Claudius – Character exploration 

We have just begun our speculative design project on Hamlet by William Shakespeare that will take us to the end of this term. In order to develop our understanding of the themes and characters in the play we are going to explore a character through a group task.

Task

  • Create a video
  • 3 minutes long
  • Based on a prose we have written about our character
  • Prose maximum 500 words
  • A story outside of the given text
  • Delve into character’s personality, motives etc.

Our group had to explore the character Claudius, Hamlet’s Uncle and the newly appointed King of Denmark after Hamlet’s father (his brother) died. 

I thought he’d be an interesting character to explore because he killed King Hamlet and took Gertrude (Hamlet’s mother) for his wife. We wanted to explore his jealous, deceptive character and so we decided to write a prose about his childhood and the sibling rivalry between Claudius and Hamlet. We decided to put a spin on our prequel to ‘Hamlet’ and tell the story of how Hamlet was the bad one who stole Claudius’ true love and position as King making Claudius’ angry and in need of revenge.

We used objects to tell the story…

Claudius – a silver chalice

Gertrude – a teacup

Both similar objects that hold water – symbolising their love and fertility, they are meant to be together

Hamlet (senior) – a wooden painted mask

He is false, hiding behind a mask


I really enjoyed making the video because it was a fun, practical way of exploring the characters. We set a lot of the video in the arboretum park (the castle of Elsinore’s grounds) and spoke the prose over the video whilst the objects were in the shot.

I think next time we do this it would be better to use a good quality camera and perhaps use a wider range of filming locations. However it helped us understand the characters better and use our imagination to explore motives and themes.

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