For what reasons might we agree that in some respects Claudius is a good King?

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Intriguing question. Are you familiar with the term "Machiavellian"? Machiavelli was a Renaissance writer who wrote very realistically about politics at a time when most people were writing idealistically. He wrote about rulers who did what they needed to do to obtain power. (It's more complicated than that, but that's a start.) From a Machiavellian point of view, Claudius can be respected, simply because he did what it was necessary to do to be king. He took the throne. He's efficient. He also speaks well, layering rhetoric over his actions to make them seem appealing. Finally, he tries to follow up on things once they get out of hand—sending Hamlet away, observing things first hand, etc. He's active, rather than passive.

Of course, this all falls apart later on, because no good king wants his kingdom to look like his does in the last act.


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