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Denmark and Hamlet - Research Paper Example

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Although England faced external threats especially from pro-catholic uprising or attack plots set by France and Spain, the internal political environment was peaceful and stable. However, the only internal instability emanated from Earl of Essex who unsuccessfully attempted to overthrow the Queen. …
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Denmark and Hamlet
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"Denmark and Hamlet"

Download file to see previous pages Most of the administrative structures were inherited by the Queen’s successor. In the play, Elsinore is facing a grave political unrest.
The popular king Hamlet is dead, and Claudius, his brother is the current king. He has been described as untrustworthy as most characters are blaming him for the murder of the slain king. The political system is in turmoil, with Claudius admitting that the leadership is out of balance (Act I, Scene II). The guardsmen admit that there is unrest and disorganization following the death of King Hamlet. They lament that they are guarding against war that is looming in the near future. The unstable political situation being experienced in Elsinore adds to the stress that Claudius and Hamlet are already experiencing. All the characters in the play are experiencing uncertainty and confusion on the most suitable person to succeed Hamlet. Political problems between Norway and Denmark have been portrayed in the play. The political instability in the play contributes to the creation of unstable mood that is rampant in the play. The manner in which King Hamlet is murdered does not only herald personal instability, but also political instability in Denmark that is facing a possibility of an external attack. This creates tension in the reader’s minds that helps them to compare the political situation in the fictional Elsinore in relation to what is happening in Denmark. Many readers would wonder why Claudius acceded to the throne, whereas Hamlet was supposed to be the one to take over (Wood 90). This is based on the fact that Hamlet was the Prince unlike Claudius who was the brother to King. However, according to Balmer (639-641), the Danish political history proves otherwise. During the Shakespearian time, Denmark was ruled by an elective monarchy which was later replaced by a hereditary monarchy. Therefore, Hamlet, in the fictional account whose setting is based on the legendary Dane on the Middle Ages, had no obligation of claiming the throne as a birth right. In the elective form of rule, the noblemen and court officials selected the person supposed to be the new king. However, the prince was the prime candidate for the elective post and always held a higher stake of being elected the king. This implies that the nobles had the right to reject a prince for the post. This is what happened in Hamlet’s Elsinore when nobles favored Claudius, the king’s brother. This is contrary to the hereditary monarchy where the eldest prince is supposed to automatically inherit the throne once the king dies. Neither Shakespeare nor the Danish laws vividly explain why the noble men decided to favor the King’s brother over the eldest son. However, deep analytical and critical focus of the book can help readers to discern that Claudius’ ascent to power was extraordinary although elected by the nobles (Welsh 125). In Act V, Scene II, 71-72, Hamlet explains to Horatio the reasons why Claudius was elected instead of him, “He that hath killed my king and whored my mother, Popped in between the election and my hopes.” The hope that Hamlet is referring to is the expectation that he is the one morally obligated to be the King and not Claudius. The Danish election (Nobles appointing the King) is again reflected by Hamlet, in his death bed, who alludes that Fortinbras should have been the king, “But I do prophesy the election lights / On Fortinbras: he has my dying voice” (Act V, Scene II, 300-301). This affirms that Claudius ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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