Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead

Claudius Character Analysis

Hamlet's uncle and nemesis in Shakespeare's play who secretly murdered his own brother (Hamlet's father) and slimily marries his brother's widow Gertrude to assume Denmark's throne. Claudius hires Rosencrantz and Guildenstern to spy on the troublingly deranged Hamlet and to carry out his plot to have Hamlet executed in England. In Stoppard's play, Claudius is an intermittent but sinister and domineering figure whose orders Rosencrantz and Guildenstern accept without knowing how to fulfill them.

Claudius Quotes in Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead

The Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead quotes below are all either spoken by Claudius or refer to Claudius. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Death Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Grove Press edition of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead published in 1967.
Act 3 Quotes

He couldn't even be sure of mixing us up.

Related Characters: Guildenstern (speaker), Claudius
Page Number: 104
Explanation and Analysis:

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Claudius Character Timeline in Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead

The timeline below shows where the character Claudius appears in Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Act 1
Individual Identity Theme Icon
The Absurdity of the World Theme Icon
The Theater Theme Icon
...by a piteously disheveled Hamlet. They're mute. He scrutinizes her face, then sighs. They exit. Claudius and Gertrude enter and Claudius address Rosencrantz and Guildenstern as "Rosencrantz and Guildenstern" and he,... (full context)
Death Theme Icon
Individual Identity Theme Icon
Free Will Theme Icon
The Absurdity of the World Theme Icon
The Theater Theme Icon
Rosencrantz and Guildenstern review Claudius' request, become increasingly perplexed about whether and how to take action, but stay in place.... (full context)
Act 2
Individual Identity Theme Icon
Free Will Theme Icon
The Theater Theme Icon
At once, Claudius, Gertrude, Polonius, and Ophelia enter, behind Rosencrantz upstage. Claudius takes Rosencrantz by the elbow and... (full context)
The Absurdity of the World Theme Icon
The Theater Theme Icon
Claudius and Polonius enter and lift Ophelia to her feet. The Tragedians leap back and incline... (full context)
Death Theme Icon
Free Will Theme Icon
The Theater Theme Icon
Before Rosencrantz can protest, Claudius calls Guildenstern's name from offstage. Claudius and Gertrude enter. Claudius explains that Hamlet has killed... (full context)
Free Will Theme Icon
...The three approach one side of the stage and Hamlet bows, presumably towards an approaching Claudius. Rosencrantz and Guildenstern follow and while they're deep in their bows, Hamlet turns and exits... (full context)
Act 3
Individual Identity Theme Icon
Guildenstern asks Rosencrantz how much money Claudius gave him and Rosencrantz insists "the same as you" then asks Guildenstern how much Claudius... (full context)
Individual Identity Theme Icon
The Theater Theme Icon
...that they have nothing, and Guildenstern reminds him that they're en route to England on Claudius' order, all the particulars of which Rosencrantz has forgotten. Rosencrantz asks Guildenstern about the letter... (full context)
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...it's a list of all their assumptions: the direction of the ship, the fact that Claudius paid them equally, the idea that they don't know what's in the letter and that... (full context)
Death Theme Icon
The Absurdity of the World Theme Icon
The Theater Theme Icon
...and Guildenstern that they had to hide in the barrels to escape as stowaways after Claudius was offended by their play and stopped it. They couldn't pay their way as no... (full context)
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The Absurdity of the World Theme Icon
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...repeats. They move off and converse among themselves in fragments recounting the Player's situation: offending Claudius, dodging arrest, meeting Rosencrantz and Guildenstern taking Hamlet to England, etc. Rosencrantz, indignant, complains that... (full context)
Death Theme Icon
The Theater Theme Icon
"Immediately" the entire stage lights up and reveals the corpses of Claudius, Gertrude, Laertes, and Hamlet sprawled in court as in the last scene of Hamlet. The... (full context)