Claudius Character Analysis

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The common theme of revenge is portrayed throughout one of William Shakespeare’s most famous play’s known as Hamlet. In the story of Hamlet, there are multiple characters that could possibly take on the role of a villain, adding to many of the tragic and dramatic parts of the story. The most obvious evil character being Claudius, the King of Denmark and the brother of the former King of Denmark known as Hamlet’s father. Throughout the play, Claudius is driven by his evil-like qualities of greed, revenge, and dishonesty where we learn that he portrays the role of Prince Hamlet’s enemy. Claudius is a complex character who shows the perfect example of a “quintessential Shakespearean antagonist” (Claudius: Character Analysis, cliffnotes.com). William Shakespeare portrays Claudius as a devious, greedy, and conniving villain who commits many sins throughout the play. One of the first things we learn is that he murders his own brother, the King of Denmark, by poisoning him so that he can instead become the King of Denmark. He takes this act of evil even further by seducing his sister-in-law,…show more content…
As stated in the article Teaching Hamlet, “Claudius is more contemptible in that his emotions are more shallow and common place. He has committed a crime, but he has no need to wade on in blood because he can live with the memory of murder” (Ornstein, Robert. “Teaching Hamlet.” Pg. 7). Claudius is greedy, corrupt, manipulating, deceiving and he will do whatever it takes to achieve power and acceptance. He is a selfish villain who does what he wants and does what is beneficial to him for he doesn’t care who or what he hurts in the end. When referring to Claudius, “He manipulates fortune and takes what is not rightfully his, but remains unapologetic for his actions; he possesses enough strength to admit that he would do the same again” (Claudius: Character Analysis,
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