Claudius Responsible For The Death And Insanity In William Shakespeare's Hamlet

Superior Essays
In William Shakespeare’s tragedy Hamlet, Claudius establishes himself as responsible for the death and destruction of many characters through the heinous act of murdering his brother, King Hamlet. Early in the play, a ghost, who resembles the dead King, appears to Hamlet and tells him the truth about his death. He was in fact murdered by Claudius. Hamlet becomes vengeful and begins to take on an act of lunacy. After Hamlet discovers the truth of his father’s death, his need for revenge escalates and causes a chain of events that influence many of the character’s actions and behaviors all leading back to Claudius. Through the murder of King Hamlet, Claudius sparks something within young Hamlet that causes him to transition from sane …show more content…
Hamlet denying his love for Ophelia commences her emotional instability. When Ophelia approaches Hamlet rejecting his love, for the sake of her father’s wishes and plan to determine the source of Hamlet’s insanity, he replies, “You should not have believed me, for virtue cannot so [inoculate] our old stock but we shall relish of it. I loved you not,” (Shakespeare 3.1. 127-9). She still loves him, yet he is acting as if what they once had meant absolutely nothing to him. The only reason that Hamlet is treating Ophelia this way is because of the act he is putting on in order to fulfill his revenge. If Claudius would not have murdered the King, Hamlet would not be acting insane and Ophelia would not feel worthless. Literary scholar, David Bevington, describes the confrontation between the two, “Ophelia, ignorant of the murder, cannot fathom the sudden and vindictive hostility of one who had professed love to her ‘In honorable fashion’. Passively becoming part of a scheme designed, as far as she can tell, to help Hamlet recover wits, Ophelia instead loses her own,” (20). Ophelia unintentionally becomes a victim of Hamlet’s sudden attack and reaps the outcome. Hamlet’s harsh words spark a downward spiral in Ophelia’s state of mind. Laertes being away worsens Ophelia’s emotional state. Considering Polonius’ loyalty to the King, Laertes has …show more content…
The death of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern becomes inevitable when Hamlet realizes that they are working for Claudius. Hamlet expresses his opinion of the two when he declares, “Ay, Sir, that soaks up the King’s countenance, his rewards, his authorities. But such officers do the King best service in the end. He keeps them like [an ape] an apple in the corner of his jaw, first mouthed, to be last swallowed. When he needs what you have gleaned, it is but squeezing you, and, sponge, you shall be dry again,” (Shakespeare 4.2. 15-21). Hamlet’s once dear friends have now turned on him and lie to and deceit Hamlet in order to get information from him. When Claudius assigns the two to take Hamlet to England, Hamlet, still seeking revenge, manipulates the plan. Hamlet changes the letters asking England to execute Rosencrantz and Guildenstern instead of Hamlet. He has become so involved and obsessed with the idea of killing Claudius that he willingly gets his close friends killed because they chose Claudius over him. After Laertes learns of Hamlet’s impulsive murder of his father, he mirrors the desire to avenge his own father’s death. Laertes wanting revenge initiates Claudius’ plan which ends up killing many of the characters. “I am lost in it, my lord. But let him come. It warms the very sickness in my heart That I [shall] live and tell him to his teeth ‘Thus didst thou,’” (Shakespeare

Related Documents

  • Improved Essays

    In William Shakespeare's Hamlet, Laertes claimed, “I am justly kill'd with mine own treachery”. Much like Hamlet, Laertes set himself up for his own destruction. The story began when an apparition of Hamlet’s father appears. Hamlet followed the requests of his father’s ghost to avenge his death. After the encounter with the apparition, Hamlet’s entire motive in life changed, and his every decision is then lead by revenge.…

    • 1247 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Great Essays

    In the article, “Fathers and Sons in Hamlet” (Rasmussen), Rasmussen states, “Hamlet avenges the murder of his father by killing Claudius - an action which is reflected both in a subplot (Laertes avenging the murder of his father, Polonius, by killing Hamlet).” As Hamlet seeks revenge upon King Claudius, Laertes plots the future murder of Hamlet. The subplot presented in “Hamlet” attains a chain of events in which a son enacts revenge upon the murder of their father. Laertes does not only want revenge for the murder of his father, but also for the insanity of his sister caused by the death of their father. Laetes vows to avenge both the death of his father and the death of his sister (suicide caused by her insanity). In the occurrence of these events Hamlet is in England, where he has been sent by his mother and uncle to recover from his insanity.…

