Hamlet Deep Dive

Hamlet Deep Dive

Feb 5, 2021 Uncategorized by

“Among the surprises in Hamlet is Claudius’ soliloquy in Act III, scene 3, in which Hamlet’s uncle expresses his sense of helpless guilt over his brother’s murder. He speaks of his desire to pray for forgiveness yet acknowledges that none will be forthcoming so long as he retains the crown. Readers of the play- who tend to take Hamlet’s view of Claudius- have often assumed that this merely shows Claudius to still be in the thrall of the sinful desire that (Hamlet believes) had prompted the crime. On this view, Claudius’s prayers are halfhearted, or insincere. And yet his words in the soliloquy give no direct indication of this. Consider this alternative possibility: Claudius might sincerely believe that he owes it to his people (or to Gertrude) to remain king. (See the conversation of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern earlier in the scene.) If that were so, what would be its implications for interpreting the dramatic situation and action of the play? For instance- what light would it cast on Hamlet’s soliloquy in the same scene?” The paper would be trying to find how the play would chance if we thought Claudius was legitimately repentant and responsible

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