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What is the Climax of Hamlet?

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Hamlet is distinguished by the presence of not one but two climaxes. The first peak is the death of Polonius in act 3, which breaks the tension that had built up. The final climax is the battle in the finale of the tragedy. During it, a massive number of characters die, resolving the global conflict of the entire work.

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Hamlet is one of Shakespeare’s most popular plays and one of the world’s most famous tragedies. It gives rise to many eternal disputes and leaves various issues unsolved. Hamlet is a rather difficult work to understand, but you can simplify its analysis. To do this, pay attention to the tragedy’s critical points, i.e., its culmination.

Like many other works of Shakespeare, Hamlet is a unique play. Among other original features, it has two climaxes instead of one. This is a consequence of the complexity of the plot. In such a case, the climax is not only in the ending but also the peak. It’s a turning moment in the middle of the play, which increases the stakes in Hamlet’s fight. The event is the death of Polonius. The protagonist did not plan the murder, but it changed his fate. The accident forced him to take a different path.

Up to this point, Hamlet could be reasonably called a thinker, a humanist, but not a murderer. Nevertheless, the rising action led the reader to the death of one of the characters. As the reader incurred, Hamlet was full of willpower and resolution to avenge his father. He hatched reprisal plans against the killer. This tension gathered and increased from the very beginning of the work.

However, the murderous intent turns out to be directed at an innocent person, Polonius. The first murder committed by Hamlet changes both himself and everyone around him. The death of Polonius launches a series of new events. It creates doubt within the protagonist, leads to Ophelia’s death, and sets her brother, Laertes, against Hamlet.

The story’s pace slows down for some time. This time, the tension accumulates towards the final scene. The events between the third and fifth acts are designed to engender thoughts in readers’ minds. However, the effects of the protagonist’s actions begin to appear. The death of Polonius starts to affect all the other characters in the tragedy. Claudius, first alone, and then, together with Ophelia’s brother, make plans to kill Hamlet. One by one, they fail, and the main character manages to avoid death. The tension rises, expanding to the final scene, which should solve everything.

The second climax of the tragedy is the final duel between Hamlet and Laertes. According to Claudius, this battle was supposed to end with the guaranteed death of the main character. However, everything is not going according to plan, since the poisoned weapon pierces Hamlet and his opponent. Gertrude, the mother of the hero, mistakenly drinks the poisoned wine. At the final moment, all plots are revealed, and Hamlet, finally, fulfills his revenge by defeating the Claudius.

However, the ending remains bitter. Towards the end of the play, the narrative fades along with the lives of the heroes. Only Hamlet’s friend, Horatio, who is supposed to tell everyone else about the tragedy, remains alive. The tension that grew from act 3 spills out in the fifth act, breaking off four characters’ lives instead of one.

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