Claudius delegates Cornelius and Voltimand to go to Norway. Their task is to deliver a letter where he begs their king for help. As a Denmark King, he is afraid that the war between him and the Norwegian king’s nephew, Prince Fortinbras, may start. The causes of it, however, go back to an old conflict.
The conflict began when the late King Hamlet, killed by Claudius, murdered Fortinbras’ father. The young Prince wanted revenge. It appears that the Norwegian king knew nothing about the conflict. He thought that the war upcoming was against Poland. This is why the issue settled successfully. The Prince abandoned the idea of war with Denmark under his uncle’s pressure. Besides, Claudius promised money to Prince. His guarantees about a safe way through Denmark to Poland helped Fortinbras to channel his anger to Polish.
Courtiers Cornelius and Voltimand, willing to show their loyalty to the king, act as the king’s ambassadors. They demonstrate Claudius’ inability to take actions himself. Instead, he sends someone. His power is in his manipulative deeds and speeches, but his ability to solve the problem deserves attention. He is cautious and wishes peace, though for himself, rather than for the country.
Nevertheless, Claudius has to beg for help. Denmark is not as powerful as it was at the times of old Hamlet. The villains do not stand in awe of the Danish power anymore. Claudius, thus, does not make an impression of a good king.