Character Analysis: Hamlet

Power Times Two After reading the play Hamlet by William Shakespeare, many similarities and differences can clearly be drawn between the characters Claudius & Lady Catherine De Bourgh from the book Pride and Prejudice. Both of these characters are looked at as the most powerful in both stories. They tend to scheme selfish plots to keep power but also they have many obvious differences that draw the line between each character. Claudius & Lady Catherine De Bourgh have some obvious differences such as their gender and marital status. One is a male, and married, the other is a widowed female.But some other differences that really make them different from each other is how they use their power and how they accept failure.

In the play Hamlet, Claudius is viewed by readers to be manipulative and sneaky. He uses his power through his actions. For example, in the play, Claudius tells Laertes that Hamlet has murdered his father. The only motive Claudius has for telling this information is so Laertes will seek revenge on Hamlet. Where as in contrast, Lady Catherine De Bourgh is considered to be a blunt and straight forward character. She uses her power through her words.For example when she speaks with Elizabeth about a rumored engagement Lady Catherine says, “My character has ever been celebrated for its sincerity and frankness, and in a cause of such moment as this, I shall certainly not depart from it. ” (Austen 230).

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Another difference that is viewed between both characters is how they accept failure. Both of them are considered to have the leadership role in the stories, also they are both viewed as the antagonist. Most of the time the bad guy tends to fail, the thing that makes them different is accepting their failure.Claudius refuses to accept failure, he takes all necessary recautions, and his plan is thought to be fool proof.

For example when Claudius speaks to Laertes about revenging the death of Laertes father they make a plan. The plan is for Laertes to poison Hamlet while fghting but if this does not work then Hamlet will be invited to drink wine with poison. In the text Claudius speaks of this back up plan by saying, “Therefore this project should have a back or second that might hold if this did blast in proof. ” (Shakespeare 83). In comparison to when Lady Catherine De Bourgh fails, she simply fails.She deals with it and gradually accepts it. Which was the case when Elizabeth and Darcy married, she eventually approved of their marriage. The last example of the differences that Claudius and Lady Catherine both poses are their views on following society rules.

Claudius does not follow societys rules. This is an obvious statement because if he had not committed the crime of murder the book would not have even been written. But his crime was done and to be a family of royalty it is the least bit thought of as following society standards to murder your own brother for personal benefit.This is the main example that Claudius does not follow society rules.

On the other hand Lady Catherine De Burgh feels following society rules is absolutely curtail and necessary. Not only because she appreciates the simple things such as, not speaking to her unless she speaks to them. But a clear example of this is her main goal that her daughter is simple request. This in that society was clearly understood. Lady Catherine believed society rules were supposed to be clearly followed through unlike Claudius. With these character differences there are still many similarities.

These are all quite obvious similarities.Such as being the most powerful people in all of their kingdoms. Claudius is the King of Denmark.

Lady Catherine De Bourgh is the daughter of an earl so she will always have power. Several other similarities are how they are viewed by their village or kingdom, their selfish intents and also their failures. Most of these similarities are the main reasons they are drawn together to be the antagonist of the novels. In Hamlet, and also in Pride and Prejudice both rulers are never really given a description of how their society looks at them. But through interactions it seems that from afar you hear no ill words of them.But to know them and speak with them t is a little more to the person, they are seemed as a little deceitful or ill mannered. For example when Claudius and Polonius have conversations there is more exposure of that character than the rest of society is able to see.

The same goes for when Elizabeth visits Mr. Collins and they dine at Rosings with Lady Catherine. Claudius and Lady Catherine De Bourgh have their fair share of wrongs.

It makes them the characters that they are. They both start out with their desires also known as their selfish intents. Claudius’ selfish intentions were to be the ruler of Denmark.

Lady Catherine’s selfish intentions were for her daughter and nephew to marry. Along with these intentions come the price they will pay to make these things happen. Claudius murdered his own brother for the throne and power. He admits to this in a soliloquy saying “O, my offence is rank, it smells to heaven; It hath the primal eldest curse upon’t, A brother’s murder. ” (Shakespeare 58). Lady Catherine will allow two adults love to be abolished for her personal wants.

Although this abolishment would probably cause some ill feelings toward her from her nephew. They both feel it is hat is best at the time.After the selfish intentions are done and made public then comes the failure.

Although their failure did not amount to similarities they both still failed. Claudius did not get to rule for long, and the time that he did rule he was haunted with the guilt of the crime he had committed. His guilt is evident and reoccurring in his soliloquy, several lines he states “My stronger guilt defeats my strong intent” “But, O, what form of prayer, Can serve my turn? ‘Forgive me my foul murder? ” (Shakespeare 58). It is obvious he was guilty of his actions which leading to is failure.Lady Catherine was not successful in her families’ marriage because Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy did marry.

“Lady Catherine was extremely indignant on the marriage of her nephew… ” (Austen 253) this is a statement from the thoughts Lady Catherine had for her nephew and Elizabeth after learning of their marriage.

In conclusion, in the play Hamlet, Claudius, is a strong, influential character who has wants and intentions that are for his own benefit but they fail. In the book, Pride and Prejudice, Lady Catherine de Bourgh is a bold, honest character who also has wants nd intentions for her own benefit but they fail.These characters poses similarities such as being the most powerful in the readings, and their obvious wants and failures. But they also as stated above have many differences, such as their personalities, and obvious differences such as marital status and sexual status. While reading Hamlet and Pride and Prejudice it should be clear the similarities and Works Cited Austen, Jane. Pride and Prejudice.

New York: W. W. Norton & Company, Inc.

, 2001. Print Shakespeare, William. Hamlet. New York: W. W.

Norton & Company, Inc. , 1992. Print

Author: Wilbert Peters


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