I don’t know why people complain about how long Hamlet waits to kill Claudius.
It is worth the wait.
I mean. This line is very satisfying.
Very satisfying indeed.
And by working up all that non-killing energy, Hamlet sort of gets to kill Claudius twice. He gets to stab him AND make him drink poison. He also gets to use all the insults he’s been saying in private about this guy to his FACE and in front of the entire court. It is, sure, a bummer that he has to die, too – but putting that aside, there is no better death for Claudius. If Hamlet had killed him on his knees while trying to pray? Very disappointing. I mean – if you’re really rooting for Hamlet to go ahead and get it done, maybe you hold your breath and want him to run Claudius through with that sword in that moment – but then…even if you’re disappointed then, it makes this payoff all the better. Shakespeare has designed this play, this moment to make us go, “Yeah! Get him! You got him!” If it’s staged well – and by staged well, I mean not just this scene, but the whole play – an audience might cheer here. That’s what we’re going for.