Hamlet summary act V

Hamlet and Horatio his friend meet together at the famous gravedigger scene in a graveyard where Ophelia is being buried. Hamlet doesn’t realize it is Ophelia. As Hamlet delivers another speech holding the skull of a former jester Yorick, in his hand. He comments on mans futility and inability to escape death despite of having power and fame in life. In explaining that even the dust of Alexander could well be used as nothing more than fertilizer. Shakespeare might be referring to the Christian theme of “Dust you are and dust you shall return”

“Alexander died, Alexander was buried, Alexander returned to dust, the dust is earth, of earth we make loam”..(act v sc 90)

Ophelia’s funeral procession arrives and Laertes laments over his sister’s body. Hamlet realizing then it is Ophelia who is being buried jumps in the grave where a fight with Laertes ensues. Hamlet cannot understand why Laertes who was his friends is angered by him. He did not intend to kill Polonius whose death was actually an accident. Later hamlet alone with Horatio regrets his behavior at the graveyard. He explains to Horatio that he had intercepted letters sent by Claudius to England with instructions to kill him as soon as he reached there. Hamlet wishes to kill Claudius.

Hamlet and Laertes are engaged in a friendly fencing duel organized by the king who has bet heavily on Hamlet. The duel is a ploy to kill hamlet with Laertes rapier poisoned. In the fight Hamlet is grievously wounded and somehow the men’s rapier are exchanged. Hamlet then wounds Laertes who confesses that his rapier tip was poisoned at the instructions of Claudius. Even as he is about to die, Hamlet too will soon be dead.

In the same instant Queen Gertrude drinks from a poisoned cup of wine intended for Hamlet and she falls to the ground. Before dying she tells Hamlet she has been poisoned. Hamlet then stabs Claudius with the poisoned rapier killing him. Before dying Hamlet convinces Horatio not to kill himself and then suggest Fortinbras to be the King of Denmark. There is an alliteration in his last dying words

“The potent poison quite o’er-crows my spirit.” (act v sc, 2, 352),

he beseeches Horatio to tell his story. Horatio bids goodbye to his friend with the words

“Now cracks a noble heart. Good night, sweet prince, And flights of angels sing thee to thy rest!” (act v sc 2 360)

Fortinbras arrives and restores order. Horatio ends the play claiming he will be witness to all that has taken place.

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