The Illusion of Ambition in Hamlet by William Shakespeare

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What is the first thing that comes to your mind when you hear the word ambition? Destiny? Dreams? Success? There’s a higher chance you thought of positive words such as success. Although, ambition can be a driving force in an individual’s success, it can also backfire at the individual. In his play, Hamlet, Shakespeare demonstrates that an individual’s ambitions can have a negative impact on self and others through the character of Claudius. Claudius’s ambitions play a pivotal role in all the tragedies that happen throughout the novel including his own death.
Claudius’s strong ambitions to become king lead him to poisoning and killing Hamlet’s father and Hamlet falling into a state of melancholy. Due to his deep sadness, Hamlet’s relationships with Ophelia and Gertrude deteriorate. In response to Gertrude marrying Claudius just shortly after his father’s death, Hamlet calls women weak because of their unwillingness to control their sexual appetites. This is shown when Hamlet says “Frailty, thy name is woman” (1, ll, 148) when he is expressing his anger on their marriage. Hamlet is confused at why his mother, who had shown so much affection to his father, would forget all her love for him so fast and marry Claudius. Hamlet’s relationship with Ophelia is also damaged because, after watching his mother get married to Claudius, Hamlet thinks all women, including Ophelia, are weak and lusty. This is shown when Hamlet says “I’ve heard all about you women and your cosmetics too.
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