Act 3 scene 1

what does claudius admit to himself about his crime?

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Polonius is advising Ophelia on how to act when she "bumps" into Hamlet in the corridor. Of course Polonius and the king will be hiding within earshot. Polonius tells Ophelia to act like she is innocent and devoted to God while knowing she is setting Hamlet up. In an aside to the audience,  the King reflects on how he puts on an act of devotion as well, while having committed the "primal eldest curse" of killing his brother,


Oh, ’tis too true!

How smart a lash that speech doth give my conscience! The harlot’s cheek, beautied with plastering art, Is not more ugly to the thing that helps it Than is my deed to my most painted word. O heavy burden!