Act V Questions and Answers

Questions

  1. Why is it controversial for Ophelia to be given some form of Christian burial?
  2. Why does Hamlet comment on Alexander the Great when he is looking at all the skulls in the ground?
  3. How does Hamlet react when he realizes that the funeral he is watching is Ophelia’s?
  4. What did Hamlet do when he found out about the king’s secret orders for him to be killed in England?
  5. What excuse does Hamlet give Laertes for killing Polonius?
  6. What happens to the poisoned wine during the duel?
  7. How do both Hamlet and Laertes end up struck by the poisoned sword?
  8. What prompts Laertes to confess his and Claudius’s plot to Hamlet?
  9. What does Hamlet do once Claudius’s treachery has been exposed?
  10. What does Fortinbras do when he arrives and sees the bloody scene?

Answers

  1. It is suspected that Ophelia committed suicide, which would traditionally make her ineligible for a Christian burial.
  2. Looking at the skulls, Hamlet realizes that all men are equal in death and speculates that the dust of Alexander the Great might now be used in the clay that stops up beer barrels.
  3. Hamlet is shaken when he realizes that Ophelia is dead, and he interrupts the service to quarrel with Laertes over who loved Ophelia more.
  4. Upon finding the king’s letter, Hamlet switched it out with a letter calling for the immediate execution of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern. He then escaped with the pirates, leaving his former friends to their fate.
  5. Hamlet tells Laertes that it was his madness that killed Polonius, not him.
  6. Gertrude drinks the poisoned wine on accident and dies soon after.
  7. Laertes wounds Hamlet with the sword, causing a scuffle in which they accidentally switch swords. Hamlet then wounds Laertes with the poisoned sword.
  8. When Queen Gertrude dies, Laertes reveals Claudius’s plot to Hamlet and tells him that, having each been struck with the poisoned sword, they are both about to die.
  9. Hamlet kills Claudius, running him through with the poisoned sword and then forcing him to drink the remaining poisoned wine.
  10. Fortinbras mentions his claim to the throne (which Hamlet supported) and orders that Hamlet’s body be carried out like a soldier’s.