Evil is a powerful force. It causes people to become corrupt and to have the ability to corrupt others. If a corrupt leader runs a nation it will coincidentally become corrupt. This is evident in modern society and even fictionally based dramas. An exemplification of this would be William Shakespeares Hamlet. In Hamlet, the most corrupt character is Claudius, the newly appointed king of Denmark. He took the throne on dishonest terms and had to keep playing out that dishonesty to keep himself in that throne. Claudius led to the corruption of all of Denmark. He was a skilled politician and a murderer, two very stereotypical corrupt figures.
This corrupt king was also living a lie, which caused him to feel threatened by his son, who knew a little too much. Evil ruled Claudius life and caused him to be a corrupt person. Corruption is generally associated with power and politics, which is Claudius in a nutshell. This creates great politicians such as him. The political world is ruled by corruption. Almost all politicians either had to use corruption to get into office or to keep their office. This is the same situation with Claudius; he had to use corruption to achieve and hold his political position. He was a very good politician, though. He had most of the kingdom supporting him.
Young Fortinbras, Holding a wear supposal of our worth Or our thinking by our late dear broths death Our state to be disjointed and out of frame, Colleagud with his dream of his advantage, He hath not failed to pester us with message….. (I. ii. 17-21) In giving this little speech, Claudius got the kingdom to forget about the late kings death. He persuaded the people to move on and band together with him against a common threat. This worked and the people blindly followed Claudius.
He was such a good politician that he persuaded two of Hamlets good childhood friends, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, to betray Hamlet … Some little time, so by your companies / To draw him on to pleasures, and to gather / So much as from occasion you may glean… (II. ii. 14-16). Claudius convinces them that it would be in Hamlets best interest if they would spy on him to keep him out of trouble. Claudius was trying to put on a faade that he cared for Hamlet, when in reality he saw him as a threat. As an eloquent politician, Claudius wore many different masks. His false words and image were so overwhelming that it got to the point where he was living a lie. For instance, Claudius was always inquiring about Hamlets wellbeing, when he really did not care about him.
He saw Hamlet as a threat, but pretended to care in order to get closer to Hamlet in order to kill him, just like how he killed King Hamlet. Claudius was living a life of deceit. The player queen states the lie that Claudius is leading through her lines. She said … A second time I kill my husband dead / When second husband kisses me in bed. (III. ii. 207-208). She not only links herself to the murder of her husband, but also her new husband. She alludes to the fact that it is her doing her late husband a grave injustice by having Claudius as her new husband.
As a result of this deceitful life that Claudius lives, he is afraid of his son. Claudius is more worried about what Hamlet knows, and more importantly, what he would tell people. Hamlet acts mad in order to serve justice to his father and to avenge his murder. But Claudius knows that something is causing Hamlets madness and he is determined to find the reason for Hamlets insanity. .. Her father and myself / sob bestow ourselves that seeing unseen, / We may of their encounter frankly judge… (III. i. 35-37). Claudius and Polonius are going to spy on Hamlet to see why he has gone mad.
The King, however, is not concerned for Hamlets wellbeing, but rather with what Hamlet can do to incriminate him. This statement is ironic because the diction such as lawful and frankly judge are opposite of their intentions to essentially incriminate Hamlet. By this time, Hamlet has come to understand Claudius intentions and begins to take his revenge for his father. Hamlet still was not convinced that Claudius was the killer of his father. He waits quite a while before taking any action against him. Hamlet has a band of traveling actors reenact a play which almost exactly resembles the murder of King Hamlet.
He then gathers his family and the upper class to enjoy the play mainly to observe King Claudius reaction to the play. … For I mine eyes will rivet to his face, / And, after, we will both our judgments join / In censure of his seeming. (III. ii. 90-92). Hamlet is talking with the only uncorrupted person in the entire kingdom, Horatio. Hamlet is trying to set Claudius up so that he incriminates himself. It worked; Claudius stands as Hamlet explains the key point in his play. He poisons him i th garden of his estate. His / names Gonzago.
The story is extant and written in / very choice Italian. You shall see anon how the / murderer gets the love of Gonzagos wife. (III. ii. 287-290). At this time Claudius rises, drawing much attention to himself. Hamlet and Horatio are the only people, however, to connect his reaction to the murder in the play. The others think that something is wrong, but do not connect it with the play. After this, Hamlet is sure about the death of his father and begins to plan a way in which to kill his uncle. Also, Claudius realizes that Hamlet knows of the murder and plots against Hamlet.
And can you by no drift of conference / Get from him why he puts on this confusion, / Grating so harshly all his days of quiet / With turbulent and dangerous lunacy? (III. i. 1-4). Claudius knows that Hamlets madness is only a mask to hide his plotting for the revenge of his father. He is always having Hamlet watched because he sees Hamlet as a threat to his life. As Claudius sees it, Hamlet is the only one who knows about the murder. Hamlets dangerous lunacy is a danger only to Claudius, because he does not want Hamlet to tell anyone of the murder. Claudius life is ruled by corruption and all of his malevolent actions are corrupt.
Hamlet knows this and is always trying to test Claudius by inferring to the murder of the king indirectly. When Hamlet does this, Claudius realizes what a grave mistake he has made. How a smart lash that speech doth give my conscience… O heavy Burden! (III. i. 56-62). As a result of a comment regarding Hamlet, Claudius says this aside. He begins to truly grasp what he has done. Hamlet is so upset at the whole situation that he will now let Claudius forget about his wrong doings. O, my offense is rank it smell to heaven; / It hath the primal eldest curse upont / A brothers murder. (III. iii. -42).
This is when the wrath of Hell comes down on Claudius conscience, he truly grasps the evil that he has done. Claudius knows that he is always under the constant watch of God. As he comes to realize what he has done and what the repercussions will be, he decides to pray for his soul. My words fly up, my thoughts remain below; / Words without thoughts never to heaven go. (III. iv. 102-103). Claudius knows that he must truly be sorry in order to be forgiven. He still does not want to stop the corruption, though. It is too late for Claudius. He could not focus on his own soul, only on Hamlet.
As he realizes that there is no hope for him, he decides to plot against Hamlet, once again. Oh heavy deed! / It had been so with us had we been there. / His liberty is full of threats to all… (IV. i. 13-15). Claudius believes Hamlet to be the root of all his problems. It is almost as if he is trying to pass the blame as the first man and woman did in the Garden of Eden, causing the first sin. Claudius believes that if Hamlet were killed or locked away, then all of Denmark would prosper once again. He tries to convince Gertrude, the queen, to agree with his plan to get rid of Hamlet.
O Gertrude, come away! / The sun no sooner shall the mountains touch / But we will ship him hence; and this vile deed / We must with all our majesty and skill / Both countenance and excuse. (IV. i. 29-33). Claudius again uses his great political skills to pit Gertrude against her own son. He is trying to convince her that with Hamlet, all of the problems of the kingdom will leave once he goes. Claudius knows of his deeds and their evilness, yet he does not stop. He still continues to plot against Hamlet. Claudius is too corrupt to ever truly repent.
A corrupt king, who took the throne under false pretenses, led all of Denmark straight into evil. Claudius, the great politician, has the whole kingdom blindly following him and believing that everything is right. The only person still mourning for the late king is Hamlet, who knows that Claudius killed him to get the throne and Gertrude. Claudius was living a lie. Hamlet knew that he had all the power and would constantly allude to the murder of his father almost as if to mock Claudius. Claudius recognizes his corruption, yet still did not repent. He was a corrupt man who corrupted all that surrounded him.