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!

– William Shakespeare

Hamlet, Act 3, Scene 1. When Polonius says that people act as if they were devoted to God in order to hide their sins, this strikes a nerve with Claudius. This passage is Claudius’ first admission of guilt in the play, likely brought about by the lies piling up all around him. He admits his hypocrisy too, as he speaks of the terrible things he has done and hidden with his "painted word" – lies and deceptions. He has been trying to legitimize his rule by seeming honest, when he is really not. This foreshadows Claudius’ anguished soliloquy in Act 3, Scene 3, when he tries in vain to pray for repentance.