In Shakespeare's Hamlet, how many chances did Hamlet have to kill Claudius? Why didn't Hamlet do it?

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In his play Hamlet, Shakespeare really only gives us one moment prior to the final scene in which Hamlet had an opportunity to kill King Claudius. That moment is in Act III, scene iii, and happens soon after Claudius has seen the play in which his murder is pantomimed.

In Act III, scene iii, Claudius informs Rosencrantz and Guildenstern that he is sending Hamlet to England and they are to supervise him. Claudius's purpose is to have England execute Hamlet. Later in this scene, when Claudius is alone, he delivers a monologue confessing his murder. He also kneels to pray to ask for forgiveness. It's while he is praying that Hamlet happens upon him and, since Claudius is alone and unaware of...

(The entire section contains 363 words.)

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