Entry #4 - "King" Claudius, and the Prince of Denmark
Entry #4

Many cases have been flying by my desk recently, and I have hardly had a moment’s rest. My vacation days have all been used up for the next couple of months, so that has been out of the question, but recently I have had a bit of spare time between calls to read up on some unsolved cases. Most cold cases intrigue me, mostly because they’re, well, unsolved. Cases that date back possibly a hundred years ago that have yet to had a definitive answer are my favorites. I recently happened upon one of those cases, but it wasn't quite a hundred years ago. I thought that maybe I could comprehend what may or may not have happened in this..tragic case.
Here are my findings:
In the 1960’s, there was fairly large report of many deaths within a royal household in Denmark. Those among the deceased were:
- King Hamlet I
- Prince Hamlet, son of King Hamlet and heir to the throne
- Claudius, King Hamlet’s brother who replaced him as King
- Queen Gertrude, wife of King Hamlet and King Claudius
- Polonius, Lord Chamberlain to Claudius
- Ophelia, Polonius’ daughter.
- Laertes, Polonius’ son. Brother to Ophelia

Here is what I know so far from the previous investigation of the case:

All of those deceased were not killed at the same time. According to the previously gathered information on this case, the bodies of Prince Hamlet, Claudius, Gertrude, and Laertes were all found in the throne room. Prince Hamlet and Laertes were found wearing fencing gear, both with a large swipe dealt to the backs of their necks. Traces of a strong poison were found in the wounds. Claudius was a mere few feet away, with a gash to his hand (also containing poison), and a large amount of poison also in his digestive system. Polonius’ body had a gunshot wound to the chest, and was stuffed into a closet. He had been dead for a day or so now. Ophelia was already buried in the ground, and supposedly committed suicide. Ophelia’s body was examined, and there were no traces of poison or any physical wounds on her. She had a large amount of water in her body, though, and had most likely drowned.

Out of all the deaths, one survivor was left to tell investigators the truth. Prince Hamlet’s best friend, Horatio, had told the police a long, drawn-out story about how Prince Hamlet suspected Claudius of the death of his father, seeing as he immediately claimed the throne and married his mother. Claudius was also trying to send Hamlet to England to supposedly protect him, which also made him suspicious. Horatio also claims that Hamlet acted very strange and impulsive, almost as if he had gone mad. He frightened his mother and made very crude comments to his love interest, Ophelia. Hamlet had confided in Horatio of his suspicions, and claimed he was visited by the ghost of his father, who insisted that he avenge his death by killing Claudius. Horatio, oddly, also mentioned seeing a specter of some sort that resembled King Hamlet. Hamlet decided he wanted to get a confession out of Claudius before killing him. He held a play in the palace about a dying king and his loving queen who pledges to always love him, and Hamlet, instead of recording the play, seemed to be recording the King and Queen’s reactions. At some point during his footage, he asks the Queen’s opinion of the play.

Horatio also confirmed that there was some sort of confrontation between the Queen and Hamlet, which resulted in Polonius’ shooting. The mirror on the Queen’s closet door was shattered, and blood was found inside. Also, the closet where Polonius was found was just down the hall. Horatio swore that Hamlet would have never purposely shot Polonius, and most likely thought he was Claudius, spying on his conversation with his mother. Hamlet was blamed for the murder, and sent off to England. He returned shortly after claiming his ship was attacked by pirates, and just so happened to arrive during Ophelia’s funeral. At the sight of Ophelia being dead, Hamlet began to act very crazed and screamed about how he loved Ophelia. He and Laertes, Ophelia’s brother, had a brief confrontation, which later resulted in a fencing match inside the palace.

