Claudius And Hamlet Essay Research Paper Claudius
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Claudius And Hamlet Essay, Research Paper
Claudius & A ; Hamlet, would the inhumane and ill character delight measure forth.Upon reading the sampling of & # 8220 ; Hamlet & # 8221 ; unfavorable judgments in John Jump & # 8217 ; s & # 8220 ; Hamlet ( Selections ) & # 8221 ; I disagreed with a few of the critics, but my analysis was the most different from Wilson Knight & # 8217 ; s reading. He labels Hamlet as & # 8220 ; a ill, misanthropic, and inhumane prince & # 8221 ; ( Jump, 124 ) who vitiated a Denmark which was & # 8220 ; one of healthy and robust life, good-nature, wit, romantic strength, and welfare. & # 8221 ; In his book, The Wheel of Fire, he continues this line of idea to reason that Claudius is & # 8220 ; a good and soft male monarch, enmeshed by the concatenation of causality associating him with his offense. And this concatenation he might, possibly, have broken except for Hamlet & # 8221 ; ( Jump, 125 ) .Although Knight & # 8217 ; s positions of Hamlet and Claudius are about the utmost antonym of my reading, I understand how he developed this reading. Hamlet becomes ill and misanthropic after the decease of his male parent, whom he greatly admired, and the headlong remarriage of his female parent to his uncle. Hamlet thinks his male parent was an & # 8220 ; first-class male monarch, & # 8221 ; who loved his female parent so much & # 8220 ; that he may might non beteem the air currents of heaven/ Visit her face to approximately & # 8221 ; ( I, ii, 140-141 ) . However, his female parent mourned for & # 8220 ; a small month & # 8221 ; and so she married a adult male who was & # 8220 ; no more like [ his ] father/ Than [ he ] to Hercules & # 8221 ; ( I, ii, 153-152 ) . These extraordinary events cause him to establish into a province of melancholy and depression in which he desires & # 8220 ; that this excessively excessively solid flesh would run & # 8221 ; ( I, ii, 129 ) . In this melancholy, Hamlet loses becomes disenchanted with life, and to him the universe seems & # 8220 ; weary, stale, level, and unprofitable & # 8221 ; ( I, ii, 133 ) . Later in the most celebrated of his monologue & # 8217 ; s, Hamlet contemplates perpetrating suicide because he is troubled by & # 8220 ; the slings and pointers of hideous luck & # 8221 ; ( III, I, 58 ) . His neutrality for life, and his wants for decease are a definite indicants of Hamlet & # 8217 ; s sickness.Hamlet & # 8217 ; s illness is besides shown through his strong relationship, surrounding on compulsion, with his female parent. Throughout the drama he invariably worries about her, and becomes angry when thought of her relationship with Claudius. In his first monologue, Hamlet becomes enraged when he thinks about her & # 8220 ; incestuous sheet, & # 8221 ; and in defeat he makes the irrational generalisation that, & # 8220 ; Frailty, thy name is adult female! & # 8221 ; ( I, ii, 146 ) . In the cupboard scene, Hamlet treats his female parent cruelly, and he accuses her of being involved in the secret plan to kill his male parent. Once once more, he dwells on her & # 8220 ; enseam & # 8217 ; d bed/ Stew & # 8217 ; vitamin D in corruptness & # 8221 ; ( III, four, 92-93 ) . In his farewell words to Gertrude, Hamlet instructs her to non & # 8220 ; allow the bloat king tempt you once more to his bed. & # 8221 ; ( III, four, 182 ) . He is excessively concerned with his female parent & # 8217 ; s relationship with Claudius, and this is merely a portion of his complex sickness.Wilson Knight besides claims that Hamlet is & # 8220 ; inhumane. & # 8221 ; This is clearly demonstrated through his relationship with the just Ophelia. Hamlet originally professes his love for Ophelia during his trials to her cupboard, and through the love missive which he writes to her. However, during the nunnery scene, when Ophelia tries to return Hamlet & # 8217 ; s gifts, he retorts & # 8220 ; I ne’er gave you nothing, & # 8221 ; ( III, I, 97 ) and he goes on to state her, & # 8220 ; I loved you non & # 8221 ; ( III, I, 119 ) . Subsequently in this scene he tells Ophelia that she should travel to a nunnery. He brutally insults the adult females whom he said he loved, and this greatly disturbs her. During The Mousetrap, Hamlet one time once more has no respect for Ophelia & # 8217 ; s feelings, and he mocks her by seting his caput in her lap and bantering with her. Hamlet is besides responsible for the decease of