Why Does Hamlet Hesitate To Kill Claudius

Why does Hamlet hesitate to kill Claudius? Where is it located in the play?

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David Morrison eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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To a large extent, Hamlet's vacillation is expressive of his double role as both a Christian and a Renaissance prince. He seems constantly torn between these two significant aspects of his personality, so much so that his freedom of action is seriously impaired. Hamlet's existential dilemma is encapsulated in act 3, scene 3, when he spies Claudius kneeling at prayer, begging God for forgiveness for his murder of Hamlet's father:

Now might I do it pat, now he is praying;
And now I’ll do’t. And so he goes to heaven;
And so am I revenged. That would be scann’d:
A villain kills my father; and for that,
I, his sole son, do this same villain send
To heaven.

Hamlet's itching to kill Claudius. And this is the perfect opportunity for him to settle scores. He unsheathes his sword, but Hamlet, being Hamlet, changes his mind. His rationale is that killing Claudius while...

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William Delaney eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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mariedinh | Student

Hamlet could of killed the King while praying but he decided not to because if he did so, King Claudius would go straight to heaven.

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