Claudius’ guilt in Hamlet Shakespeare is developed throughout the play. Initially, Claudius appears to be a caring husband and brother, mourning Hamlet’s death and trying to make things right. However, as the play progresses, it becomes clear that Claudius is actually responsible for Hamlet’s death. Claudius tries to cover up his guilt by pretending to be Hamlet’s friend and acting innocent, but he is ultimately revealed as a fraud.
Claudius’ guilt is most obvious in his interactions with Hamlet. Early in the play, Hamlet senses that something is wrong and confronts Claudius about it. Claudius tries to deflect Hamlet’s accusations, but Hamlet is not fooled. Hamlet knows that Claudius killed his father and he is determined to get revenge.
Claudius’ guilt also affects his relationships with other characters. For example, Claudius is worried about Gertrude’s reaction when she finds out the truth about Hamlet’s death. He also has a difficult time trusting anyone, because he knows that they could all be working against him.
Ultimately, Claudius’ guilt leads to his downfall. He is unable to keep up the act any longer and Hamlet ultimately catches him in the act. Claudius confesses to his crimes and dies a repentant man.
In the first three acts of Hamlet, King Claudius goes through a subtle but clear change in personality. Claudius begins his play as the newly coronated king of Denmark. King Hamlet was poisoned by his brother, Claudius, while he slept. However, because everyone knew that the king died from a snakebite in the garden, no one knew about the murder that had just occurred, making it an ideal crime. The only issue that Claudius must address now is his conscience.
Hamlet, son of the late king Hamlet and brother to the new queen Gertrude, is suspicious of his uncle from the beginning. Hamlet constantly questions Claudius about his involvement in the death of his father, but Claudius always manages to divert Hamlet’s attention.
This changes in the third act when Hamlet finally has concrete evidence that Claudius was responsible for his father’s death. In a soliloquy, Hamlet reveals to the audience that he has found out how his father was killed and by whom. Hamlet also finds out that his mother Gertrude has been sleeping with Claudius while she was still married to Hamlet’s father.
Hamlet is so distraught by this information that he decides to kill Claudius. Hamlet’s guilt over his father’s death and the knowledge that his mother has been unfaithful to her husband drive him to insanity. In the end, Hamlet kills Claudius but only after making sure that he suffers first.
Claudius is not a terrible king, as shown by his management of the conflict between Young Fortinbras and Denmark, but he isn’t very loved by his subjects, and he’s reinstated the obnoxious habit of firing the cannons when the king takes a sip. Claudius has no guilt here. After Hamlet’s ghost tells him to avenge his father’s death, Hamlet has a cause to despise Claudius. There is definitely conflict between them from this point forward in the play.
Hamlet openly mocks Claudius and calls him out on his wrong doings. Hamlet also dwells on the fact that Gertrude married her brother-in-law only two months after Hamlet’s father’s death, which would have been extremely difficult for Hamlet to get over.
Claudius begins to feel guilty as Hamlet starts to piece everything together. He knows that he is going to get caught, so he tries to kill Hamlet, but fails. Hamlet then kills Claudius, making sure that he suffers first. Claudius’ guilt in Hamlet Shakespeare is not as black and white as it may seem at first glance; there are several factors that play into it.
When Claudius offers Hamlet the throne after he dies, Hamlet appears uninterested, as if Denmark’s rule was nothing more than a trifle. Hamlet sinks into a severe melancholy that is interpreted by the king and others as madness. They initially believed Hamlet was in love with Polonius’ daughter Ophelia, but when King Claudius spies on them while they talk, he comes to the conclusion that Hamlet is mad and must be sent to England to be executed. This is an indication of the king’s nervousness regarding Hamlet’s rage directed at him.
Hamlet sees through the king’s ploy and feigns madness even more. Hamlet is not content with simply killing Claudius, he wants him to feel the weight of his guilt and suffer in the process. Hamlet’s anger and desire for revenge are what drive the plot of the play.
Claudius displays several signs of guilt throughout the play. Early on, after Hamlet confronts him about his murder of Hamlet Sr., Claudius tries to pray, but cannot get words out. He also sends Rosencrantz and Guildenstern to spy on Hamlet and check up on him.
This is an indication that Claudius is worried about Hamlet’s state of mind and whether or not he suspects Claudius of being involved in his father’s death. Claudius also tries to get Hamlet to stop dwelling on his father’s death and to move on, but Hamlet is not content with simply forgetting what has happened. Hamlet wants Claudius to feel the weight of his guilt and suffer in the process.
Claudius’ guilt eventually reaches a breaking point and he confesses to Hamlet during their confrontation in Act 5. Hamlet is initially satisfied with this confession, but then realizes that it was too easy for Claudius to admit his guilt and that he may still be trying to manipulate Hamlet.
Hamlet decides not to kill Claudius right away, but instead forces him to live with the knowledge of his crimes and the pain that he has caused. Hamlet’s revenge is not just about killing Claudius, it is also about making him suffer for what he has done. Hamlet is able to get justice for his father and make Claudius pay for his crimes.
The last thing Claudius wants is for Hamlet to be unhappy with him, afraid that Hamlet will overthrow him, discover the crime, or perhaps kill him. The king grows increasingly anxious as time goes by, making him somewhat paranoid about Hamlet. By the start of Act III, Hamlet is nearly prepared to kill Claudius but still needs more evidence that he murdered his father and wishes to postpone murder because he is a coward. Claudius’ composure is rapidly slipping away.
Hamlet knows this, and he uses it to his advantage. Hamlet starts to act crazy on purpose so that Claudius will think that he is not a threat. Hamlet also talks about God a lot, which makes Claudius believe that Hamlet is going to get religion and repent. Claudius starts to feel guilty for what he has done, but he still tries to cover it up. He tells Gertrude that Hamlet is “mad” and needs to be put away. In the end, Claudius’ guilt gets the best of him, and he confesses to Hamlet. Hamlet then kills him.