In Hamlet, how does Claudius manipulate Gertrude, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, Hamlet, and Laertes to achieve his own ends?
Claudius is an inherently devious and manipulative character. Having carefully plotted and schemed his way to the top, he is suddenly confronted by an unexpected problem: Hamlet's desire for revenge, spurred on by the ghost of his murdered father. Claudius needs to use every ounce of his manipulative powers to stop Hamlet from getting any ideas in the direction of acting on his desire. At the very least, he needs to encourage his crestfallen nephew to move on and cease his endless moping around, his "unmanly grief":
'Tis sweet and commendable in your nature, Hamlet,
To give these mourning duties to your father:
But, you must know, your father lost a father;
That father lost, lost his, and the survivor bound
In filial obligation for some term
To do obsequious sorrow: but to persever
In obstinate condolement is a course
Of impious stubbornness (Act I Scene II).
Claudius's whole marriage to Gertrude stands as a testimony to his guile and manipulation. And this little speech, though ostensibly addressed to...
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