After our initial encounter with King Claudius, we have the impression that he is nasty, merciless, and uncaring. But as time goes on, we see that his personality is more nuanced. Act 3 shows Claudius’ character, especially in the way that he regrets what he did.
King Claudius is initially portrayed as the tragedy’s main villain. He is the epitome of numerous vices, including cruelty, incest, sloth, vanity, and dishonesty. Claudius is jealous of his brother, a deserving ruler who is also a contented spouse and father. One day, he kills his sibling by taking advantage of his helplessness. Later, Claudius deftly assumes the persona of a kind guy, although this is really just a scoundrel’s smile. But in one of the sequences, we see a glimpse of his other personality.
He cries out, “O, my offense is rank, it smells to heaven, It has the primal eldest curse upon’t, A brother’s murder,” in Hamlet, act III, scene 3. Even though my inclination is as strong as my will, I cannot pray.
My stronger guilt overcomes my stronger intent, and like a man bound by two obligations, I hesitate where I will first start.
These phrases make Claudius’ capacity for regret clear, which was previously hidden. It is impossible to categorize King Claudius as purely bad in this sense. Instead, we may see that the author has not adequately shown us his other side. He is cruel, has his brother’s blood on his hands, and has done many heinous things.