The Importance Of Claudius Prayer In Hamlet

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Claudius’ prayer was very important in Hamlet because of the emotional language used and the biblical references with allegories tied into his prayer. This prayer is a very vital part of the play because it is when Claudius admits to killing his brother and the ghost’s insight is proven true. In act three scene three, we see Claudius finding it very difficult to pray because of his lack of guilt and overwhelming guilt which flip-flop back and forth for his brother’s murder. He utters a prayer where he verbally admits to all his crimes and also realizes that he is not ready to give up all that he’s gained from his brother’s death. At first he is reluctant to pray because he still bears the fruit of his crime and is not yet ready to give that…show more content…
Shakespeare opens the scene with “O my offence is rank, it smells to heaven.” This ties in with the inner corruption where in the first three lines of the soliloquy, Claudius admits to the murdering his brother and figures that he cannot bring himself to pray about it because he has limited regret and enjoyed the outcome of his sins. Shakespeare uses a biblical Allusion about Cain and Abel to reveal that the king really did kill his own brother out of jealousy. “Pray can I not.” With Shakespeare’s use of transposition, Claudius admits to not being able to pray even though he so desperately wants to. The line “…Though inclination be as sharp as will” (line 43) follows right after where he is faced with two contrasting decisions. With the use of alliteration and excessive emphasis on the line, Shakespeare stresses Claudius’ commitment to two courses of action. Like many characters in Hamlet, Claudius struggles with finding a balance between emotion and reason. He admits this to himself in lines 46 and 47 that he simply lost control of the situation and cannot figure out what to do. With the question on whether to follow his desires or give it all up for forgiveness and possible peace of mind. In line 50, he wonders whether there’s enough forgiveness to cleanse his soul and make it “white as snow” wanting…show more content…
Claudius finally realizes that what he did was bad and that he is the one at fault. Shakespeare shows the character trapped in his darkness but we the audience can see a small showing of his good soul peering through. Shakespeare also shows that even in his corruption of Claudius’ mind, he is still a God fearing Christian that knows right and wrong. This is obviously shown when Claudius knows that repentance is the right thing to do but because he is so messed up, that part of his evilness is holding him back from doing the right thing. In lines 71 and 72, Shakespeare uses 3 great examples of an apostrophe like “O bosom black as death!” which is also a simile to compare and also address his heart for being dark and lifeless like death. He goes on to finally and for help from the angels and pray for his heart to not only be white as snow but as soft as a new

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