William Shakespeare’s Hamlet is a play full of sorrow and excitement, its full of gore and
incest. The play has a large amount of betrayal and the person supplying most of that is Claudius,
the king and Hamlets uncle. Claudius is cold-hearted, full of hate, and a coward. He is the king
but, the ironic thing about that is he should not be and as Hamlet is the prince, the death of his father
should put him at the throne.
The play starts off with a tense setting, as the guards have seen a ghost that looks like the old
king or Hamlets father who they believed had died of a snake bite. This is the showing of the first
cruel deed Claudius has done, the reader does not know yet but Claudius is the reason that King
Hamlet dies. The reader knows that it is Claudius when Hamlet encounters the ghost and the ghost
tells Hamlet, ‘Thus I was sleeping, by a brothers hand, of life, at crown, of queen, at once
dispatch’d.’;(1) The meaning of the ghost’s quote is that he is telling Hamlet that Claudius killed
him when he was asleep and that he took his crown and his queen. This is the first time the reader
really knows that Claudius is cold-hearted and ruthless.
After Hamlet heard this, he held a play where the murder of his father is reacted in a scene,
that Hamlet himself designed. The purpose of this was to see Claudius’s reaction to the scene to
prove if Claudius is the real murderer or not. After Claudius sees the play he storms out of the stage
scared and surprised. Claudius then prays to heaven for forgiveness of his sins since he knows that
Hamlet has figured out what he has done, he does this so he will not get sent to hell. Claudius says,
‘My words fly up, my thoughts remain below: Words without thoughts never to heaven go.’;(2) He
is praying for forgiveness but he is not sorry, he just doesn’t want to get sent to hell and that is what
the quote is saying, since he is not sorry his words remain below, or on Earth. This further proves
how cold-hearted Claudius is, he has killed his brother, taken his crown, taken his wife, has been
discovered, and he still does not feel guilty at all about what he has done.
Claudius now knows that Hamlet has figured him out and what he has done, so Claudius
plans to send Hamlet away to England with a note for the king of England to have Hamlet killed.
Hamlet on the way to England also figures out this plan of Claudius’s and he returns to Holland on
a pirate ship and Rosencratz and Guilldenstern are the ones that are killed in England. Claudius
again showing his hatred wants Hamlet dead badly and he tells Laertes, the son of Polonius a man
that Hamlet killed earlier in the play, that he and Hamlet will have a jousting match. He then said,
‘When in your motion you are hot and dry, -As make your bouts more violent to have prepar’d him
a chalice fort the nonce, escape your venom’d struck, our purpose may hold there’;(3). Here there
is more of Claudius’s ruthless personality, he is going to have Laertes venom his sword and if by
any chance he does not get Hamlet Claudius will have a cup with poison for Hamlet to drink.
The end is the tragedy of the play, after Gertrude, Hamlets mother, drinks the poison instead
of Hamlet she dies. Then Laertes hits Hamlet with the poisoned sword, both of their swords fall and
Hamlet picks up Laertes’s sword and he hits Laertes with it. Laertes the dies, but before he dies he
tells Hamlet that Claudius is the one behind all this. The way Claudius is a mean cold-hearted
person is the reason why all this tragedy happened. Claudius’s cold-heart and the way he treated
people got what he deserved, a sword in the stomach.
1- William Shakespeare, Hamlet. Page 37
2- William Shakespeare, Hamlet Page 68
3- William Shakespeare, Hamlet Page 86