Ophelia & # 8217 ; s male parent, Polonius. In the cupboard scene, Hamlet misidentify her male parent for the male monarch, and he fatally stabbed him. Gertrude called this & # 8220 ; a roseola and bloody deed & # 8221 ; ( III, three, 27 ) . He subsequently shows that he has no compunction for this inhumane actions when he tells Claudius that Polonius is & # 8220 ; at supper? non where he eats, but where he is eaten & # 8221 ; ( IV, two, 18-20 ) . Hamlet & # 8217 ; s harsh and barbarous intervention of Ophelia and his slaying of her male parent lead to the lunacy which finally overtook her. She became overwrought by Hamlet & # 8217 ; s rejection and the decease of her male parent. This lunacy caused her to perpetrate self-destruction by leaping from the span. Therefore, Hamlet can be held responsible for her decease. If he hadn & # 8217 ; T treated her in such a barbarous mode, her life would non hold ended so soon.Hamlet besides reveals an inhumane and misanthropic side at the sedate scene. When Laertes proclaims his love for Ophelia and his sorrow for her decease, Hamlet rushes from his privacy and leaps into the grave after Laertes. Hamlet abuses Laertes when he states, & # 8220 ; Forty thousand brothers/ Could non, with all their measure of love, / Make up my amount & # 8221 ; ( V, I, 234-236 ) . He is so misanthropic that he doubts that Laertes is sincere, even though there is no cogent evidence that Laertes is non being absolutely honest. His concern for his sister was shown when he gives her brotherlike advice before he goes off. At the funeral when the priest implies that Ophelia should be buried & # 8220 ; in land profane have log & # 8217 ; vitamin D, & # 8221 ; ( V, I, 239 ) Laertes protests, and he claims that Ophelia shall go a & # 8220 ; ministering angel & # 8221 ; ( V, I, 251 ) . Hamlet had no right to doubt Laertes and to dispute him at this clip of great heartache, but Hamlet has become so misanthropic that he has no respects for Laertes, and he intervenes and causes a fight.Wilson Knight besides states that Denmark was topographic point of & # 8220 ; healthy and robust life, good-nature, temper, romantic strength, and public assistance & # 8221 ; ( Jump, 125 ) . The two buffoons of act five, scene one show the general public assistance of the province. The buffoons, as in most Shakespearian dramas, are symbols of the common people of the land. When we foremost encounter the buffoons they are discoursing the fortunes of Ophelia & # 8217 ; s decease, but they shortly begin to jest with each other in a gay manner, and the First Clown tells the Second Clown a gag. Later in the scene, the First Clown engages into his work and he sings an amusing vocal. This indicates that the common people are comparatively satisfied, and they are in the place where they can appreciate wit and happen some enjoyment from their lives.Another indicant of the & # 8220 ; good-nature & # 8221 ; of the province is the imbibing usage of Claudius & # 8217 ; tribunal. In his melancholy province, Hamlet can merely see this as something which & # 8220 ; makes [ them ] traduc & # 8217 ; vitamin D and revenue enhancement & # 8217 ; vitamin D of other states & # 8221 ; ( I, iii, 18 ) . However, this usage reveals that the state is comfortable plenty so that they can & # 8220 ; bray out. & # 8221 ; The fact that the people have something to observe shows that at least the tribunal is content with their lives, and they are taking clip to bask the prosperity of Denmark. Possibly this usage was non followed in the times of Old Hamlet because his reign was non every bit comfortable as Claudius & # 8217 ; or possibly the tribunal is more content now that Claudius has the thrown.The reclamation of the imbibing usage may expose a positive side of Claudius & # 8217 ; reign. This fits Knight & # 8217 ; s observation that Claudius is & # 8220 ; a good and soft male monarch & # 8221 ; ( Jump, 125 ) . Claudius is a skilled diplomat who seems to be good liked by his people. His diplomatic accomplishments can be seen in his good relationship with the male monarch of England. They are on such close footings that the British male monarch is willing to host Hamlet for a recovery period. Claudius besides demonstrates his accomplishments through his traffics with Cornelius and Voltimand. He sagely advises them to travel to Norway to negociate peace with Fortinbras. This is in crisp contrast to Old Hamlet who plunged Denamrk into war with Norway. The people are besides instead fond