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An exploration of the ways Shakespeare presents the character Claudius

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Introduction

An exploration of the ways Shakespeare presents the character Claudius From Claudius's first speech the audience gains the impression the character is political and educated. Shakespeare uses metaphorical language to emphasis this. Claudius's first speech in the script is full of metaphorical language, and it shows a manipulating, persuasive character who can convince a kingdom that it was perfectly acceptable for him to marry his brother's wife just a few weeks after his death. It is the language Shakespeare has chosen to give Claudius that can convince others that he is morally correct. He uses imagery of facial features to represent the kingdom as one body. An example of this is 'in one brow of woe,' which refers to the kingdom as all having one joint eyebrow. Again he is giving his opinion and views but insinuates it is what everyone else should be thinking too. The situation Shakespeare has created of the king being married to the wife of his brother who has died, automatically shows the audience that Claudius is an unpleasant, immoral character. This is not allowed according to the Bible and goes against many people's views; this would be more shocking for an Elizabethan audience considering that many more people were religious at that time. ...read more.

Middle

This shows he wants to know and discover if Hamlet knows more than he is letting on. I feel Shakespeare shows Claudius and the other characters all been deceitful as a moral message at the end, as everyone who is deceitful dies leaving just Horatio who was fair to everyone. "Madness in great ones must not unwatched go." Claudius becomes concerned that Hamlet is plotting against him, and he realises that he again is deceitful towards Laertes by using him and his anger at his father's death to kill Hamlet. In act 4 scene 7 Claudius flatters Laertes to save himself from death, "you must put me in your heart for friend" and uses obsequious language to persuade him to kill Hamlet; "a sword unabated, and, in a pass of practise, requite him for your father." He uses political and persuasive language to convince Laertes to attempt to murder Hamlet. The way they plan to kill him is also deceitful as he plans on killing him with an unabated sword to make the fight unfair. Shakespeare uses emotive language in his diction to show just how manipulating Claudius can be. ...read more.

Conclusion

I feel Shakespeare did this to convey to the audience that Claudius can be a cowardly character; this is also shown when it is discovered he murdered his brother whilst he was sleeping, and that he wanted to banish and kill Hamlet through fear. Shakespeare also shows the audience another side to Claudius, the guilty side 'my offence is rank it smells to high heaven.' This shows that Shakespeare wants the audience to see that his character knows what he has done and realises how wrong it truly is. 'My stronger guilt defeats my strong intent.' Again Shakespeare wants to show the audience the character although it is weakened, does still have a conscience. This scene also creates dramatic irony, as he tries to pray but cannot because of the guilt he feels, Hamlet thinks he is praying so doesn't kill him Shakespeare chose to have this build up and this soliloquy to show the dramatic irony and another more guilty more humane side to Claudius. Shakespeare shows the character of Claudius as been a villain, yet he shows other sides to him which have feeling of guilt showing that the character is not entirely bad. Claudius is shown as an ambitious and ruthless king but also as the main source and theme of evil throughout the play. 1688 words ...read more.

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