Advertisement

‘A King of Shreds and Patches’: Claudius, Clothes, Feelings

  • Lisa HopkinsEmail author
Chapter
Part of the Palgrave Shakespeare Studies book series (PASHST)

Abstract

Claudius is not only the villain of Hamlet but one of Hamlet’s doubles. He is also his own double, because there are two Claudiuses: one whom the court as a whole seems to see, a benign and effective ruler whose legitimacy no other character questions, and the usurper and murderer that Hamlet sees. This essay considers how Claudius appears to different characters, and suggests that the relationship between his varying images sheds light on the play’s pattern of linkings and doublings. While the Ghost wears different costumes in different scenes, Claudius always looks the same, but talks differently to each person he speaks to, thinking himself into their heads. His complexity and emotional intelligence make this his tragedy as well as Hamlet’s.

Bibliography

  1. Armin, Robert. The History of the Two Maids of More-Clacke. Edited by Alexander Liddie. New York: Garland, 1979.Google Scholar
  2. Belsey, Catherine. ‘Shakespeare’s Sad Tale for Winter: Hamlet and the Tradition of Fireside Ghost Stories’. Shakespeare Quarterly 61, no. 1 (Spring 2010): 1–27.Google Scholar
  3. George, David. ‘Hamlet, the Ghost, and a New Document’. Selected Papers of the Ohio Valley Shakespeare Conference 7 (2014): 1–29. http://ideaexchange.uakron.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1041&context=spovsc.
  4. Grazia, Margreta de. Hamlet Without Hamlet. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007.Google Scholar
  5. Maguin, Jean-Marie. ‘Of Ghosts and Spirits Walking by Night: A Joint Examination of the Ghost Scenes in Robert Garnier’s Cornélie, Thomas Kyd’s Cornelia and Shakespeare’s Hamlet in the Light of Reformation Thinking as Presented in Lavater’s Book’. Cahiers Elisabéthains 1 (1972): 25–40.Google Scholar
  6. Marlowe, Christopher. Christopher Marlowe: The Complete Plays. Edited by Mark Thornton Burnett. London: J. M. Dent, 1999.Google Scholar
  7. Murphy, Brett E. ‘Sulphurous and Tormenting Flames: Understanding the Ghost in Hamlet’. Shakespeare in Southern Africa 26 (2014): 117–122.Google Scholar
  8. R. A. The Valiant Welshman. London, 1663.Google Scholar
  9. Shakespeare, William. Hamlet. Edited by Harold Jenkins. London: Methuen, 1982.Google Scholar
  10. Stevens, Catherine. ‘Uncanny Re/flections: Seeing Spectres in Macbeth, Hamlet, and Julius Caesar’. Journal of the Northern Renaissance 3 (2011): 1–30. http://www.northernrenaissance.org/uncanny-reflections-seeing-spectres-in-macbeth-hamlet-and-julius-caesar/.
  11. Suetonius. The Twelve Caesars. Translated by Robert Graves. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1957.Google Scholar
  12. White, R. S. ‘Smiles That Reveal, Smiles That Conceal’. Shakespeare 12, no. 2 (2016): 134–147.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Sheffield Hallam UniversitySheffieldUK

Personalised recommendations