Why Did Hamlet Choose Not To Kill Claudius When He Was Praying?

In Shakespeare’s play, Hamlet desires to take revenge on his uncle Claudius for murdering his father by pouring poison in his ear. He wants to kill Claudius for taking what belonged to his father, the old King Hamlet. When Hamlet finally decides to take action, he stops when he sees Claudius praying. He does not want to kill him while he is repenting for his sins, but rather when he is engaging in immoral activities. He states that if he kills Claudius while he is praying, it would glorify his legacy and dishonor his father’s. However, Hamlet is unaware that Claudius is actually lamenting that his prayers are empty due to his lack of repentance for the pain he has caused. This was a great opportunity for Hamlet to kill Claudius before he kills Polonius, thinking it was Claudius, and before Laertes could kill him.


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