Claudius: Politics vs Immorality

1967 WordsMar 18, 20118 Pages
Throughout Hamlet, Claudius is revealed to be a malevolent person at heart; however, this does not reflect that of Claudius’ role as King of Denmark. Claudius reveals his immorality through his personal actions, such as the murder of Old Hamlet, his marriage to Gertrude, and manipulative speech; however, in dealing with politics, his leadership ability and effectiveness as a king overshadows his ethical flaws. Claudius is inserted into Hamlet as a malevolent character, as demonstrated by his murder of Old Hamlet, his attempt to murder Hamlet, and other plots to protect himself from the “slings and arrows” of his sinful life (3.1.57). Upon meeting with Hamlet privately, Old Hamlet’s ghost angrily states, “Ay, that incestuous, that…show more content…
Claudius uses smart political sense here by allowing Fortinbras’ army a safe passage through Denmark because it reveals to Fortinbras that Claudius trusts him, allowing an improvement in the relationship between the two once warring countries. In explaining the appearance of Old Hamlet’s ghost, Horatio, Marcellus, and Barnardo convey that he was “armed from head to foot” (1.2.225-7). This image of the ghost reveals the violent nature of Old Hamlet through the idea that his ghost was donned from head to food in his battle armor. This exemplifies the idea that Old Hamlet tends to solve matters violence and bloodshed. Not only does this reveal that Claudius is indeed the better King of Denmark of the two, but it also presents the reader with Claudius’ passive nature. Although he is a bad person at heart for the murder of Old Hamlet, he shows the characteristics of a good king for his people. Through a series of intelligent political moves and signs of sympathy, Claudius proves over and over again that he is fit to be the King of Denmark. Claudius’ characteristics as a good king are not limited to his political acumen, but are also shown with the sympathy he demonstrates towards his subjects. In Act 1 Scene 2, Claudius is shown to care for Hamlet’s well being by asking, “How is it that clouds still hang on you?” (1.2.66). Claudius presents himself here as a caring, passionate king. In the process of “fixing” Hamlet’s insanity, he calls upon

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