“How will I wash it white as snow?” Claudius asks. We can see that he is afraid of his own fate in this passage. He confesses to the assassination of his brother (“with brother’s blood,” “this accursed hand”), and realizes that he is a cursed man (“this doomed hand”).
Claudius reveals his fears in the following lines of act 3, scene 3:
“What if this cursed hand
Were thicker than itself with brother’s blood
Is there not rain enough in the sweet heavens
To wash it white as snow?”
His worries are inspired by the death of his sibling, which he believes was a terrible curse. Claudius’ worries are conditioned by his knowledge of guilt. He is waiting for the curse to befall him, which appears to be a natural consequence of murdering his brother. He still retains a sliver of optimism that he might avoid this fate. However, such an outcome does not appear to be viable, and the notion of its inevitability disturbs him.
Claudius cannot do anything but pray in the chapel, unwilling to give up hope of forgiveness. He is overcome by a desire for power and expressed regret, yet none of these emotions appear to be convincing. This scenario depicts him as a person full of uncertainty despite his efforts to kill and make decisions. He appears to be a manipulative but ineffective individual in these lines.
Even remorse does not alter Claudius’ appetite for murder. The dangers are not just in losing authority, but also in the possibility of dying as a result of it. In the end, Claudius’ machinations produce the desired effect. This event adds to his desire for power and disregards any sentiments of guilt or punishment that usually follow. However, this good fortune is only transitory; he will be chastened for his deeds eventually.
My words fly up, my thoughts remain below:
Words without thoughts never to heaven go.
Claudius, on the other hand, recognizes that though he feels guilty of poisoning his dead brother, he loves the queen too much and wants to be king too much to give it up. He knows that his repentance is nothing more than a show since he wants to stay in power.