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|Kingship in Scandinavia
Written by Sari2
(5/25/2003 6:40 p.m.)
in consequence of the missive, GR: King Claudius, penned by Cheryl
I don't suppose it is really ever explained. Historically, it is quite possible for Claudius to be legal ruler as medieval Scandinavia had elective kingship. It is quite believable for the nobility to vote for seasoned Claudius before untried (and absent?) Hamlet as their king. Shakespeare (or his sources) might have well known that, the transition to inherited kingship happened in Sweden as late as 1544.
Dying Hamlet's endorsing Fortinbras might be seen as an indication of election:
On the other hand Claudius does say that Hamlet is "most immediate to our throne", though that could just mean that he supposedly endorses Hamlet and is grooming him as his successor or that he sees Hamlet as his closest advisor.
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