Evolution of Claudius

  • Created by: NHow02
  • Created on: 14-03-19 11:41
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  • Claudius
    • Good King
      • Presented as a good King at the beginning of the play by using 'our' pronouns
      • 'draw', 'gather' + 'glean' (Act 2, Scene 2)
        • Represents Elizabethan surveillance state
        • Wilson Knight: 'he is a good and gentle king, enmeshed by the chain of casualty'
    • Incest
      • 'Hyperion to satyr' (Act 1, Scene 2)
        • Associates previous king with a sun god (heavenly imagery)
        • Satyrs are mythical creatures with insatiable incestuous appetites
        • Satyrs have connotations of the Devil, as he is likened to a goat
      • 'Thy cicatrice looks raw and red'
        • Alliterations shows violence
        • Scar/ deformity seen as sign of Devil/sin
    • Guilt
      • 'frighted by false fire' (Act 3, Scene 2)
        • Alliteration creates a repellent effect (Hamlet sees his sins)
        • Has hellish connotations (Claudius fears for his soul)
        • Hamlet was able to smoke him out
      • 'there is no shuffling, there the action lies' (Act 3, Scene 3)
        • 'shuffling' is clumsy (mortal)
          • Suggests Hamlet retains some goodness because he questions
        • Samuel Johnson: we must pause before we 'can form any rational scheme of action'
      • 'I am guiltless of your father's death' (Act 4, Scene 5)
    • Religion
      • 'bow, stubborn knees' (Act 3, Scene 3)
        • His words are a facade because he fears Hell
        • Command 'bow' suggests he's incapable of genuinely good behavior
        • 'My words fly up, my thoughts remain below' (Act 3, Scene 3)
          • Trying to act good in the eyes of God (Catholic Indulgences)
      • 'my offence is rank, it smells to heaven' (Act 3, Scene 3)
        • He admits that he has contributed to the 'rotten' state of Denmark
        • Idea of miasma, which was believed to spread disease
    • Bad Father
      • 'your father lost a father' (Act 1, Scene 2)
        • Repetition emphasis his insensitivity
        • Cycle of life, just like the cycle of corruption
    • Revenge
      • 'Revenge should have no bounds' (Act 4, Scene 7)
        • Hypocritical
      • 'Where th'offence is, let the great axe fall' (Act 4, Scene 5
        • Ironic - secured his own death sentence
        • Richard Altick: Claudius' 'evil has corrupted the whole kingdom of Denmark'


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