Is Prince Hamlet ambitious for the throne in Hamlet?
He doesn't seem to mention politics much and is more appalled by his mother's marriage to Claudius than to the fact that he is not king. In (II.ii) he's talking to Rosencrantz and Guilderstern about ambition but I don't understand whether he is ambitious or not...
This is a complex question. It seems that Hamlet expected to become king eventually as his father’s heir apparent but that he didn’t expect his father to die so soon. If Hamlet murders Claudius the crime might prevent him from being elected king—and it appears that election is an important matter. Furthermore. Hamlet decides to pretend to be insane. Would the electors want to have a king who was insane and committed regicide? These considerations may be partially responsible for Hamlet’s failure to act decisively. He is the only one who knows Claudius obtained the throne by murdering his brother. He is the only one who understands Claudius’s true character. Hamlet would like to be king eventually, but he has a lot of problems. Another problem has to do with the passionate love-making going on between Claudius and Gertrude. Conceivably Gertrude could have a child, and this could cut Hamlet off from succession regardless of whether that child was a boy or a girl. This may be a reason why Hamlet finds his mother’s behavior so disgusting.