How do things become even more complicated for Hamlet and his family? Consider Acts 4 and 5 of the play.
Up until the "play-within-a-play" that Hamlet has done in the hopes of catching Claudius's guilty conscience, Claudius has no idea that the ghost has come and told Hamlet what Claudius did, and Hamlet doesn't really have much to fear from Claudius. Claudius certainly wants Hamlet's lunacy to be under wraps because it reflects badly on his kingship, but Hamlet is not regarded as a direct threat.
After the play, Claudius realizes that Hamlet DOES know the whole truth, and that completely changes the threat level. Once Hamlet accidentally kills Polonius , the danger to Claudius seems even more imminent. He even comments that "so it would have been with us had we been there." He knows full well that Hamlet is ready to murder to avenge his father's death. What makes the situation complicated for Claudius is that A) Hamlet is well-loved by the people of Denmark and Claudius thinks they will...
(The entire section contains 468 words.)
check Approved by eNotes Editorial