Tragedy reveals the true identity of a person as it draws out one’s deepest inner emotions; this is evident in William Shakespeare’s play, Hamlet. In the play, the newly appointed King and brother of the late King Hamlet, is responsible for the murder of his own brother and Denmark’s beloved ruler. The new King, Claudius, displays several different sides of himself to his audience when all begins to go awry. He now knows that the former King’s son, Hamlet, knows of his murder, his friend Polonius was killed by a seemingly insane Hamlet, and Polonius’ children are losing their sense of sanity and are blaming Claudius for their father’s murder. Within his speech, ...view middle of the document...
Claudius states, “Wherein necessity, of matter beggared, / Will nothing stick our person to arraign/ In ear and ear” (IV, v, 99-101). He worries that Polonius’ children will blame him for the murder of their father, but only a man who is guilty of something similar would be so quick to assume that when people are looking for a killer, all fingers would point towards them. Therefore, his guilty nature reveals to the audience the true feelings of Claudius that the other characters of the play are not aware of.
Although he is a murderer, the new King still shows that he has a caring and sensitive side to not only the audience, but to his wife Gertrude as well. Claudius genuinely feels pain and remorse over the loss of Polonius and sympathizes with Ophelia, Polonius’ daughter, who has gone mad over her father’s death. In his speech, Claudius says, “poor Ophelia/ Divided from herself and her fair judgment” (IV, v, 91-92). It is evident to the audience and to his own wife that Claudius feels a great deal of sorrow for Ophelia, and although he is seen as a villain to his audience, he still has the ability to show real feelings of remorse and sympathy. Secondly, Claudius demonstrates his worry for Polonius’ son, Laertes, who has just returned to Denmark from France and will be learning all about his father’s death through rumours and horrible gossip. This is shown in his speech when he says, “Her brother is in secret come from France, / Feeds on his wonder, keeps himself in clouds, / And wants not buzzers to infect his ear/ With pestilent speeches of his father’s death” (IV, v, 95-98). Claudius worries for Laertes because his mind will be filled with untruthful stories about his father’s death and he does not want Laertes to be even more hurt than what he needs to be. Even the most sinful people still have a conscience and real
human emotions. Claudius demonstrates this to his wife and to his audience when he portrays his sympathy for his late friend’s children.
Almost every political figure in history, even in the time of Shakespeare, has been known to be manipulative and deceiving in one way or another. In this play,...