In Hamlet Act 4.7, how does this scene prepare us for the ending of the play?

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danylyshen eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In (4.7) Laertes and the unjust King Claudius are planning the revenge of Laertes and the death of Hamlet. Claudius is hatching a plan to get the two to duel with rapiers. Claudius wants to poison a pearl and drop it in a goblet so that Hamlet may drink, but Laertes wants to go a step further and annoint the tip of his rapier with the deadliest of poisons. He agrees with the King's plan and details the havoc which will ensue in the final act:

I will do't!
And for that purpose I'll anoint my sword.
I bought an unction of a mountebank,
So mortal that but dip a knife in it,(155)
Where it draws blood no cataplasm so rare,
Collected from all simples that have virtue
Under the moon, can save the thing from death
This is but scratch'd withal. I'll touch my point
With this contagion, that, if I gall him slightly,(160)
It may be death.

We can be certain that since it's a Shakespearean tragedy of the highest order, the stage will be strewn with corpses tragically displayed.

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