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Word Count: 2,140
Claudius is one of the most important characters in Hamlet He is the current king of Denmark murdering his own brother and marrying his stepsister to claim the ultimate achievement the throne Hamlet finds out early in the play when the Ghost of his father tells him The serpent that did sting thy fathers life Now wears his crown As the play develops Claudius becomes quite disturbed by Hamlets madness fanatically spying on him and devising various plots to ascertain his motivations at one point asking Hamlets old friends to spy on him so by your companies gather So much as from occasion you may glean asking them to gather information on his madness from talking to them When it becomes obvious to Claudius that Hamlet knows of his crime Claudius plots repeatedly to have him killed which in the end leads to his own demise He is regarded as the villain of the play Hamlets antagonist yet he is similar in character to Hamlet in many ways Claudius is thoughtful and pointedly acts early on in the play Later he resorts to more varied methods measures extravagant and somewhat bizarre means of spying on Hamlet and ultimately ending his life The first scene in which Claudius is included is Act I Scene II It is set in the royal court of Denmark the public viewing place of royalty and their observers The way in which Claudius behaves in this scene compared to more private scenes later can be used to create a theory of a public and private side to Claudius His words show deep political intelligence and reveal his most important personality traits in the play his seeming obsession with espionage and spying on Hamlet his manipulation and handling of certain characters and his feelings for his Queen As the scene develops Claudius turns to Prince Hamlet who continues to grieve for his father and questions him regarding his
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