Claudius' Unintentional Confession

Essay by Anonymous UserHigh School, 12th gradeB, October 2007

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Shakespeare's Hamlet contains numerous scenes which entail suspense, drama and many unfolding surprises. This play as a whole primarily demonstrates the difficulty of knowing the truth about other peoplea"their guilt or innocence, their motivations, their feelings, their relative states of sanity or insanity.

The opening of the play begins on a dark winter night as a ghost walks the ramparts of Elsinore Castle in Denmark. Discovered first by a pair of watchmen, then by Horatio, the ghost resembles the recently deceased King Hamlet. After the watchmen and Horatio locate the son of King Hamlet; Prince Hamlet, they begin to explain what they saw. It takes a while of convincing and the next night Prince Hamlet decides to stay out late to see for himself. Horatio is very frightened of the ghost and pleads Hamlet not to meet with the ghost, for he is in fear that Prince Hamlet's Life will be in danger.

Hamlet tries to reassure his good friend Horatio and explains to him that he must go but he appreciates his worry. Prince Hamlet meets the ghost of his father face to face and it speaks to him, the ghost declares threateningly that it is indeed his father's spirit, and that he was murdered by none other than his own brother Claudius. The ghost of King Hamlet then orders Hamlet to seek revenge on the man who stole his throne and married his wife, the ghost then disappears within the night leaving Hamlet with thoughts of Mollon 2 wonder and shock. After the passing of King Hamlet and his brother Claudius inheriting the throne and marring his widow, Queen Gertrude; things were not very pleasant. As any son or daughter might feel, Hamlet was not necessarily fond of his new step-father; in Hamlet's eyes, his Uncle by no means became his father. Although Hamlet had great admiration for his mother, the thought of her getting married again loathed him; and in doing so Hamlet did not attend his Mother's second wedding. Hamlet was determined to follow his father's wishes and begins developing a plan. As time escalated, many characters such as Claudius, Gertrude and Polonius begin to worry about Prince Hamlet erratic behavior and they start to seek for the cause. They go through a few attempts to understand Hamlets actions, but none are completely successful. Hamlet swears Horatio to secrecy about the ghost of King Hamlet, with that being said Horatio understands what is causing Hamlets strange behavior. Finally, the two men gather up a plan to prove if Claudius did in fact murder King Hamlet.

They find out that a group of traveling actors coming to Elsinore, and Hamlet seizes the opportunity to test his uncle's guilt. He had the players delete one original scene from the play to perform the scene Hamlet thought best resembled the murder of how his father was killed by Claudius. Hamlet figures that if Claudius is guilty, he will surely react to this unusual scene. When the moment of the murder arrives in the theater, Claudius leaps up and leaves the room in a frantic. Hamlet and Horatio both agree that that was a sure sign of Claudius's guilt. Hamlet goes to find Claudius to take revenge for his father. Only once he discovers him, he finds him Mollon 3 praying. Hamlet truly believed that if he were to kill Claudius while he was in prayer, it would send Claudius's soul to heaven; Hamlet considers that it would be not enough revenge and decides to wait. Claudius then becomes frightened of Hamlet's madness and fearing for his own safety, he orders that Hamlet be sent to England at once.

This scene becomes one of the most important ones in the play, without this scene Prince Hamlet would have nothing to prove that the ghost of his father, King Hamlet, was speaking the truth. This scene causes other characters to believe that Hamlet is going mad when all he is doing is discovering a plan to fulfill his father's wishes. This scene also affects a later scene in the play. When Hamlet goes to confront his mother in a later scene with regards to his finding about Claudius he begins talking with her in her room then begins to hear noises behind a fabric curtain. Without even giving it a second thought Prince Hamlet draws his sword and stabs who he thinks to be Claudius through the tapestry. Little did Hamlet know that it was Polonius being the curtain, not King Claudius; thus causing Hamlet to be dispatched to England immediately. As the accidental killing of Polonius being the first impacted scene; Ophelia goes mad after finding her father now murdered becomes the second impacted scene. After these few scenes unraveling, the challenge between Prince Hamlet and King Claudius soon begin. This story is not only about a revenge seeking son, but also, the price anyone will pay for honorable truth.