infinitely devious. He is the personification of deception, and in a way, it is clear that Claudius views himself as a sort of devil’s advocate, always keeping half of his cards in view and the other half purposely out of sight. It is this level of betrayal that Shakespeare utilizes to construct the primary plot of the story, for we see that virtually all other occurrences throughout the play are built upon this deception and two-faced trickery. Through the use of personal soliloquies and side notes among the characters, Shakespeare is able to reveal the true motives of his characters, the internal conviction that gives each character their own personalized flair. In the case of Claudius, most of his motives are easily spotted by Hamlet, and it is this play upon the motives of differing characters that Shakespeare utilizes to build his plot. From Hamlet’s actions in this scene, we gain insight into his cynical and morbid ideology and sense of humor, this being seen from his jesting about having killed Polonius and feeding his body to worms, his cynicism then being shown through his detailed description of how the matter

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