What is a good quote by Claudius in "Hamlet" that shows that he thrives on power?

Expert Answers info

D. Reynolds eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2016

write9,765 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Social Sciences

But oh, what form of prayer
Can serve my turn, “Forgive me my foul murder”?
That cannot be, since I am still possessed
Of those effects for which I did the murder:
My crown, mine own ambition, and my queen.
May one be pardoned and retain th' offense?
In this passage, Claudius is by himself and trying to pray. He asks himself, what kind of prayer can I of all people make? Can I say 'forgive me for my murder?' He says no, he can't pray that, because he is not willing to give up what he gained from the murder of his brother: his crown, his wife, and the satisfaction of realizing his own ambitions. He asks, rhetorically, meaning he already knows the answer, if one can be forgiven while still holding on to what one sinned to obtain? He knows he can't be forgiven. He thrives too much on the power he now has and isn't the least bit sorry for killing his brother--or presumably, ordering the death of young Hamlet once he arrives in England.
Therefore, Claudius concludes he can't pray: he likes his...

(The entire section contains 3 answers and 765 words.)

Unlock This Answer Now


check Approved by eNotes Editorial

Wallace Field eNotes educator | Certified Educator

briefcaseTeacher (K-12)


calendarEducator since 2016

write6,851 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Arts







check Approved by eNotes Editorial

luannw eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2004

write1,060 answers

starTop subjects are Literature and Math

check Approved by eNotes Editorial