of Norway. Their fancy of Claudius is indicated through the actions of Rosencratz and Guildenstern. Claudius employs them to happen the cause of Hamlet & # 8217 ; s & # 8220 ; fantastic disposition. & # 8221 ; This shows how Claudius is genuinely concerned with his step-son & # 8217 ; s good being. Rosencratz and Guildenstern take an immediate liking to Claudius, and they are & # 8220 ; give up [ themselves ] in the full set, / To put [ their ] services freely at [ his ] pess & # 8221 ; ( II, two, 30-31 ) . This is a clear illustration of how Claudius & # 8217 ; capable support him. Another indicant of the people & # 8217 ; s support of Claudius is that he was elected by the people to go male monarch. Hamlet was the inheritor apparent, but Claudius was elected by the peopl
e. This might be an indication that the people desired a change in the way that the country was governed, so they elected Claudius instead of Old Hamlet’s son. Old Hamlet was also stuck in purgatory, and he was unable to go to heaven “till the foul crimes done in m days of nature/ are burnt and purg’d away” (I, iv, 12-13). This indicates that Old Hamlet may not have been as pure as the reader is led to believe, and perhaps Claudius truly was the better king.Although I see the validity of Wilson Knight’s interpretation of the play, I disagree with his views. Hamlet is not the “sick, cynical, and inhumane prince” which Knight describes. His sadness is great, but under the circumstances it is not excessive. His father, who he looked up to was recently killed, and his mother married his uncle within a month. To add to his troubles, he receives a visit from the ghost of his father which urges him to “revenge [Claudius’] foul and most unnatural murder” (I, V, 24) of old Hamlet. It is only logical that under these circumstances, Hamlet would be under great duress, and it would not be abnormal for him to express grief or appear to be “sick.”Wilson Knight also overlooks the positive sides of Hamlet. At the end of the nunnery scene, Ophelia laments the that “a noble mind is here overthrown:/ The courtier’s, soldier’s, scholar’s eye, tongue, sword” ( III, i, 153-154). Hamlet is the renaissance man who is well rounded in all areas. He has a tremendous acting abilities, and he is a scholar who analyzes everything and is very philosophical, as was shown in his assessment of life in the “To be, or not to be” soliloquy. Hamlet’s philosophical side is also brought to light in the prayer scene. At this point he has the opportunity to kill Claudius while he is attempting to repent. However, Hamlet does not take action because he desires kill Claudius “when he is drunk asleep, or in his rage/ Or in the incestuous pleasure of his bed,” so that “his soul will be as damn’d and black/ As hell, whereto it goes” (III, iii, 90-96). Here, Hamlet’s honor code and Christian code are in sharp conflict. If Hamlet did not debate the murder, and he instantly killed Claudius without hesitation, then he would be “sick and inhumane.” However, his contemplation of the ramifications of his actions show that he is thinking clearly, and he has not turned into a sick and cynical prince who is obsessed with revenge.One of the points which Wilson Knight may use to prove his interpretation is the exchange between Ophelia and Hamlet in the nunnery scene. At this point Hamlet is rather cruel to her, but there is “method to his madness.” In the middle of the scene he asks Ophelia, “Where’s your father?” (III, i, 131). This indicates that he has become aware of Polonius’ presence. It is after this point that Hamlet launches his most vicious attack upon Ophelia when he criticizes that she ” jigs, ambles lisps, and “make[s] [her] wantonness [her] ignorance” (III, i, 147). Hamlet is not being “inhumane.” He is cruel to Ophelia because he believes that she is collaborating with Polonius to spy on him, and is trying to deceive Polonius into thinking that he is mad. Knight also claims that he treats Getrude cruelly, but he “must be cruel only to be kind” (III, iv, 178). He is concerned that his mother will die in sin, and be stuck in purgatory along with his true father. In order to prevent this, Hamlet tries to make her see her wrong doings, and the only way to go about this was to act harshly.Another point to counter Knight’s claim that Hamlet is inhumane is the Prince’s relationship with the scholar Horatio. Horatio is Hamlet’s friend from Wittenberg who comes to Elsinore to see Old Hamlet’s funeral. He is a noble stoic who