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What happens at the end of "Hamlet"?  

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wanda09 | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted March 9, 2009 at 5:59 AM via web

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What happens at the end of "Hamlet"?

 

Tagged with ending, hamlet, literature

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gbeatty | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted March 9, 2009 at 7:19 AM (Answer #1)

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A lot of things happen, all in quick succession. Osric brings Hamlet an invitation to fence with Laertes, and Hamlet agrees. The duel will happen before the court, and when it does, everything comes apart. To be specific, Claudius poisons a cup of wine, hoping to kill Hamlet that way. However, Queen Gertrude drinks it, accidentally killing herself. Laertes is using a poisoned blade. He wounds Hamlet, then they end up swapping swords and Hamlet wounds him. When he realizes that he's been betrayed again, Hamlet stabs his uncle with the poisoned blade. By the end of Act V, Hamlet, Gertrude, Claudius, and Laertes are all dead.

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mrs-campbell | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted March 9, 2009 at 7:20 AM (Answer #2)

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If you haven't already, I would suggest reading the end of the play; it is super dramatic, and everything happens really fast, so it is an easier read than a lot of the rest of it, and well worth your time.

I'm not exactly sure how far back you are wanting explained, so I'll just explain the very ending.  Hamlet accepts Laertes' challenge to a duel.   Hamlet is pricked with Laertes sword, which is laced with poison. They take a break and the king urges Hamlet to drink from the poisoned cup; instead, Hamlet's mother takes the cup and drinks it.  Quickly thereafter, she dies.  Laertes tips Hamlet off as to why she died; he also lets Hamlet know he's a dead man because of the poisoned sword.  Essentially, Laertes rats the king out.  At this point, Hamlet forces the king to drink from the poisoned cup, so that he dies too.  Then, as Hamlet dies, he forgives Laertes, tells Horatio to tell his tale, and dies.  So basically, Hamlet, the king and the queen are all poisoned in the last act.  It is hinted that then Fortinbras comes in to pick up the pieces of the shattered kingdom.

I hope that helps; I provided a link below to a summary of the play, and that should help too.

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