The character of Claudius is expanded and redefined in the course of his appeal for salvation. He seeks redemption for his murderous theft of "queen and crown", precipitated by his own ambition. Yet, even in his search for salvation and in the very midst of his confession, he cannot bring himself to surrender that which he has gaigned in following the path of Cain. In asking: "May one be pardoned and retain th' offence?" Claudius realizes the hipocracy inherent to his quest: he seeks the bauble of inner peace and eternal bliss to add to his cache of pilfered treasures. His capacity for understanding that hipocracy, coupled with his muted show of grief create the only empathy that can be felt for this villain. Despite, and perhaps because of, his intelligence and capacity for articulation Claudius has laid upon himself the chains of his guilt. Chained inescapably to the guilt stemmed from diluted regret, Claudius asks rhetorically: "Is there not rain enough in the sweet heavens to wash it (his guilt, manifested in his brother's blood) as white as snow?" Ultimately, Claudius realizes the futility of a partway confession and concedes himself to complete the course upon which he has placed himself. Through his own lack of drive to make amends, Claudius confirms himself as a villain. Most ironically, while this guilty half prayer progressed to the conclusion of life without repentence and followed by damnation, Hamlet refrained from taking his revenge for fear of killing a soul purged of sin. Tragically, Hamlet's inability to act upon he that accepts his own guilt leads to the downfall of those far less guilty.

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