Act 3, Scene 3

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Claudius confesses; Hamlet restrains himself.

Summary

Claudius and Polonius plot some more. Claudius wants to send Hamlet to England immediately, but Polonius tells him that he plans to spy on Hamlet’s conversation with Gertrude. He leaves to do just that. Left alone—or so he thinks—Claudius confesses to his crime and tries to pray for forgiveness. Hamlet, on his way to talk to Gertrude, stumbles upon the scene. He’s tempted to kill Claudius right now--after all, he has proof that the king is a murderer—but he realizes that if he kills him while he’s praying, Claudius will go to heaven, and that’s not what Hamlet wants. He wants to wait to kill him while Claudius is committing a sin—that way Hamlet will know for sure that he will go to hell.

 

Character Interview: Rosencrantz & Guildenstern

MyShakespeare | Hamlet 3.3 Interviews with Hamlet, Polonius, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern