Hamlet - Claudius Vs. Lady Macbeth


Claudius vs. Lady Macbeth

King Claudius of Hamlet and Lady Macbeth of Macbeth exhibit three similar qualities, dishonesty, evilness, and deceitfulness throughout the play; although sometimes they demonstrate these qualities in different ways, these qualities greatly affect the other characters in the plays .
King Claudius and Lady Macbeth are similar in that they both let their crave of power and desire for the crown drive them to deceitfulness, corruption, and even murder, to obtain it. King Claudius and Lady Macbeth are so greedy for wealth and power that they will let nothing get in their way, even if it means deceiving the ones they love. King Claudius was in love with his brother?s wife and desired his position as king. In order to obtain these things he went behind Gertrude, his lover?s, back and murdered her husband. Shortly after, he married her and took the crown. Not only was this extremely deceitful to Gertrude, but it hurt Hamlet, his nephew, extremely. Lady Macbeth was indeed as power hungry as Claudius, and she too plotted a murder in order for her husband to obtain the crown. In doing this she was extremely deceitful of her lover also. She employed many conniving tricks in order to convince Macbeth to kill King Duncan, such as in scene in Act I, scene seven when she says, ?From this time such I account thy love.? Here she is basically saying that Macbeth may prove his undying love for her by killing the king, thus causing him to feel that he is obligated to murder King Duncan. King Claudius and Lady Macbeth are also very good at disguising their deceit. In Hamlet, only Hamlet himself is aware of the true nature of Claudius. All others, including his Wife and subjects, think he is a wonderful and innocent King. Lady Macbeth is the same in that she puts up a wonderful facade for both the public and her husband. Although she is planning a murder Lady Macbeth manages to still act as a smiling, gracious hostess. Lady Macbeth's house guests and King Duncan, whom she intends to kill, even refer to her as their ?honour?d hostess,? in Act I, scene six. Her husband is also fooled by her charade and is unable to see her evil intent as she cons him into killing the king. Lady Macbeth keeps this facade until the end of the play when her trapped feelings finally drive her mad. Another thing these two characters have in common is that in the end their deceit leads to their destruction. Claudius?s past of murder, lies, and betrayal are all revealed in the end of the play by Hamlet. Ironically, Hamlet then kills the King with the very sword and poison cup that were meant to kill himself. Lady Macbeth?s life is also brought to a horrible end as a direct result of the immense guilt that she battles inside herself. She begins to have fits of madness such as in Act V, scene one when she babbles to herself, ?What?s done cannot be undone.? This realization drives her crazy and eventually kills her.
Although these two characters are deceitful, corrupt, and evil, these traits are sometimes exhibited in different ways and for different reasons. Both Claudius and Lady Macbeth wanted the crown, but they wanted it for different reasons. Lady Macbeth wanted her husband to have the crown for purely selfish reasons. She wanted to have the honor and fame of being a Queen. In act I, scene five she says, ? And chastise with the valour of my tongue all that impedes thee from the golden round.? Here she shows her selfishness as she hopes that she may be able to rid her husband of his scruples of conscience and gentleness of nature so that he may be able to kill the king. Claudius had another motive behind him killing his brother, he was deeply in love with the Queen, his brother?s wife. Therefore, he killed not only for the crown itself, but for love too. Another difference in the ways that they exhibited there evil deceitfulness is in the way that they murdered the Kings. King Claudius handled the whole affair by himself and in fact, he actually did the deed. Lady Macbeth was so selfish that she couldn?t even do it herself in