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Essay on Claudius, the Central Antagonist in Shakespeare’s Hamlet

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Claudius, the Central Antagonist in Shakespeare’s Hamlet

An important factor of any fictional story is the antagonist, or a person who conflicts with the protagonist – the “hero” of the story (Encarta). As many have come to the realization already, Claudius is the main antagonist to Shakespeare’s Hamlet. Uncle to Prince Hamlet, King of Denmark and Husband of Gertrude, Claudius is quite a character. Imagine the guilt and anxiety brought about by killing one’s own brother, claiming his kingdom as your own, and then going so far as to marry his widow. These were the crimes of King Claudius of Denmark, and one can see that he was pretty much written to be despised by the reader, a noticeable aspect of Shakespeare’s age-old work. Moreover, many often quickly assume, upon their first reading of the play, that Prince Hamlet ought to kill the king (Goddard).
Though, think of a typical reaction to your father’s murder and the remarriage of your mother to a corrupt and greedy man who claims the title as your uncle; that is not an easy pill to swallow. Goddard even asks the question, “Is...


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