Act V, Scene 2 “A Hall in the Castle”
Summary: Hamlet tells Horatio of the King’s foiled plot to kill him in England, which he turned around to get Rosencrantz and Gildenstern killed instead. He believes providence is on his side. Then Laertes challenges him to a fencing match. Hamlet apologizes to him for fighting with him at the funeral (but not for killing his father), and then they fence. Laertes stabs Hamlet, but then Hamlet turns around and stabs him back with the same poisoned foil. Meanwhile, the Queen has drunk the poisoned wine and dies. Then Hamlet stabs the King and kills him. As Laertes dies he tells Hamlet he doesn’t blame him and now realizes that everything is the King’s fault. Then Hamlet dies and Horatio sets the record straight for whoever is left, and Fortinbras gives him a proper burial.
Reaction: It was a long scene that was exciting and went really fast. I’m reading this on my Nook, so I didn’t know it was the last scene until the bodies started falling. I like that element of surprise. It was the ending I expected, and it was very good.
Prediction: This one can’t be proven true, but now that Denmark is left with this power vacuum, I can definitely see Fortinbras taking his advantage and stepping in–you know, to help them get back on track, and hey, I think we’ll just stay a little longer because we’re running things pretty well, don’t you think, and soon there’s no more Denmark.
Why This Book Is a Classic: Tragedy ending the way tragedies are supposed to–we don’t need a happy ending wrapped up in a bow here, and no one whines about it; instead we call it great literature!
Why a Modern Audience Might Like It: Swordfighting, violence, and death! That makes everything ten times more interesting.
Next Up: I’m thinking Dickens–maybe Bleak House? We’ll see tomorrow!