Sociological views of evil in Shakespearean and current society .
"Company, villainous company, has been the spoil of me." This quote in William Shakespeare's play Henry IV (3.3.11) showcases one of the common themes in many of William Shakespeare's plays: the role of the villain. For any storyline to be interesting, it must have some type of dramatic element that keeps the audience intrigued, and providing a villain to induce evil acts throughout the play often satisfies this component. Just as the concept of evil has been around since the beginning of time, the concept of evil's true origin has been contemplated for centuries as well. Although there are numerous theories as to the causes of evil, it seems that many of Shakespeare's villainous characters are cast into that role because of their greed for whatever factor it is that motivates them. However, this view of evil is slightly different than our society's current perspective of evil. There are many examples of this situation in Shakespearean plays; in Hamlet, Prince of Denmark, Claudius commits his evil acts because of his greed for the throne; in Macbeth, Lady Macbeth is so moved by her greed for wealth and power that she forces her husband to commit murder, and in Othello, Moor of Venice, Iago rips apart the lives of innocent people because of his greed for power and attention. .
Shakespeare's timeless play, Hamlet, is a prime example of the origin of evil in most Shakespearean plays. The villain in the play, Claudius, is governed by his unspeakable greed for the throne of Denmark, which results in his responsibility for the majority of evil acts committed throughout the play. This inherent greed pushes Claudius to the very extreme limit of murdering his own brother simply to gain control of the throne, and the amount of greed and evil acts continue to occur throughout the play until Claudius's death. In the beginning of the play, Hamlet returns to Denmark after hearing of his father's death only to find his mother already remarried to Hamlet's uncle, Claudius.