By the end of Act II, of Hamlet, the power struggle between Hamlet and Claudius has heightened. Claudius, the current king of Denmark is constantly on edge. The question comes into play, does Hamlet know of his uncle’s actions prior to taking the throne and his intentions for Hamlet. Hamlet however, is deeply despaired by the sudden death of his father and the incestuous marriage of his mother. The ghost of his father appears to Hamlet, telling him to avenge a murder.
With Hamlet’s negative view of his uncle it is plausible that this “ghost” is just a figment of his imagination, an excuse for Hamlet’s hatred toward his uncle.
So, who has the upper hand at this point? Claudius who has just murdered his brother, is a coward in confrontation, and is insecure with Hamlet being out of his sight, or Hamlet who, in grieving, is approached by a ghost, possibly goes insane, but is still able to carefully plot against the king.
Hamlet is depressed over his father’s death. Throughout the beginning of the play he wears nothing but black. His mother also marries shortly after his father’s death. This changes his outlook on woman. In his soliloquy, “Frailty, thy name is woman,” he contests his mother for being weak. Hamlet sees the ghost of his deceased father dressed in armor.
His father wants Hamlet to avenge the serpent that poisoned him. Hamlet sees the ghost dressed in armor as an omen; even a spirit doesn’t feel safe in Denmark. Hamlet is aware that Claudius is using Rosencrantz and Guildenstern to spy on him. He devises a plot where he is to act mad so that those around him might reveal information about his father’s death. He also, plans to prove Claudius’ guilt through a play in which a nephew kills his uncle. Hamlet views himself as a coward because of his inability to act, but he must way out the consequences if Claudius is truly innocent Hamlet will be persecuted for treason.
Claudius has murdered his brother and married his “sister”. As king he has proved to be a coward in times of war. Claudius chose to write letters to Norway begging the king to halt further action by Fortinbras. Claudius has asked Hamlet to stay in Denmark, so that he could watch over him. He is insecure with his reign; Claudius is fearful that Hamlet could seize the crown from him. He has asked Rosencrantz and Guildenstern to pretend to be friendly to Hamlet to find the source of his madness. By the end of Act II, Hamlet has the upper hand in the power struggle between him and the king.
Claudius is fearful of Hamlet even before Hamlet devises his plan, he will soon be sent over the edge. Hamlet has the most to lose; he cannot approach the kind without evidence because he will be tried for treason. Also, Hamlet is aware of his flaws. He says that the ghost could’ve have been contracted in his mind. Also, by calling himself a coward he is aware that he is procrastinating. Hamlet shows evidence as a leader in his cunning ability to gather information before he acts. He is aware that he is going through hardships and wishes to have concrete evidence, instead of acting out of instinct.
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Power Struggle Between Hamlet and Claudius. (2017, Jan 10). Retrieved from https://studymoose.com/power-struggle-between-hamlet-and-claudius-essay