King Claudius's Ambition Essay

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“To be or not or not to be - that is the question” (3.1.64). In life, people often have to decide whether to fulfill their desire by harming others or to uphold their conscience. In Hamlet by William Shakespeare, King Claudius chooses to pursue his desires through the suffering of King Hamlet, Queen Gertrude, Hamlet, and his servants. King Claudius’s lust for absolute power, in addition to his deceitful and manipulating tactics, leads to his downfall. First of all, King Claudius’s ambition to become the next King of Denmark causes him to lose his conscience. As King Hamlet’s ghost reveals the truth of his death, he anguishes, “Thus was I [King Hamlet], sleeping, by a brother’s hand, Of life, of crown, of queen at once dispatched” (1.5.81-82). The throne of Denmark motivates King Claudius to slay his own biological brother to succeed King Hamlet’s “crown”. His desire to gain power has overwhelming covered up his moral values. Furthermore, King Claudius’s ambitions are then revealed by himself during his soliloquy to confess his guilt to God. He comments that he is still “possess[ing] of those effects for which [he] did the murder: [his] crown, [his] own ambition, and [his] queen” and wonders, “May one be pardoned and retain th’ offense” …show more content…

It forces people to lose their conscience and focus on their desires rather than others’ betterment. King Claudius, in fact, is confused with his sudden gain of power. He clearly does not know how to correctly use his power, instead his only concentrates on his ambitions. His desires contribute to the suffering of his people, and even the woman he loves, Queen Gertrude. However, he never learn his mistakes and further use his manipulating tactics to secure his throne. King Claudius’s death at the end is a direct consequence of inability to utilize power correctly. If power is used by reprehensible person, then the likelihood of tragedy will increase as

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