Why is it fitting for the play of Hamlet to end with a fencing match? Why is it fitting for the play of Hamlet to end with a fencing match?

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Noelle Thompson | High School Teacher | eNotes Employee

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Although open to interpretation, I believe the fencing match ending Hamlet serves as the ultimate irony.  Throughout the play, both Hamlet and Claudius have used "bad form" in many ways to either gain information, corner, or even kill their opponent.  The examples are endless:  Hamlet putting a fake "antic disposition on," Claudius using minions to spy on Hamlet, Hamlet using Ophelia to chide Claudius and Gertrude, Hamlet almost killing Claudius at church, Hamlet speaking rudely to his incestuous mother, etc.  Ironically, fencing is a very proper contest of skill in dueling, . . . during which the same characters use "bad form" to outwit the other.  Of course, their decisions all end in numerous deaths (of almost everyone).  Hamlet, a revenge play?  I think so!

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