In the challenge, Laertes will put poison on the end of his weapon so that when he slashes Hamlet it will kill him. To guarantee Hamlets death, Claudius poisons the wine that is set out for Hamlet to drink during the competition. Unfortunately, Gertrude decides to toast Hamlets success and drinks some of the poisoned wine. Hamlet receives a slash with the poisoned tip. When he realizes that his mother is dying, he figures out that this has been a trap. Hamlet stabs Laertes and Claudius with the poisoned blade and forces Claudius to drink from the poisoned cup. In the end all of the main characters – Laertes, Gertrude, Claudius and Hamlet are dead. Earlier, Ophelia and Polonius died. Horatio is the only character left to speak to Fortinbras as he enters on the bloody scene. Fortinbras is then made the new king.

5. Claudius sets in motion all of the sorrows that come about in the play. It is his killing of his brother and marriage to his sister-in-law and other rash behavior that create much of the problems in the play. Claudius actions put the whole plot in motion. He also contributes greatly to the final scene by plotting with Laertes. Hamlet could have been more honest with his mother and more upfront with his actions which would have prevented the deaths in the end scene. So even though Claudius starts the problems, Hamlet helps keep them going throughout the play.

6. Men are basically people who want to be good and do good. However, something very small can distract people and make them do evil things.

For instance, Claudius may have just been a little jealous of his brothers power, but then this flaw kept growing and getting worse until it drove him to commit evil acts. Hamlet also wants to be good and correct the evils that have been done, but through his inability to act, he adds to the evil actions of the play. Other characters also are led astray and commit evil acts like Laertes and Gertrude. In the end, they both realized that they had done wrong. It is their ability to recognize evil that actually makes them basically good characters. They know right from wrong.

7. When Shakespeare wrote this play, England had recently changed from the Catholic Church to the Church of England. There are certainly elements of the Catholic religion still in the play such as Hamlets father who refers to terrible things that happen to him in purgatory. Also, after the play within the play scene, Hamlet wants to kill the king, but wont because the king is praying. If Hamlet killed him then, the kings soul would be free of sin and he would go straight to Heaven. Hamlet wants him to suffer. The Catholic religion still today believes that if a person prays and is forgiven, they will go to Heaven regardless of the sins committed. Most religions have a sense of Heaven and Hell and how people get into.