In the play “Hamlet” Hamlet and Claudius are related in two ways, Claudius is Hamlet’s uncle and he is also his step-father. There is a fuel between Hamlet and King Claudius; Hamlet is determined to avenge his father’s death and Claudius is resolved to keep his kingdom
Hamlet returns to Denmark to find his uncle, King of Denmark a possession that should be his, and his mother married to his uncle. Immediately Hamlet becomes suspicious of both of them. King Claudius has a get together for his friends, Lords, and attendants, and Hamlet is invited too. Hamlet stands aside and views that situation and as Claudius gives his speech Hamlet is summing up the situation. The very first time Hamlet speaks, granted it is an aside, he expresses his mistrust of his mother and uncle, “A little more than kin, and less than kind” (act 1 Scene II). More importantly, Hamlet should have been king not Claudius; and he mistrusts Claudius’s ascension to the throne.
A feud begins between Hamlet and Claudius; Hamlet’s to avenge his father and Claudius’ to maintain his kingdom. When Hamlet is visited by his father’s ghost it cements his decision to kill Claudius. However, Hamlet hesitates to kill Claudius because he is not sure if the ghost is telling the truth; and he did not want to kill an innocent man. At this juncture one can see that Hamlet is not really an evil person like his uncle. However after he is convinced that his father is murdered he summons up all the fury he could contain and made two unsuccessful attempts to kill Claudius. . Hamlet never thought of killing his mother but he despises her for her union with Claudius and for tarnishing his father’s memory. Hamlet’s personality is interchanging and one could say sometimes weak. This is clearly shown in his most famous soliloquy “To be or not to be.” His weakness is shown in the desire to kill himself, however he shows great strength as he reason away at the futility of killing himself.
Hamlet has more strength than weakness as he cleverly exposes Claudius by putting on the e play, The Mousetrap while he watches Claudius reaction. “To be certain of Claudius’s guilt, Hamlet decides to re-enact the murder of his father with the production of The Murder of Gonzago (known also as the play within the play or The Mousetrap). If Claudius is disturbed by the play it will reveal his guilt. In Hamlet’s words: ‘The play’s the thing/ Wherein I’ll catch the conscience of the king” (2.2.606-07)”’ (Mabillard 2000). The hurt from knowing that Claudius killed his father has harden Hamlet consequently, when Hamlet sees him praying he refuses to kill him just in case he gets forgiveness and go to heaven. Hamlet believes that Claudius is evil and belongs in hell and he would not do anything to prevent him from going there.
There is much to be said about King Claudius. Claudius is drive by one thing, greed. From one character arise many secondary characters. It is greed that drives him to kill his brother and as if that is not enough he takes his wife also. . Claudius knows that the throne should never have been his; therefore, he tries to kill him and to banish him from Denmark. Claudius knows that Hamlet is a threat to him and that he is the rightful heir to the kingdom. . He has no intention of giving up his kingdom. He tries
Claudius is acting; and his ambassadors Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are commissioned to get the Prince to his mother’s bedroom, where Polonius will listen behind the arras according to the plan suggested after the nunnery scene, and where, Claudius no doubt hopes, Hamlet will show himself so dangerous that” (Wilson 1935 240)
Claudius is not going to give up his throne and when his plots do not work he becomes very fearful that Hamlet will overthrow him. He is not leaving anything to chance he must make one last effort to remain king. To do this he encourages Laertes into a duel with Hamlet He poisons both the drink, he hopes Hamlet would drink should he become victorious, and the sword with which Laertes would use to fight. One way or another, Hamlet would die. Claudius has no scruples and he would have killed all of Denmark to keep his throne. In a Prologue to my Brains, Smith says:
He thinks he can over-reach heaven. When he is praying for pardon, he is all the while perfectly determined to keep his crown; and he knows it. When the king is praying for pardon for his first murder he has just made his final arrangements for a second, the murder of Hamlet. But he does not allude to that fact in his prayer (2008).
Unfortunately for Claudius Hamlet dies and so does he.. Claudius gets his wish he dies king of Denmark.
Hamlet and Claudius share the same blood line and they once love the same woman; that is where their similarities end. The moment Claudius allows jealousy into his heart he doomed himself to hell. The underlying lesson Shakespeare is giving here is another evil deed is needed to cover up one evil deed. In the end Claudius loses everything including his kingdom.. .
Mabillard, Amanda. “Introduction to Elizabethan Revenge Tragedy.” . Shakespeare Online web
4 Dec. 2012
Smith, Ray Eston. A Prologue to my Brain: The Conspiracy to Kill Hamlet. Web 24 July, 2005. 4 Dec. 2012.
Wilson, Dover J. (935) What Happens in Hamlet. Macmillian, New York. ,Print