Hamlet Kingship


Kingship is the quintessential theme in “Shakespeare’s Hamlet”. The play revolves around the idea that the natural order which is controlled by god is omniscient and omnipotent. Claudius is a regicide and a usurper king. He has disrupted the natural order and chaos and suffering of Denmark shows god’s displeasure with Claudius. His crime isn’t merely regicide; it’s also fratricide and an attack on god. Then again, Claudius also demonstrates good qualities in the play and presents himself as an astute man, but this doesn’t make up for him not being divinely appointed which means his rule is destined to become bloody and chaotic. The law of primogeniture states that Hamlet should’ve become king but he lacked the strength, valiance and decisive intuitive ability but only develops this towards the resolution. King Hamlet was picked by god to rule and the affection for which he’s remembered illustrates that he was an effective monarch who gave his kingdom political stability and international importance. Finally, Fortinbras is to become next king of Denmark. His brief appearance suggests he’s a suitable candidate for kingship.

The whole story is centred on the ghost’s instruction to hamlet to “revenge his foul and most unnatural murder”. This shows the belief in the natural order where actions are either in or outside god’s law. Any murder is unnatural but to kill a king is most unnatural because it’s the homicide of god’s chosen. The implicit connection between service of the king and service to god is corollary. In act 3 scene 1, Polonius tells Claudius “I hold my duty as I hold my soul, both to my god and to my gracious king”. In the same scene, Guildenstern tells Claudius that he and Rosencrantz “both obey and here give up ourselves in the full bent to lay our service freely at your feet to be commanded”. However neither of these characters realise they’re addressing a usurper king. Rosencrantz identifies the reason for Denmark’s...