Fascinated by the mystery of Hamlet’s character, many readers might forget the play as a whole and judge everything through the lens of Hamlet’s ideas. However, recognising the unchallenged lead of Hamlet in the tragedy, one should not narrow down its content to the only one personality. It is evident that the fates of many individuals are on the line. The fifth act depicts the events that are crucial for almost every character of the tragedy.
The act starts with a scene where two gravediggers are digging a hole at the cemetery. Approaching them Hamlet and Horatio are talking about the impermanence of life. The essence of their conversation is confirmed by the skull of the former king's jester Yorick, found by the gravediggers. Seeing the funeral procession, headed by the King, the Queen and Laertes, brother of Ophelia, Hamlet realises that it is the funeral of Ophelia. The affliction of both brother and loving Hamlet is so deep, that on this ground the young people are involved in a clash.
In the second scene, on reading a secret letter of Claudius, Hamlet finds out that they want to assassinate him and substitutes the order that says to kill Rosenkrantz and Guildenstern. Hamlet wants to make peace with Laertes but goes behind as he receives from him the challenge to a duel. Prince realises that he is destined to death, but agrees to a duel. Laertes and Hamlet are fighting with rapiers in the presence of Claudius, Gertrude and the court. During a break, Laertes offers Hamlet a glass of wine. It is worth noting that a treacherous Claudius has cunningly forced Laertes to poison the wine. Unaware, Gertrude drinks the wine. The rapier, Laertes stabs the Prince with, turns poisoned too. Accidentally the duelists exchange weapons, and Hamlet wounds Laertes who reveals to Hamlet the truth about the plan of the King. In the last minutes of his life, Hamlet kills Claudius and instructs Horatio to retell the Danes the words of the Ghost. Prince Fortinbras, preparing to take the throne of Denmark, orders to bury Hamlet with full military honours.
Thus ends the life of Hamlet whose image is interpreted differently by critics and ordinary readers. For someone, Hamlet is a man of good morales and noble personality, who lacks the ability to perform the feat. For another Hamlet incarnates the ideals of the Renaissance, being a personality, aspiring to the unlimited development. There is no doubt that the main theme of the tragedy is revenge. But this is just the tip of the iceberg. In sober fact, numerous sub-themes are closely intertwined here: loyalty, love, friendship, honour and duty.
Fascinated by the mystery of Hamlet’s character, many readers might forget the play as a whole and judge everything through the lens of Hamlet’s ideas. However, recognising the unchallenged lead of Hamlet in the tragedy, one should not narrow down its content to the only one personality. It is evident that the fates of many individuals are on the line.