Essay on Hamlet's Conflict

669 Words Oct 11th, 2012 3 Pages
Hamlet Plot Analysis
Most good stories start with a fundamental list of ingredients: the initial situation, conflict, complication, climax, suspense, denouement, and conclusion. Great writers sometimes shake up the recipe and add some spice.

Initial Situation

Mom just married Dad's brother. Also, war may be on the way.

Only a month after the old King of Denmark dies, his queen remarries – to his own brother. Hamlet is not happy to have his uncle as his new step-father. On the political front, Prince Fortinbras of Norway plans to invade Denmark.


Dad's ghost says mom's new husband knocked him off. Revenge!

A ghost shows up on the castle battlements, looking suspiciously like the recently deceased King. The
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One way of thinking about it is to see Hamlet's interaction with Gertrude as the play's emotional climax, while the play-within-the play is the plot's climax. After all, this is the point when Hamlet definitively knows that Claudius is guilty; it's also the first action Hamlet actually takes in the name of advancing his revenge. And Hamlet's plan works: the play within the play – which Hamlet calls "The Mousetrap" – snaps shut on Claudius. Yet the emotional boiling point of the play happens in the next scene, when Hamlet rails on Gertrude and stabs Polonius.


Mom's new husband sends Hamlet away to be killed. Meanwhile, Ophelia dies and her brother plots Hamlet's death with Mom's new husband.

The suspense builds when we wonder if Hamlet is going to die on or after the trip to England. We feel more suspense as Claudius and Laertes plot our prince's death, suspense that only increases with every added back-up plan. Will Hamlet die from one of the umpteen poisoned objects?


Everybody whose name you know dies, except Horatio.

Talk about "casual slaughters" (5.2.366). After four acts of delay, everybody finally gets some revenge, all in about five minutes. In the friendly duel, which quickly becomes completely un-friendly, Laertes manages to wound Hamlet with a poisoned sword. Then, in a truly

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