Character Analysis of Claudius from the Play Hamlet by Shakespeare

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Character Analysis of Claudius from the Play Hamlet by Shakespeare

In the play, "Hamlet", Shakespeare needed to devize an evil character, a villain that is ambitious, and has the ability to scheme to get what he wants. The character would also have to contain some good qualities, such as kindness and contriteness. These good qualities make the character seem more human and thus, more believable. Claudius is this character. Shakespeare uses Claudius in his revenge theme in this play. Without the acts of Claudius, this theme just would not be. The entire play revolves around what Claudius has done, or will do.

The evil traits of Claudius by far outweigh the good things he does. He is very ambitious, perhaps too ambitious.
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II Lines 2-5, 14-18)

Another time Claudius creates a plan in which he manipulates to get what he wants is when he sends Polonius to Gertrude’s closet, where he’ll hide and listen to Hamlet as he tells her everything.

My lord, he’s going to his mother’s closet.

Behind the arras I’ll convey myself

To hear the process. I’ll warrant she’ll tax him home;

And, as you said, and wisely was it said,

‘Tis meet that some more audience than a mother,

Since nature makes them partial, should o’er hear

The speech, of vantage." (Act III Sc. III Lines 29-35)

Claudius’ most risky plot was when he and Laertes planned to kill Hamlet. Now, Claudius is aware that Hamlet knows about his crime and wishes him dead. Claudius, in a plan to save himself, has Laertes and Hamlet engage in a fencing match. Laertes has his sword poisoned in an effort to do Hamlet in once and for all.

"And for that purpose I’ll anoint my sword,

I bought an unction of a mountebank,

So mortal that, but a dip a knife in it,

Where it draws blood no cataplasm so rare,

Collected from all simples that have virtue

Under the moon, can save the thing from death

That is but scratched withal. I’ll touch my point With this

Contagion, that, if I gall him

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