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Claudius is one of the major characters in the tragedy, Hamlet. He plays a very vital role in the development of the play. His role and function is very remarkable. He is the brother to King Hamlet. He is the uncle of Hamlet. He is the criminal character in this play. He has murdered his own brother only for occupying the throne of Denmark. Then he became the King of Denmark.

Claudius is the villain in the play. He is very cunning. He is also suspicious in nature. As a King he is worth. He handles all the problems of his kingdom very skillfully. He is very energetic. He is finely drawn as a polite, wise, and gentle King in all the early scenes. He shows a real anguish at Polonius's death and Ophelia's madness. His words are not of a Shakespearean villain but of a kind-hearted and good King. Having gained his throne and his Queen by the blackest of crimes, he now passionately and really longs for peace and order and all the harmonious decencies of life.

When the tragic incidents close in on him, Claudius is not insensitive. At the end of the scene in the graveyard, he remains in control. He reminds Laertes of his resolution and tells him that the fencing match will take place without delay. In the castle-hall the King goes over the conditions of the match and he watches without show of passion as Hamlet and Laertes fight to death. When he is stabbed he tries to make little of his death, saying "Oh yet defend me, friends, I am but hurt". 

Claudius is not a tragic character in the play. He had a small nature. He was a man of mean appearance and he was also bloated by excessive drinking.

To sum up, we can say that King Claudius is a villain but an important character in the development of the plot of this tragedy. His role and function is praiseworthy.


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