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Does Hamlet realize that he might not come out of this fight alive? See...

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peterleader | Student, Grade 11 | (Level 2) eNoter

Posted May 31, 2010 at 12:51 AM via web

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Does Hamlet realize that he might not come out of this fight alive? See V.ii.225-238.

Act 5, Scene 2 of Hamlet

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mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted May 31, 2010 at 9:16 AM (Answer #1)

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Yes. At this point in Shakespeare's Hamlet, the Prince of Denmark, inspired by Fortinbras, his foil, with whom he converses.  Hamlet has finally decided that he must act with courage as the Prince of Denmark after he witnesses the loyalty and courage of the

delicate and tender prince,/Whose spirit, with divine ambition puffed (4.4.47-48)

who is willing to die fighting the Polish for glory alone.   With this resolve, Hamlet bows to whatever fate will hold and does not waiver, even though Horatio predicts that he will lose.  Hamlet tells his friend he feels confident:

I am constant to my purposes; they follow the king's pleasure.  If his fitness speaks, mine is ready; now or whensoever, provided I be so able as now. (5.2.193-195)

When Horatio argues that Hamlet will lose, Hamlet counters,

I do not think so.  Since he went into France I have been in continual practice.  I shall win at the odds.  But thou wouldst not think how ill all's here about my heart.... It is but foolery, but it is such a kind of gaingiving as would perhaps trouble a woman. (5.2.202-205)

Still his friend Horatio asks if he can tell the others that Hamlet is not ready.  But, the resolved Hamlet accepts what fate will deal him:

There is a special providence in the fall of a sparrow.  If it be now, 'tis not to come; if it be not to come, it will be now; if it be not now, yet it will come....Let it be. (5.2. 211-215)

He apologizes to Laertes, telling Laertes that it was his madness that caused him to act as he has done earlier:

If f't be so,

hamlet isof the faction that is wronged;

His madness is poor Hamlet's enemy.

 Laertes accepts this apology:

....But till that time

I do receive your offered love like love,

And will not wrong it.

Hamlet is killed, of course; however, he has set many things right before he dies.

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