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The Gift of Conviction Hamlet by William Shakespeare is widely regarded as his best work The play is a tragedy about Prince Hamlet and is struggle to gain revenge for his fathers premature death Claudius is the antagonist of the play for he murdered King Hamlet and then married Queen Gertrude soon after to the dismay of Prince Hamlet The plot is structured around Prince Hamlets desire to avenge his fathers murder by killing Claudius the murderer However there is much to say about Claudius a man who would murder his own brother and then marry his dead brothers wife Questions arise that would seek to reveal the conscience of this apparently evil man Is it possible for such a man to feel guilt and conviction for what he has done The answer is yes and lines 36-72 in Act III Scene iii of the play reveal Claudius heart Claudius a man entrapped by his own sins indeed felt true conviction tugging away at his soul The first clue that reveals that Claudius is feeling conviction is a period of guilt and shame Just before Act III Scene iii Prince Hamlet had put on a play of his own craft The play was designed to lure the guilt and conviction out of Claudius so that Hamlet would know without a doubt what his uncle had done This is the first time that the audience sees Claudius openly display his true feelings of guilt He does so in the form of a soliloquy The soliloquy starts with line 36 of Act III Scene iii which says O my offense is rank it smells to heaven Here Claudius is suggesting that his sin is like a foul odor which God in heaven can smell Claudius mentions this because he realizes how terrible his sin is He is now speaking from his heart Claudius goes on to say that It hath the primal eldest curse upont
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