King Claudius

Topics: Hamlet, Characters in Hamlet, Polonius Pages: 4 (1489 words) Published: September 29, 2011
King Claudius
Humans have the ability to choose to achieve greatness in life or not. It is up to a human to make the right choice that will bring him/her to happiness or into darkness. In Shakespeare’s play Hamlet, Claudius knows what is right and wrong however he constantly chooses to do wrong which leads him to darkness. Since Claudius knows what he is doing when it is wrong, he has no problem being the villain. He is driven by the fear of losing power and this resulting in his selfish acts. These choices are greatly influenced with his desire to do whatever he can to keep himself on top even if it is bringing him into the darkness. Claudius’s motives as king are selfish and are controlled by the fact that he will not lose his royalty. So he manipulates people around him to maintain that power, which turns his life into one big lie that gets bigger and bigger. He manipulates Gertrude into marrying him.

Although Claudius acts the role of the ideal great leader, he knows he is being the villain. The King is carrying the burden of his brother’s death on his hands. Before Polonius hides with Claudius to spy on Hamlet, Polonius told Ophelia about how with a display of behavior they conceal their wickedness and the King than says “O, tis true’! / How smart a lash that speech doth give my conscience! / The harlots cheeks beautified with plastering art, / Is not more ugly to the thing that helps it / That is my deed to my mot painted word; / Oh heavy burden!” (III.i.49-54). He is admitting that no matter how innocent and honest he acts he is really just covering up the wrongs he knows he has done. After the play Hamlet puts on for the palace, Claudius storms out to the chapel where he attempts to seek remorse where he asks for forgiveness for the murder of his brother, yet proves he does not care by saying “Bow stubborn knees, and heart with strings of steel, / Be soft sinews of the new born babe!” (III.iii.70-71). Claudius try’s to pray for forgiveness but his...
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