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In Hamlet, how are Gertrude, Laertes, Claudius, and Hamlet killed?

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peluza74 | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted September 21, 2007 at 4:31 AM via web

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In Hamlet, how are Gertrude, Laertes, Claudius, and Hamlet killed?

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malibrarian | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator

Posted October 29, 2007 at 11:17 AM (Answer #2)

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Hamlet and Laertes are dueling.  What Hamlet doesn't realize is that Laertes has poisoned the tip of his own foil, so that if he even breaks Hamlet's skin, Hamlet will die.  Laertes nicks Hamlet with the poisoned sword, then they scuffle at one point in the match, and Hamlet grabs Laertes' foil.  He then wounds Laertes with the poisoned sword.  Gertrude drinks poison from a cup that Claudius meant for Hamlet.  When Hamlet sees his mother die from the poison, and is told by Laertes (who is dying) that Claudius is the one who has caused all of this to happen, Hamlet stabs Claudius with the poisoned foil and makes Claudius drink from the poisoned cup.

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jeff-hauge | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Associate Educator

Posted January 2, 2008 at 11:09 AM (Answer #3)

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Gertrude drinks a poinsoned cup that Claudius had meant for Hamlet. Laertes uses a poisoned foil in his duel with Hamlet and cuts his flesh barely, but enough for the poison to do its work. Hamlet continues the fight and picks up the tainted foil by mistake and wounds (on purpose) Laerates, thus killing him. When Gertrude faints and Claudius excuses this by lying \"she swoons to see her son bleed,\" Hamlet hears Gertrude say it was the cup that killed her. Hamlet hears a confession from Laertes and then stabs Claudius with the same sword and pours the poison down Claudius\' throat, thus killing him three ways.

The notable quality of all these deaths (save Claudius) is that they are all wrapped in lies, deceit and treachery. Hamlet finished this tawdry mess by revealing the hidden, assuring that Horatio would tell his story. There could be no honorable conclusion for these characters. Hamlet is our hero who pursued his quest by using a clever and cruel web of lies. He used lies and pretense to uncover larger lies. In his death he begs for an honest telling of his life.

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