The Influence Of The Villain In Hamlet

1375 Words 6 Pages
“Well, you need the villain. If you don 't have a villain, the good guy can stay home.” Christoph Waltz was exactly right in saying that without a villain there cannot be a hero. However, without Claudius being labeled as the villain when he murdered Old Hamlet, the emergence of Hamlet as the protagonist would never had occurred. Shakespeare was instrumental in depicting Claudius as the clear antagonist and villain. Throughout the play, Claudius is portrayed as manipulative, lustful for power, and corrupt, which all revolve around the central idea of deceitfulness in Hamlet.

Claudius’s manipulative personality was immediately established in the beginning of the play. Even his rise to power can be attributed to his manipulative plan to
…show more content…
This is why Claudius directly addressed Hamlet and told him in Act 1, scene 2 “Tis sweet and commendable in nature in your nature, Hamlet, to give these mourning duties to your father. But you must know your father lost a father. Tis unmanly grief.” Claudius continues his manipulative behavior throughout the rest of the play as well. Claudius’s ability to essentially persuade someone of lesser status or intelligence allows him to accomplish his goals without having to do them himself. An example of this method of manipulation occurs in Act 4 when Laertes comes crashing into the castle looking to avenge his father’s death. He believes that Claudius was the one that killed his father but Claudius’s ability of persuasion is put to the test. The entire time Claudius is being questioned he calmly answers the questions that Laertes asks. He is able to twist the mind of Laertes into being somewhat allies with him by telling him that Hamlet was the murderer of his father. His manipulative qualities in this scene served Claudius two essential purposes. Not only was his life no …show more content…
Throughout the entire play he acted in ways that were manipulative, lustful, as well as corrupt. These three traits seem like a very stereotypical villain, but Claudius is quite the opposite. He is a very unorthodox villain because all of his actions that were manipulative, lustful, or corrupt all had one thing in common. They all were deceitful. In order for Claudius to stay in power he had to act like a puppet master over people like Laertes. Claudius controls his puppets, such as Laertes, to do his bidding because his actions cannot be traced back to Claudius. His ability to manipulate others around him in order to achieve his lustful goals defines Claudius as nothing other than a truly corrupt villain. Shakespeare’s reasoning for portraying Claudius this way is very specific. Claudius, as the antagonist, is a foil for Hamlet, the protagonist. In other words the portrayal of Claudius as manipulative, lustful, and corrupt contrasts the portrayal of Hamlet as moral, revengeful, and heroic. Claudius served such an important role, not only because he was instrumental in developing the conflict, but, more importantly, his actions were able to highlight the traits of Hamlet that Shakespeare envisioned were the most important to remember. After reading Hamlet, it is easy to analyze the development of the protagonist, Hamlet, but this could not be accomplished without Shakespeare thoroughly establishing Claudius as the

Related Documents