    • 1514 Words
    • 6 Pages
    Great Essays
  • Improved Essays

    In the play, Hamlet greatly suffers from his father’s death. With the idea of reordering his world, Hamlet acts with attempts to seek revenge; however, his efforts lead to major chaos. This is primarily seen with the murders of Polonius and Laertes. Hamlet murders the two innocent men in order to achieve revenge, and retribution for Claudius - the murderer of his father. His “rash and bloody” (III, iv, 26-28) actions demonstrate the chaos that arises from Hamlet 's attempts of reordering his world.…

    • 1162 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    Once Laertes found out his father was dead he wanted to kill his father 's murder. Laertes even said himself in Act 4 Scene 5, “Let come what comes, only I’ll be revenged most thoroughly for my father.” (page 215). His loyalty and madness only makes his revenge more certain and he utilizes them as a stimulation to actually carry out revenge. Additionally, once he sees that Ophelia turned mad and eventually drowns herself because her father was killed by Hamlet and Hamlet has left her, Laertes is motivated to avenge Hamlet. In the complex story of Hamlet, Claudius also seeks revenge.…

    • 728 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    With his father just being murdered by his uncle Claudius and Polonius banning the relationship between him and Ophelia, the only thought running through Hamlet’s mind was anger and revenge. The acts of violence throughout the play comes in three different forms; murder, suicide, and combat. Polonius is unexpectedly murdered, Ophelia goes mad and commits…

    • 1500 Words
    • 6 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    Hamlet Impulsive In Hamlet

    • 1038 Words
    • 5 Pages

    Then I will follow it… Why, what should be the fear… It waves me forth again. I’ll follow it” (Shakespeare 1.4.70-76). Horatio and Marcellus attempt to hold Hamlet back from leaving with the ghost, but Hamlet ultimately breaks free from their grasp and exeunt the scene with the ghost. Another important incident that shows Hamlet’s rashness is when he kills Lord Polonius with alacrity. In this moment, Hamlet believed that he was about to murder his uncle, King Claudius, but in turn accidentally killed Polonius.…

    • 1038 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    Macie johnson Ms. Walter LA 12 1 APR.2016 Hamlet 's Revenge In William Shakespeare’s tragedy Hamlet, multiple characters use revenge causing irrational behaviors. In Hamlet the main character Hamlet is seeking revenge on his uncle for the death of his father. Claudius killed Hamlet 's father because he was jealous of him having the throne and all the power. Claudius took the action of killing Hamlet’s father in secrecy. Hamlet finds out by the ghost of his father.…

    • 1024 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Decent Essays

    Dan adams ms.walter A.C.A 12 3/2916 And You Thought Your Family Reunion Was Bad In William Shakespeare's tragedy Hamlet. Laertes allows his desire for revenge cause him to behave irrationally Throughout the book hamlet many of the characters are consumed with the desire for revenge. Laertes father is killed by hamlet, after he was caught spying on hamlet. Laetes puts up a revolt to make him king. His plan failed when the king told him who killed his dad (hamlet) and trick him to stop his war and kill hamlet.…

    • 431 Words
    • 2 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Improved Essays

    The death Polonius causes him to return home, demanding answers for the crime. Once he is aware that Hamlet has killed him, he wants Hamlet to pay for what he has done. Then, once Ophelia dies, Laertes believes it is due to Hamlet’s insults and actions, so he plans to fight Hamlet as a way of revenge. Laertes seeking vengeance on Hamlet is what drives the plot to its final scene, where the rest of the characters are killed and the kingdom…

    • 754 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    The murder of Polonius caused Ophelia to go insane and drown herself, and the death of Laertes 's sister and father caused him to take action and plan with Claudius to kill Hamlet. While trying to poison Hamlet, Gertrude mistakenly drank the poison meant for Hamlet. Laertes stabbed Hamlet with the poisoned sword and Hamlet returned the favor. Hamlet then killed Claudius by the same poison meant for Hamlet; revenge was the motive that backfired on both Claudius and Hamlet by killing each other and the people they loved. The lesson to be…

    • 1428 Words
    • 6 Pages
    Improved Essays

Related Topics