What means does Shakespeare use to raise suspense during the fencing match?
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Shakespeare gives advance warning to the audience about the complexity of Claudius' plan. If the fencing scene were to occur without any of the additional information, the only suspense would be "who will be hurt"? However, adding the poisoned tip and the poisoned cup add more drama to the scene and offer more possible outcomes, which increases the suspense.
I also believe Shakespeare creates suspense during the fencing match by having Hamlet strike the first and second hits. It seems possible that Hamlet, as he had alluded to Horatio just beforehand, had indeed been practising and now feels confident in his ability to beat Laertes. We, as readers, begin to think that Laertes and Claudius' plan may be foiled (pardon the pun)...but then again, it is a Shakespearean tragedy...
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