What are some major plot points in Hamlet that convey the play’s most important themes?
The first significant plot point takes place in act 1, scene 5, when Hamlet interacts with his father's ghost, who informs him of Claudius's treachery. The ghost instructs Hamlet to avenge his death by killing Claudius but specifically tells him not to harm Gertrude. This important plot point sets the play in motion, as Hamlet becomes consumed with the idea of seeking revenge. This moment also underscores the theme of revenge, which runs throughout the entire play.
Another significant plot point concerns Hamlet's mad behavior, which upsets Ophelia and worries Claudius and Gertrude. Claudius hires Rosencrantz and Guildenstern to work for him and spies on Hamlet to discover the source of his madness. This plot point underscores the prominent themes of madness and deception.
Hamlet's production of the "The Mousetrap" is another significant plot point, where Hamlet confirms the ghost's message. Hamlet is initially motivated to kill Claudius once he discovers that his uncle did indeed assassinate his father. This plot point underscores the themes of guilt and sin, as Claudius cannot endure witnessing a reenactment of his horrible crime.
Another significant plot point takes place in act 3, scene 4, when Hamlet harshly criticizes Gertrude for her relationship with Claudius and brashly kills Polonius, who is spying on him from behind an arras. This plot point leads to Hamlet’s exile and eventual return. This scene also explores the themes of violence and deception.
Once Laertes returns to Denmark, he vows to avenge his father's death, and Claudius directs his attention to Hamlet. This plot point leads to the tragic fencing match between Hamlet and Laertes and highlights the themes of revenge, violence, and manipulation.
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