The first sighting of fatality in Hamlet was the murder of King Hamlet.

  • King Hamlet was murdered by his brother Claudius
  • King Hamlet’s soul did not rest in peace and his spirit was back to tell the truth about murder
  • Hamlet was devastated at how his innocent father had died, being the good man he was
  • The death of King Hamlet let to fatality as Hamlet was now ready to seek revenge from Claudius and at the same time deal with the requests from Fortinbras about his unsettled business
  • Hamlet told his father’s ghost that he will avenge his father’s death.  “O most pernicious woman! O villain, villain, smiling damned villain, My tables, -meet it is I set it down That one may smile, and smile, and be a villain, At least I am sure it may be so in Denmark.  So, uncle, there you are; now to my word; It is “Adieu, adieu!” remember me. I haven’t sworn’t” Says Hamlet to the ghost. (I.v. 106-112)

The second trigger incident that led to fatality was the “Mousetrap Play”.  This had King Claudius and Queen Gertrude furious as they believed that Hamlet was simply mad and disrespectful for putting on a show as such.  The King commits his sin and Gertrude has a talk with Hamlet. During their conversation, Polonius is hiding behind a curtain and when he comes out of the curtain to defend the Queen as he believes she is about to be murdered, Hamlet kills him.  His reaction to Polonius’ murder is not shocking.  “A bloody deed; almost as bad, good mother, As kill a king, and marry with his brother” (III.iv.28).  He compared his sin to that of his mothers.

  • Ophelia now became mad as she reacted to her father’s death
  • “Say you? Nay, pray you, mark.  He is dead and gone, lady, He is dead and gone, At his head a grass-green turf, At his heels a stone. (V.v.28-32)
  • The murder of Polonius led to more fatal acts, Laertes was now determined to seek revenge of Hamlet after he finds out that he was the one that murdered his father.  At first he was hesitant on Claudius in his fathers death but Claudius now sided with him and they made a plan to kill Hamlet for once and for all.  Their evil plan was to have a sword fight, having Laertes use a sharp ended sword with poison on the end to automatically kill Hamlet.  The back up plan was to simply poison a drink and serve it to him. Gertrude was not aware of these acts. “I will do’t; And for that purpose I’ll anoint my sword.  I bought an unction of a mountebank, So mortal, that but dip a knife in it, Where it draws blood, no cataplasm so rare” Laertes claims to Claudius. (V.vii.139-144)

Ophelia dies by committing suicide that was led on by her madness.

  • Laertes was not too affected by her death as much as Hamlet was.  The funeral causes more tension between Hamlet and Laertes

During the sword fight between Laertes and Hamlet is where the most fatal parts of the play occur

  • Hamlet and Laertes switch swords, therefore Hamlet now has the poison sword and strikes Laertes
  • The Queen accidentally drinks Hamlets poison drink
  • Hamlet stabs the King at last
  • Hamlet is also struck by Laertes’ sword and dies too
  • “O, I die Horatio; The potent poison quite o’er-crows my spirit; I cannot live to hear the news from England…” Says Hamlet as he dies. 343-345 Pg. 243 (V.ii.343-345)

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