Every action has an opposite or adverse reaction, depending of the action, the consequence to said action may have a gruesome turn. Such actions regardless of their positive or negative nature, may have an adverse impact on nearby entities. During the play, Hamlet, by William Shakespeare, the soliloquy of “O, my offense is rank it smells to heaven”; displays a significant role in the play’s climatic events of the revenge being enacted upon; Claudius, after viewing a modified version of the play’s events in ‘The Mousetrap’, can be seen praying after discovering that Hamlet had known of the murder that had been committed on the late king. Through a detailed analysis on the soliloquy, Claudius can be characterized as guilty while the audience may perceive him as conflicted in this moment.
In the first section of the text section, the reader can perceive the character Claudius as conflicted to some degree due to the changes he experienced during the soliloquy. During the soliloquy, Claudius admits to his guilt and that his “offense”—being slaughtering his brother, the late king—is so foul that heaven could smell it due to the magnitude of the crime “O, my offence rank, it smells to heaven.” (3.3.36). The “primal eldest curse” is a reference to the bible of the murder of Abel by his brother Cain, which is a heinous deed is there ever were one. In the moment, Claudius is aware of his grievous act and horrid sin. He, Claudius, has proclaimed numerous thoughts of his uncertainty, almost as if he deserves to request for help through a handful of literary techniques. In the passage, Claudius pleas for some prayer to absolve his blood-stained hands; yet, it can be questioned, if there is any prayer that exists to lift such a burden form his name?
In the moment of his confession, Claudius well knows that he wishes to be forgiven for the sin he had committed; he is inclined to pray to God and ask for any form of forgiveness, if there is any. Regardless of this, Claudius admits to his “stronger guilt”, which can refer to what he had gained from the murder of the late king, as far greater than his desire for forgiveness “I am still possess’d/ Of those effects for which I did the murder, / My crown, mine own ambition and my queen” (3.3.53-55). Claudius later asks if there is no room for the act committed to be forgiven. Even if his ‘cursed hand’ were to be, in a literal sense, coated in crimson, is there even an ounce of something to display forgiveness for him or purify the burden and erase the plot for revenge?