Do you think Claudius' murder in Hamlet parallels the murder of Abel in the Bible? Explain your position.

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clairewait | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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The comparison of Claudius to Abel is an interesting one and I encourage you to consider your own thoughts and feelings in addition to any you read here.

Though the murder is similar in the fact that it is family killing family and the motives could both be considered vengeful (or revenge), there is such an enormous difference between Claudius and Abel (as in, their characters) and the circumstances surrounding the murders, that I personally would not consider the two stories to be similar.

Abel was killed because Cain was jealous of his brother and the sacrifice he was bringing to God.  At the core, Abel was the better brother in the eyes of God, and for this Cain was angry.  In this story in Genesis, most consider Abel to be a victim and Cain to be an antagonist.

Hamlet is angry at Claudius for an entirely different reason.  Claudius killed Hamlet's father (and then proceeded to arrange Hamlet's death, which resulted in the deaths of many more).  In this cause, Hamlet is the victim and Claudius is the antagonist.  Hamlet killing Claudius seems far more justified than Cain killing Abel, so I would not personally consider these examples to be parallel.

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