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How did Claudius die in Hamlet?

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country4145 | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted July 14, 2009 at 6:12 PM via web

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How did Claudius die in Hamlet?

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted July 14, 2009 at 8:50 PM (Answer #1)

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A critical component of the play's resolution, Claudius' death is a result of "overscheming" and growing complications.  In the end, Claudius is tripped up by his own multiple plots against Hamlet; his queen dies by drinking the poisoned wine, intended to be a back-up plan to kill Hamlet, and Claudius himself is killed when Hamlet wounds him with the poisoned sword.  The death of Claudius seems a fitting end for the court of Denmark, which has become so corrosive and so twisted that multiple deaths seem unavoidable.  Such an end to such a complex character is worthy of reading for even some of the most dislikeable people in the work are complex and emotionally intricate, making their narratives of extreme interest.

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jagtig | (Level 1) Salutatorian

Posted July 16, 2009 at 11:13 PM (Answer #2)

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Claudius and Laertes whipped up enough poison to kill Hamlet several times.

Then, they staged a bogus duel in which Laertes would wield a poisoned sword, while Claudius stood by with a beaker of poisoned wine to refresh Hamlet should he grow thirsty.

Gertrude tasted of the poison wine and dies. The dueling swords were exchanged in a scuffle and Laertes was mortally wounded after he scratched Hamlet, and Hamlet  used his dying breathes to murder Claudius with the poison sword.

Claudius had told Laertes to make his exercise as violent as possible to cause Hamlet to grow thirsty. Thus, even if he couldn't touch him with the poisoned point, Hamlet would drink of the poisoned wine.

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