The Guilt of Claudius Analytical Essay by Nicky

The Guilt of Claudius
An analytical essay on the "Soliloquy of Claudius" in William Shakespeare's "Hamlet".
# 148869 | 1,262 words | 3 sources | MLA | 2011 | US
Published on Nov 10, 2011 in Drama and Theater (English) , Literature (English) , Shakespeare (Hamlet)

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This is an analytical paper exploring the meaning of the soliloquy delivered by Claudius in William Shakespeare's "Hamlet". The soliloquy is a confession to the killing of king Hamlet and, according to the writer, a confession to god. What the writer then goes on to analyze is the confession and the biblical references it may represent. The writer concludes that either character was insufficient to be kind for they lost themselves to greed, lust, and revenge.

The Face of Guilt
A Worthy King?

From the Paper:

"The personality and moral character of Hamlet leads the reader to believe that his thoughtfulness is an obstacle to the quick action that is needed regarding Claudius (Hirsch, Kett, and Trefil, p. 59). This makes him appear to be less worthy to be a strong leader and supports the argument that Claudius appears to be the better person for the job. Mercer supports this idea, "Everything Claudius says asserts an image of an ordered and harmonious society ruled by a politic and judicious King; his whole performance declares that everything is as it should be" (Mercer,1987, p. 137). Mercer adds that his image of "firm but benevolent authority" adds to his villainous nature (Mercer,1987, p. 137). His personality leads everyone to question whether he could have the ability to commit such as villainous act as murder of his own King and brother.
"Claudius puts on a good face when in public, but in Act 3, Scene 3 the audience gets a glimpse into the turmoil that he has been hiding all the time. We get a glimpse that Claudius may not have the inner fortitude to make a good ruler. His weakness is revealed as he faces the fate of his mortal soul and realizes the eternal consequences of what he has done. "The more we find out about this villain the less he seems to have in common with the crazed megalomaniacs and the ruthless Machivels that swagger across the stages of Kyd and Marston" (Mercer,1987, pp. 214-215)."

Sample of Sources Used:

  • Alexander, Peter, ed. William Shakespeare: The Complete Works. London and Glasgow: Collins, 1951. 1 vol.
  • Hirsch, E., Kett, J., and Trefil, J. The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy. 3rd. Ed. Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin Company. 2002. <> Accessed May 30, 2009.
  • Mercer, Peter. Hamlet and the Acting of Revenge. Iona City: University of Iowa Press, 1987.

Cite this Analytical Essay:

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