Hamlet Questions and Answers
by William Shakespeare

Hamlet book cover
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In Hamlet, while on his way to see his mother, Hamlet comes across Claudius, who appears to be praying. Why doesn’t Hamlet kill Claudius at this moment? What does this tell us about Hamlet’s character? When does Hamlet say he will kill Claudius and why then?

In Hamlet, Hamlet doesn't kill Claudius at this moment, while he's at prayer, because he's worried that his uncle might go to heaven. This disturbs Hamlet, who wants Claudius to pay for killing his father. This tells us that Hamlet regards himself as a Christian prince. Yet this doesn't sit well with Hamlet's earlier vow to kill Claudius. Hamlet made this vow after the ghost of his father told him how Claudius had murdered him.

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Hamlet is presented with a golden opportunity to kill Claudius: to fulfill, at long last, his overwhelming desire for revenge. Claudius is kneeling in prayer, seemingly wracked with guilt over murdering his brother, Hamlet's father. Hamlet watches from a distance and senses this would be the ideal opportunity to attack and finish off his wicked uncle once and for all.

But once again, Hamlet holds back. Not for the first time in the play, he procrastinates and talks himself out of doing what he's always believed is the right thing...

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