Why Did Claudius Want The Death of Hamlet

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About this sample


Words: 646 |

Page: 1|

4 min read

Published: Jun 14, 2024

Words: 646|Page: 1|4 min read

Published: Jun 14, 2024

In William Shakespeare's renowned tragedy, Hamlet, the character of Claudius, the King of Denmark, plays a significant role in the events that unfold. One of the central questions that arise while analyzing the play is why Claudius wants the death of Hamlet. Throughout the text, the keyword "why does Claudius want to kill Hamlet" is subtly woven into the fabric of the story, leaving readers intrigued and seeking answers. In this essay, we will explore the motivations behind Claudius' desire for Hamlet's demise, delving into various aspects of the play to support our argument. By examining the evidence and analyzing its implications, we will uncover the complexities of Claudius' character and his reasons for wanting to eliminate Hamlet.
To begin understanding why Claudius wants Hamlet dead, we must examine the political aspect of their relationship. As the newly crowned King of Denmark, Claudius fears that Hamlet, as the rightful heir to the throne, poses a threat to his power. This fear is evident in Act I, Scene V, where Claudius expresses his concerns about Hamlet's melancholy behavior, stating, "His father's death and our o'erhasty marriage...are the main motives of our preparations." Here, Claudius acknowledges that Hamlet's grief for his father and suspicion surrounding his mother's hasty marriage could lead to a potential challenge to his authority. By eliminating Hamlet, Claudius seeks to secure his reign and ensure his grip on the throne remains unchallenged.
Another factor that drives Claudius' desire for Hamlet's death is his guilt over the murder of King Hamlet, Hamlet's father. In Act III, Scene III, Claudius reveals his inner turmoil in a soliloquy, stating, "O, my offense is rank, it smells to crown, mine own ambition, and my queen." Claudius is tormented by his conscience, knowing that he has committed a heinous crime to ascend to power. Hamlet serves as a constant reminder of this guilt, as his presence serves as a living testament to Claudius' treachery. By eliminating Hamlet, Claudius hopes to rid himself of this constant reminder and alleviate the burden of his guilt.
Claudius' desire to kill Hamlet is also driven by his ambition to maintain the appearance of a stable and prosperous kingdom. In Act IV, Scene VII, Claudius discusses his concerns with Laertes, stating, "O, yet defend me, friends, I am but hurt." Here, Claudius is referring to Hamlet's growing popularity among the people of Denmark. Hamlet's ability to rally support and garner sympathy for his cause threatens Claudius' reputation and public image. By eliminating Hamlet, Claudius aims to preserve the illusion of a united and content kingdom under his rule.
Furthermore, Claudius' desire to kill Hamlet can also be attributed to his fear of exposure. Throughout the play, Hamlet becomes increasingly suspicious of his uncle's involvement in his father's death. In Act III, Scene II, Hamlet stages a play to probe Claudius' guilt, stating, "The play's the thing wherein I'll catch the conscience of the King." Claudius is aware of Hamlet's investigation and the potential danger it poses to him. By eliminating Hamlet, Claudius hopes to erase any evidence or witnesses that could expose his crimes and threaten his position.
In conclusion, the motivations behind Claudius' desire for Hamlet's death in Shakespeare's play are multifaceted. Through an analysis of the political, guilt-driven, ambitious, and fearful aspects of Claudius' character, we can understand why he seeks to eliminate Hamlet. Claudius fears Hamlet's potential challenge to his authority, is tormented by guilt over his crimes, seeks to maintain the appearance of a stable kingdom, and desires to avoid exposure. By examining these factors, we gain a deeper understanding of the complexities of Claudius' character and the reasons behind his murderous intentions. Ultimately, Claudius' desire for Hamlet's death highlights the themes of power, guilt, ambition, and deception that permeate the play, leaving readers captivated by the intricate web of Shakespeare's tragedy.

'Why Violent Video Games Shouldn't Be Banned'?

Shakespeare, William. Hamlet. Edited by Cyrus Hoy. W. W. Norton & Company, 1996.

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Dr. Charlotte Jacobson

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Why Did Claudius Want the Death of Hamlet. (2024, Jun 14). GradesFixer. Retrieved July 23, 2024, from
“Why Did Claudius Want the Death of Hamlet.” GradesFixer, 14 Jun. 2024,
Why Did Claudius Want the Death of Hamlet. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 23 Jul. 2024].
Why Did Claudius Want the Death of Hamlet [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2024 Jun 14 [cited 2024 Jul 23]. Available from:
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