How did the deaths of the play's different characters have an impact on Hamlet's demise?

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clane eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The first death, the death of King Hamlet, is what spurred the turmoil that ensued for Prince Hamlet throughout the whole play. Hamlet felt he had been betrayed by his mother and certainly felt the betrayal of his overzealous uncle who was his father's murderer. Then as he is with his mother Queen Gertrude, reprimanding her for her betrayal of his father, he kills Polonius, who is hiding behind a curtain and who Hamlet thought was Claudius. As the story unfolds and Hamlet is attempting to exact revenge for his father's death, Ophelia, his true love is forbidden him and she is so crushed by her father's disapproval that she takes her own life. Upon Hamlet's return he learns of Ophelia's death, Hamlet feels responsible for her death. From here, the plot thickens dramatically because Hamlet learns of Claudius' plan to finally kill Prince Hamlet with a poisoned rapier and if not that then with poisoned wine. Hamlet is consumed with finally getting revenge and his desire pushes him into the arms of his own death, the death of his mother, and finally as he's taking his final breaths, the death he had sought, Claudius'.

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