In 3.3, Hamlet’s play-within-a-play does cause the king to “proclaim” his “malefactions” (2.2)—but in his private chapel rather than publicly in front of the court. Torn between repenting (“O limed soul”) or retaining “those effects for which I did the murder”, Claudius feels “like a man to double business bound.”
The man who he is like is, of course, Hamlet. The prince’s twin purpose now reveals itself (“Up, sword… My mother stays”): to first rescue his mother’s soul before he can condemn his uncle’s (“as damned and black / As hell, whereto it goes”). And in so doing, restore in the afterlife his parents’ fractured marriage. Like Pyrrhus in the Player’s speech, Hamlet’s sword must “i’th’ air to stick” (2.2), awaiting the right moment to strike.
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