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Essay/Term paper: Comparison of hamlet and claudius

Essay, term paper, research paper:  Hamlet

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Comparison of Hamlet and Claudius

Relationships are very important today and they where very important in
the past. Each relationship is different, some are good and some are bad. Good
relationships can last a long time and sometimes forever but bad relationships
can end very quickly. In some cases, relationships determine the direction life
will take and they can change everything. Although love and relationships can
sometimes be wonderful and happy, they can sometimes lead to things such as
madness, suicide and depression. This is the case in Hamlet. A comparison of
the love relationship between Ophelia and Hamlet and Gertrude and Claudius, will
illustrate that betrayal, selfishness and lack of love cause the downfall of
these relationships.

There are many examples of betrayal in the play Hamlet. In these
examples betrayal leads to the destruction of relationships. Claudius is the
king of Denmark and he will do anything to stay that way. His wife Gertrude
loves her son Hamlet and Claudius knows that. In order to stay king he must
please Getrude, therefore he pretends to love Hamlet in front of Gertrude but
behind her back, he plots to murder Hamlet. "I will work him To an exploit, now
ripe in my device, under the which he shall not chose but fall. And for his
death no wind of blame shall breathe"1. Gertrude's trust is betrayed by
Claudius at that moment because Gertrude believes that Claudius loves Hamlet,
when in fact, he despises him and wishes death upon him. Claudius is not the
only character that betrays in the play Hamlet. Hamlets makes Ophelia believe
that he loves her for a long time, until one day he tells her things that break
her heart. Because Hamlet suspects that someone is listening to his
conversation with Ophelia, he acts like a mad man and says cruel things to
Ophelia. "Virtue cannot so inoculate our old stock but we shall relish of it.
I loved you not."(III, i, 118-120) All the promises he had made to her before
that day are now broken; he has betrayed her trust. Hamlet and Claudius
betrayed someone that they where supposed to love. Because of this betrayal the
relationships they had ended in a sad tragedy.

Although trust is a major part of a relationship, selfishness is an even
more important part of a relationship. Particularly in the case of Hamlet.
Claudius and Hamlet are both very selfish men. Claudius wants to be the king of
Denmark and he does not care about anything else, not even Gertrude. Claudius
killed Gertrude's husband because he wanted to marry Gertrude and have the
throne for himself. "Anon comes in a fellow, takes off his crown, kisses it,
and pours poison in the KING's ears, and exit." (III, ii, 126). Claudius does
not love Gertrude but yet he will do anything to let her believe that he does
love her, just to be king. Hamlet is also a very selfish man. He has a great
hatred for Claudius and the only thing he thinks about is killing Claudius to
get revenge for the murder of his father. "Haste me to know't, that I, with
wings as swift As meditation or the thoughts of love, may sweep to my revenge."
(I, v, 29-31). Because the only thing on Hamlet's mind is the murder of
Claudius, he does not consider Ophelia's feelings and treats her very poorly.
Hamlet is so caught up, that he even kills Ophelia's father thinking it is
Claudius. Hamlet and Claudius do not care about anybody but themselves. In
order to have a working relationship it is very important to care about other
people and not only yourself, this is why the relationship between Ophelia and
Hamlet and Claudius and Gertrude did not last.

However, selfishness is not the only factor in the downfall of these
relationships. Lack of love also plays a major role. Throughout the play,
Gertrude and Claudius seem to be very much in love, they are constantly kissing
and hugging but when their relationship is observed more closely, it is obvious
that this is not the case. The marriage between Getrude and Claudius takes
place just two months after the death of Gertrudes past husband. Although at
times Claudius seems to love Gertrude, in the final act of the play he proves
that he does not and never did love her. When Gertrude picks up the poisoned
goblet of wine, Claudius knows that she will die if he does not do something but
his only words to prevent her from drinking the poison are, "Gertrude, do not
drink."(V, ii, 272). If he would have said, "Gertrude, it is poison, do not
drink" she would not have died , but he did not love her enough to ruin his
reputation to save her life. Much like Claudius, Hamlet seems to love Gertrude
at the beginning of the play but later on Hamlet accidentally kills Polonius,
Ophelia's father, and feels no remorse for doing so. Soon after Polonius's
death Ophelia goes mad. hamlet does not care at all, he does not even seem to
notice. If Hamlet loved Ophelia he would have tried to help her get through the
hard time she was having, but he did not. A relationship can only be good and
last for a long time if both the parties are in love. Hamlet and Claudius did
not truly love Gertrude and Ophelia and that is the tragic reason for the end of
these relationships.

Although relationships can sometimes be very happy, they can sometimes
becomes failures and fall apart if there is betrayal, lack of love and
selfishness. This is the case in the relationships between Ophelia and Hamlet
and Gertrude and Claudius. Relationships are a very important part of
everybody's life. To keep these relationships from being destroyed there must be
a sense of trust, love and selfishness. It is also important to have other
things in a relationship like, honesty and compassion. Having a good
relationship takes a lot of work and a lot of time, both parties must be willing
to give these things up and sometimes even give up a little part of themselves.


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