At this point, according to the additional notes provided by whoever was interviewing Horatio, he began to act emotionally, and nearly began to cry. He described how Hamlet and Laertes began to fence, and when Hamlet removed his fencing mask, Laertes swiped his blade across the back of Hamlet’s neck. Offended and enraged, Hamlet chased Laertes around the room and managed to get the blade from him, then returning the swipe in the same location. During that confrontation, the Queen had swooned and fallen to the floor. In her final words, she claimed she had drank poisoned wine. The King ordered for all the doors to be locked, claiming treachery was afoot. After the doors were secured, Laertes had dropped to the floor, admitting to Hamlet that the blade they had been cut with was poisoned, and that they both had little time left. The King ordered for him to be taken away, but he managed to admit that the King was to blame. Hamlet, now with the confession he was looking for, held the King in a corner with the poisoned sword. The King reached out and tried to grab the blade, resulting in being cut and poisoned. Hamlet held him there, and forced him to drink the poisoned wine that had killed the Queen. Claudius did so, and crumpled to the floor, dead.

At this point in the interview, it was noted that Horatio took a moment to sob to himself before continuing. He finished the report by saying Hamlet eventually fell to the floor, dying, and that he held him in his arms as he passed. He considered killing himself, but Hamlet insisted that he stay alive to tell what happened. Hamlet finally passed in Horatio’s arms. After the reports were made, and the bodies cleared away, Prince Hamlet of Denmark was given a soldier’s burial.

After reading through any and all case files I could find, I decided to compose a few basic points of what happened, just to assist in clarifying what exactly happened:

-Claudius killed King Hamlet I, then married the Queen.
-They arranged for a suspicious Prince Hamlet to be sent to England, out of the way.
-Hamlet behaved in an insane fashion, and confronted his mother, resulting in the death of Polonius.
-With her father dead, Ophelia grew mad, and drowned. Suicide or not is not yet determined. (I believe it wasn’t.)
-Hamlet returned from England, and Claudius arranged for Laertes to poison him during a fencing match.
-The Queen drank the poisoned wine, which was a backup plan for killing Hamlet.
-Laertes and Hamlet were both cut by the poisoned blade, and Laertes died first.
-Hamlet, before he died, cut Claudius as well, and forced him to drink the poisoned wine.

This all leads back to how and why Claudius killed King Hamlet in the first place, and whether or not Hamlet was in his right mind during these events. With the only survivor being Horatio, that was the only story that could be looked at. Horatio claimed that Hamlet acted mad at times, but when faced with the question of whether or not Hamlet was faking insanity, Horatio considered it a possibility. I would like to focus mainly on King Claudius, who seems to have been the start to this seemingly unending string of death and tragedy.

My opinion is that Claudius wanted the throne and a queen all to himself, and was extremely jealous of his brother, the King. Claudius, in an envious and dangerous mindset, killed the King and took his queen. Queen Gertrude married Claudius not even a month after her husband’s death, suggesting she knew of the murder and may have even assisted. She knew her son would be devastated and most likely enraged, so she and Claudius decided to send him away, then later have him killed when that plan failed. I believe that Claudius was a very power-hungry individual and Gertrude went along with it after seeing that Claudius obtained his throne so easily. At first she seemed to not care about the welfare of her son, but later on proved that she did in fact care for him by admitting she was poisoned. Poor Hamlet was so confused and angry that he finally ended Claudius’s life, which in my opinion, was a wise move on his part. He was already dying, so he might as well do what he had planned to do from the start. At least he died in his best friend’s arms and was given an honorable burial. This case brought tears to my eyes more than once, and I am glad to have looked into it.
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3 comments

3 Comments

Why would the Queen want her husband murdered though? That's the one point I'm left wondering about.
Hello again Miss Kingsleigh. I believe your theories are quite plausible. Do you plan on performing an investigation to see if you could be right? I believe a mind as brilliant as yours, can find the evidence you would need. I would like to hear how it is you came to these assumptions. I look forward to your reply.
Hello again, friends. I meant to mention that point in my entry. I believe that when Claudius came to Gertrude, he proposed that King Hamlet be killed so that he can have the throne, and Gertrude will have a new King. I also believe that they had a very..intricate..sexual relationship, which could have also played a part in the main plan.

I also plan on digging a bit deeper into the case so that I may confirm many more assumptions on everyone's motives. I may have to contact one or both of you for your advice and opinion on any new evidence I come across.