King Claudius is one of the most interesting characters in William Shakespeare's play, Hamlet.

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        King Claudius is one of the most interesting characters in William Shakespeare’s play, Hamlet. He is a man who is always preoccupied with maintaining his own power, rather than protecting his country, Denmark, from danger. Act IV is one of the most significant acts in Hamlet as it shows us how Claudius really thinks. In this act, we get a taste of Claudius’s malevolent taste and his obsession with power. Claudius is thus one of the more significant characters in this act, as this is where we see how his mind works and how he goes to extremes to regain his control over his people and the events that have recently occurred.

        One of the ways that Claudius maintains his power is by using other people to his own advantage, namely Rosencrantz and Guildenstern. Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are two indistinguishable courtiers who obey the Claudius’s every command. Claudius also uses them as his own personal spies, which is another good example of how he uses them to his own advantage. Hamlet reflects upon this in one of the best quotes in the play that properly describe Rosencrantz and Guildenstern:

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Besides, to be demanded a sponge!

… that soaks up the king's countenance, his

rewards, his authorities:

… when he needs what you have

gleaned, it is but squeezing you, and, sponge, you shall

be dry again.

In this quote, Hamlet describes Rosencrantz and Guildenstern as “sponges.” This is quite a good comparison since sponges soak up water and then are re-used once they are squeezed, while Rosencrantz and Guildenstern gather up vital information for the king and then are re-used once their information is shared with the king.

        Another example of how Claudius ...

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