In one sentence, comment on the importance of Act 5, scene 2, of Shakespeare's play, Hamlet.

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booboosmoosh eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In Shakespeare's Hamlet, Act Five, scene two, is the conclusion to the play, when Claudius' machinations culminate with tragic consequences for all of the major players still alive.

Claudius has arranged with Laertes to cut Hamlet with a poisoned foil (sword) in the sword play that has been arranged. The foils are switched in a scuffle, and Laertes is also poisoned. Claudius, making sure to have a backup plan to kill Hamlet, drops a poisoned pearl in a glass of wine, promising it to Hamlet if he wins. Gertrude drinks the wine in honor of her son and she is poisoned. When Laertes reveals Claudius' part in the deceit and death unfolding around him, Hamlet stabs Claudius with the poisoned sword and pours poisoned wine down his throat. Within a short period of time, Gertrude, Laertes, Claudius, and Hamlet are all dead. Hamlet's last words are for Horatio, asking him to share the truth of their story with those who follow.

If I needed to summarize the importance of this scene, I would probably write:

Murder and deceit reign over the lives of the members of Hamlet's family and those who serve the King; there is no way that the characters are able walk a line between honor and deceit—once committed to their course, they all pay the price for their actions, which is death.

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