Essay by PaperNerd ContributorHigh School, 12th grade May 2001

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22. From a novel or play, select a character who is a villain. Then, in an essay, analyze the nature of the character's villainy and show how it enhances meaning in the work.

Hamlet portrays a picture of an evil, selfish, inhumane villain in Claudius who is responsible for the deaths of himself and all of the major characters in the story, with the exception of Horatio, because he killed Hamlet, Sr. Throughout the entire book, Hamlet's attempts to get revenge on Claudius for the murder of his father affect all of the other characters in fatal ways.

Claudius killed King Hamlet because of his own selfish desire to be king and have control. His evil and conniving ways ensured that after his secret murder of his uncle, Cladius would be a respected king whom everyone looked up to and no one suspected. When Hamlet, Jr's father came to him in the form of a ghost, Hamlet went insane and all of his passions and madness went toward getting revenge on Claudius.

One of Hamlet's great outbursts of madness occurred when he murdered Polonius thinking that he was Claudius. His madness became evident to everyone living in Denmark so his mother and stepfather sent him away. Ophelia's reaction to her father's death was much like Hamlet's reaction to his father's death with the exception that Ophelia did not desire revenge. Her insanity drove her to kill herself because of Polonius' death, which resulted from Hamlet's madness over Claudius' killing of his father.

Knowing that Hamlet knows of his crime, Claudius desires to kill Hamlet to prevent word from getting out that he was responsible for the death of the king. Claudius plays this desire off of Laertes' grief and desire to get vengeance on Hamlet for the...