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

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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

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