Hamlet Questions and Answers
by William Shakespeare

Hamlet book cover
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Does the death scene in Hamlet satisfy the readers built up expectations? please answer with quotes and examples

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Doug Stuva eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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The answer to your question concerning Shakespeare's Hamlet is subjective.  There's no way of definitively answering the question.  The answer depends on the reader, or the viewer, or the performers.  Ultimately, you'll have to decide this for yourself.

All I can do is give you details from the play that are supposed to lead to the catharsis, or cleansing. 

  1. By the conclusion of the play, Denmark is well-established as being filled with evil.  Everything is evil and chaotic.  Claudius is murderous and conniving and ruthless.  He is unscrupulous.  He needs to be eliminated.  Claudius should make the audience feel uneasy. 
  2. Hamlet kills him.  Denmark is cleansed.  The audience feels better that justice has been done.   

Of course, there's more to it than that.  The final scene involves a sword fight, which if performed well provides good action, and everybody in the play that has made mistakes is eliminated.  Laertes, who practices deceit and attempted murder, is killed.  Gertrude, who marries Claudius too soon after her husband dies, who marries her husband's brother (seen as adultery in Shakespeare's play), and who tends to take Claudius's side instead of Hamlet's, dies, also.  Claudius, the evil in the play, dies, and Hamlet, who waits too long to enact his revenge, pays for it with his life, too.   

And Fortinbras, Hamlet's foil, enters the scene and will make everything stable and calm again.

You'll have to decide if this ending is satisfying or not.

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