What change has taken place in Hamlet in act 5, scene 2?

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lmetcalf | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

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Hamlet has come to realize that we humans don't have control over everything and that fate plays a large role in our lives.  We just have to accept that, work with that, and make the best of it.  When he is talking to Hortatio he explains, "There is a divinity that shapes our ends, rough hew them how we will."  He means that he get to make a lot of the decisions of our life (rough hew) but that God/Fate/Divinity shapes us too.

Later in the act, after Hortatio cautions him about going into this sword fight with Laertes, Hamlet says, "There is a special providence even in the fall of a sparrow ... the readiness is all."  He is telling Hortatio that God is even aware of the death of insignifant bird like a sparrow, and that all Hamlet can do, ultimately, is be as ready and he can for what may come.  He can't control anything but himself and his reaction to the events around him.  This is a dramatic change from the man who accomplished very little for the first four acts of the play.

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