is by far the most pure character in the play. Horatio is one of the few characters who never tries to deceive anyone, and who doesn’t get involved in any crooked plots. Before the Mousetrap, Hamlet calls Horatio “as just a man/ As e’er [his] conversation cop’d withal” (III, ii, 55-56). This connection between Hamlet and Horatio is so strong that at the end of the play when Hamlet is dying, Horatio is moved to attempt suicide because he is “more an antique Roman than a Dane” (V, ii, 345). The strong connection between Horatio and Hamlet is important because the pure and wise Horatio would not associate himself with a “a sick, cynical, and inhumane prince.” This is further evidence which casts doubt upon Knight’s analysis of Hamlet.Wilson Knight also suggests that the state of Denmark is “one of healthy and robust life, good-nature, humor, romantic strength, and welfare.” (Jump, 125). However, there are a great deal of textual evidence which indicates that this is an incorrect conclusion. When Bernardo and Francisco are keeping guard, Francisco notes that “tis bitter cold,/ And I am sick at heart” (I, i, 7-8). The guards are representative of the common people of Denmark, and his comment can be interpreted that the entire state of Denmark is sick at heart due to the recent death of Old Hamlet and Claudius’ ascension to the thrown. Upon seeing the ghost of Old Hamlet, Horatio comments, “This bodes some strange eruption to our state” (I, i, 69). Even the scholar who was hesitant to believe in ghosts is now convinced that Denmark is headed for trouble. After the ghost makes his second appearance, Marcellus notes, “Something is rotten in the state of Denmark” (I, iv, 90). Theses observations in the first act are clear indications that Denmark has transformed into a state of chaos.The most glaring weakness of Wilson Knight’s interpretation of Hamlet is his conclusion that Claudius is “a good and gentle king, enmeshed by the chain of causality linking him with his crime” (Jump, 125). Knight dismisses the murder of Old Hamlet too easily. As John Jump states, “Claudius was no impulsive offender, suddenly acting our of character. He deliberately and treacherously poisoned his mistress’s husband, a man who was his brother and his king” (Jump, 125). Claudius is saddled with the responsibility for the murder of Old Hamlet, but he does not even consider repenting until the he realizes that Hamlet is planning to seek revenge. However, when he thinks about repent, he wonders “May one be pardon’d and retain the offence?” (III, iii, 67). Claudius sees the benefits of repenting, yet he does not want to give up the prizes of his sin. Ultimately, Claudius rises and his “thoughts remain below” even though his “words fly up” (III, iii, 98-99). The King is unable to repent because his prayers are insincere. Is this a good and gentle king?Not only is Claudius unable to repent, but throughout the play he is extremely manipulative of many of the other characters. When Laertes challenges that Claudius is responsible for the madness of his sister and the death of his father, Claudius deftly avoids the situation, and he forms an alliance with Laertes. Claudius suggests that Laertes uses, “A sword unbated, and, in a pass of practice/ Requite [Hamlet] for your father” (IV, vii, 137-138). Cladius further thickens the plot by adding that he will prepare a “chalice for the nonce, where on but sipping/ If he by chance escapes [Laertes’] venom’d stuck,/ [their] purpose may hold there” (IV, vii, 159-161). Claudius engineers this vicious plot, and it results in the death of Laertes, Hamlet, and Gertrude. During his reign the “kind and gentle” King concocted a plot which resulted in the death of three members of the Danish royalty, he murdered his brother, the former King of Denmark, and entered into an incestuous relationship with his brothers wife.While constructing Wilson Knight’s argument, I gained a full understanding of how he derived his interpretation of the play, and I began to support his interpretation. However, as I began to deconstruct his argument, I realized that there are many weaknesses to his interpretation, and I realized the strengths of my interpretation. This is the challenge of literature. It can be interpreted in so many different manners, and at times the vastly different interpretations can greatly confuse students. It is the students responsibility to take criticisms into consideration, but to derive their own unique interpretation based upon their studies.