This article discusses Hamlet’s decision not to kill Claudius in Act III, scene ii. The question of why he made this choice has been debated for centuries. We will explore the reasons behind his decision and see if we can come to a conclusion about what Hamlet was thinking at that moment.
All of the reasons behind Hamlet’s decision not to kill Claudius in Act III, scene ii can be found in his soliloquy at this moment. He says that he prefers to wait and see what happens: “Now might I do it pat – now ‘a is a-praying;/And now I’ll don’t.”
He also declares that if heaven did send him an answer through Claudian’s death then he would have done something rash: “I say again, ’tis better as it is” (IV.ii.237).
Hamlet seems fearful of rushing into action when there are other possibilities for answers. When we look at how quickly he made decisions earlier in the play before learning the truth, it is easy to see why he would be more cautious in this situation.
Hamlet’s decision not to kill Claudius reveals what many scholars believe about him: that Hamlet has a strong moral compass and will only act when absolutely necessary—even if his revenge-motivated instincts are telling him otherwise. His soliloquy at the moment of opportunity illustrates how deliberative he was in understanding whether or not killing Claudius would ultimately make things better or worse for himself.
He then takes a deep breath and decides to “proceed no further in this business”.
In the end, Hamlet chooses to let Claudius live. It is not because he could not do it; in fact, his hesitation may only be time enough for him to kill Claudius if that was what he really wanted (IV.ii). The real reason why Hamlet does not choose this option is because of a strong moral compass and deliberation about how killing Claudius would affect himself in future scenes—an action which often makes things worse rather than better.”
The Praying Scene in Hamlet: Why Did Hamlet Choose Not to Kill Claudius? If one were so inclined as to study Shakespeare’s work with an eye towards evidence-based research on “effective persuasive writing strategies” then might find the following:
in act iii of hamlet, why did hamlet choose not to kill Claudius when he was praying?
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there is a strong moral compass and deliberation about how killing Claudius would affect himself in future scenes—and action that often makes things worse rather than better. The Praying Scene in Hamlet: Why Did Hamlet Choose Not to Kill Claudius? The main question that arises out of this scene is whether or not Hamlet should have killed Claudius while he was at prayer. In his soliloquy before entering Polonius’s house, as well as during their conversation after being interrupted by Ophelia (III) Hamlet struggles with this question. One reason for not killing Claudius is that his death would have been a sin of murder, which in Christian society was considered sinful and immoral. Hamlet’s actions are guided by morality and the fear of what will happen if he commits such an act
there is a strong moral compass
deliberation about how killing Claudius would affect himself in future scenes—an action which often makes things worse rather than better
in Christian society, it was seen as sinful to commit murder (hamlets thoughts)
hamlet grapples with whether or not he should kill Claudius while he’s at prayer – considering both the positive and negative consequences
one possible outcome–clauses death could have been seen as a sin in Christian society, which would make hamlet feel guilty
another possible outcome—clauses death could make things worse for him in future scenes
the moral issues he faces are emphasized by his reluctance to kill Claudius while he’s at prayer
one reason that hamlet does not kill Claudius is that it was against Christian morals and there were two outcomes–either killing him would be sinful or it might lead to bad consequences for himself in future scenes.
Hamlet’s thoughts: A strong sense of morality that leads to deliberation about how killing Claudius will affect himself in future scenes – and action that often makes things worse rather than better. Hamlet grapples with the moral issues that he faces and is reluctant to kill Claudius in act iii.
One reason Hamlet does not kill Claudius is that it may be seen as a sin in Christian society, which would make him feel guilty.