(Hamlet) Claudius

  • Created by: NHow02
  • Created on: 23-04-19 17:34
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  • Claudius
    • As a sinner
      • '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
      • 'a little more than kin and less than kind'
        • Audience takes on Hamlet's view of Claudius as the malcontent
        • Harsh 'k' alliteration creates a bitter effect
        • 'Kind' could mean ancestral connection OR natural order of things
        • Leviticus (rules on incest could determine who was able to inherit property or even become king)
    • As remorseless
      • 'there is no shuffling, there the action lies' (Act 3, Scene 3)
        • 'shuffling' is clumsy/ mortal (suggests Hamlet retains his humanity)
          • 'shuffle off this mortal coil'
            • 'coil' suggests Hamlet is trapped by morals while Claudius has none
            • Machiavellian- 'The Prince' in 1532 (one had to be 'ruthless' to be the best ruler)
        • 'Revenge should have no bounds'
          • Hamlet does have boundaries, while Claudius does not
      • 'bow, stubborn knees' (Act 3, Scene 3)
        • Command 'bow' suggests he's incapable of genuinely good behavior
          • His words are a facade because he fears Hell
          • Reference to Wittenberg = Shakespeare rejected Catholic indulgences
    • As the source of corruption
      • 'draw', 'gather' + 'glean' (Act 2, Scene 2)
        • Knight: 'enmeshed by the chain of casualty'
        • Represents Elizabethan surveillance state (predatory effect)
        • Shakespeare worked in a legal office for a short time
        • 'like a mildewed ear' (Act 3, Scene 4)
          • Fungus-like imagery (obscures/ infects reality)
            • This exemplifies Claudius’ manipulation of language to persuade and distort the truth.
          • Simile refers to Claudius murdering Old Hamlet by pouring poison into his ear
      • 'sick at heart'/'I am the organ'
        • 'unweeded garden'
          • 'incestuous sheets'
            • Sinister sibilance creates a perverse effect
              • Also suggests a secretive affair-like relationship (underlying corruption)
              • Leviticus (rules on incest could determine who was able to inherit property or even become king)
          • Alludes to the Garden of Eden (corruption of paradise)
            • Hyppolyte Taine: 'the story of moral poisoning'
          • Claudius described as a 'serpent' (damned mankind)
        • Claudius presents the 'body' of the state (leads others to corruption)
          • Time of uncertainty as Elizabeth was old and hadn't named her successor
        • Opportunities for direct anatomical dissection were restricted during the Renaissance
          • Shakespeare possibly disagreed with the monopoly on knowledge (totalitarian)
          • 'ripe in my device' (means the same as 'rotten')
            • Play of paradoxes
        • 'like a mildewed ear' (Act 3, Scene 4)
          • Fungus-like imagery (obscures/ infects reality)
            • This exemplifies Claudius’ manipulation of language to persuade and distort the truth.
          • Simile refers to Claudius murdering Old Hamlet by pouring poison into his ear

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