The Characters Of Claudius And Hamlet Have More Similarities Than They Do Differences. Discuss. Essay, Research Paper
The characters of Claudius and Hamlet have more similarities than they do differences. Discuss.
Claudius and Hamlet, according to the plot lead us to believe nonsensically that they are poles apart. The nature of the play fools us to believe, that the relationship is in turmoil therefore they must be different in character and in nature. My personal belief this cannot be true has lead me to believe different things to what is skin deep. Claudius clearly is not this and Hamlet is definitely not that. One must think of the way in which their motives influence the other, their behaviour to their victims, the past and other characters within the play.
Claudius mind is eager in coincidence with Hamlet s. Claudius murdered his own brother, the fact alone sparks a fury and sadistic interest that is never satisfied. In short, we never find out the trail of murder he followed, as that of Hamlet, to achieve his aim. Doubtlessly, due to the guilt he suffers after King Hamlet s death, he thoughtfully planned the murder. One must consider the only way he was found out was by a supposed image of the late King, this fact alone encourages us to believe him wise and intelligent. Hamlet in all obviousness, is a thoughtful and careful philosopher. However, the death of Polonius, was in haste and he later stated I do repent, but heaven hath pleased it so. In stark contrast to the guilt of Claudius, a weakness in solitude, Hamlet kills two former friends-Rosencrantz and Guildenstern-without the batting of an eyelid. Polonius is insulted, moreover blamed for his own death!
Hamlet s fast cold-bloodedness does not reek of Claudius subtleties. It is obvious to the audience the intentions of Hamlet after the visitation of the Ghost. He must establish succinctly the one with blood on his sword and kill the perpetrator. In Hamlet s mind it would be in perfect conscience to kill Claudius and damnable to let him live. Claudius is highly efficient in dealing with public persona, where Hamlet fails, however holds such high public esteem, Claudius names him next in line. Claudius wishes to be omniscient sending or acting with spies. He is clever in attaining as much reconnaissance as possible before launching his plan. He is clearly disappointed when receiving the second of Hamlet s letters whilst conversing with Laertes. The letter arrived just as he was going to explain how he disposed of Hamlet. Claudius in tune with other decisions, in clarity and speed, decides upon a fixed fencing match with the fail-safe device of a poisoned cup. There are no perfect men though, only perfect intentions. Claudius does not agree with the latter. The only reason I state Hamlet is not as subtle in his acts, is the simple fact that he does not act. He is a man of intellect and thought, who was soon to return to study in Germany. He contrasts entirely with the martial Fortinbras. However, it is Claudius haste and Hamlet s sloth that became their misfortune. Claudius marries only two months after King Hamlet s death leading to suspect and Hamlet leaves it too late, to prove, he dies.
The treatment of the loves in both men s lives is one that has troubled me greatly. Ophelia is much a vexation as she fails to give her opinion of her love or relationship with Hamlet, only tenders. Gertrude and Ophelia are akin to the extent they could involve themselves in related events but choose not to influence. The weakness of the two poses a question of Hamlet and Ophelia s relationship in relation to Claudius and Gertrude. After the death of her husband, the weakness we have discussed, together with the subtle and clever nature of Claudius, she could not have failed to fall for his charms. After all, she is the doting wife until Hamlet knocks some sense into her. She did not doubt her husband s death; how did he die? She was unequivocally shocked, when she was told that murder was the cause by Hamlet. So Ophelia and Hamlet s relationship could have been so easy for a wordman of Hamlet s stature. The pairs female interests, are so spellbound by their lovers they act foolishly. Ophelia is so convinced of Hamlet s ill behaviour, she eventually dies. Whereas Gertrude does not know whether to dote on her son or her new-found love.
The relationship with other people is a topic that shows the main influences of Claudius and Hamlet. Hamlet I feel takes great influence from his mother. But she is easily led and in the closet scene, changes allegiance to her son even after he murders the Lord Chamberlain in front of her, a man of high royal office. Claudius does not share this close dotage. To me, the queen represents the incestuous sheets that Hamlet speaks of and is sexually fulfilled by her. The reasoning behind taking both the throne of his brother and his wife is something we do not know, therefore we cannot apply it to this situation. Gertrude does not portray as great an influence or has as stark a depth of affection as Hamlet holds for others. His friend Horatio and I believe in great truth due to the beautiful contents of a mad love letter, lover Ophelia. Hamlet has more love for others, clearly the father he places on a pedestal and the other two prior stated. He proves his affections for his best friend Horatio by not only declaring his love for him, but in stark contrast to Claudius prevents his friend from drinking from the poisoned cup, even knowing he was dying. At Ophelia s funeral he jostles with Laertes in the grave of his love declaring I loved Ophelia. Forty thousand brothers could not make… up my sum. Claudius is a man of two facades. In public he is a perfect King, this I cannot dispute, however alone he is racked with insecurities and guilt. In the final scene he could finally drop his facade and prove his love to Gertrude. This is before she sips from the poisoned glass, he merely shouts her name. Claudius chose pride before admitting his guilt, a selfish fellow, who chose a king-swapping courtier as his closest confidante. Claudius also lied to a wife he knew was gullible, after the knowledge of Ophelia s death he tells her he had to calm the rage of Laertes.
In all honesty, it is an impossible task to decide whether Claudius and Hamlet hold more similarities or differences, as my opinions and others will be argued away. However there are a few notable differences. Hamlet has far more time and interest in his friends, the way he reacts to Rosencrantz and Guildenstern shows us his respect for others, notably how visibly moved he was by the First Player. Claudius does not show such respect for the people whom we would assume he would. Claudius is also more direct in his actions, he does not dither in plays and conspiring. He gets to the point, kills and marries, plans and rids Denmark of his Achilles heel Hamlet. This astute planning and action differ from Hamlet, except for Hamlet s cold-bloodedness that seem mishaps in our beliefs of his natural behaviour. But both men engaged themselves in relations with women of a weak and gullible nature, Ophelia stating I do not know my lord what I should think. The dominance of the two men s minds over these two characters shows similarities. The mind leads us to another point, Claudius is one of a few who realises, in my belief that Hamlet was not mad, showing dexterity on both men s parts. In the end it is their mental capacity that differs from their emotional side.