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Schwefler 1

Andrew Schwefler

Mrs. P. Bradley

AP English 12 Period 2

24 February 2017

The Climax of Hamlet

In most of Shakespeare's plays, he follows the structure of having Act I being the

exposition that sets up the main conflict for the play, Act II containing the rising actions that

move the plot forward towards the climax, Act III being the climax of the play, Act IV containing

the consequences and falling actions of the climax, and Act V being the ending and resolution to

the play. Hamlet is no different and follows this formula. Act III is the climax of the play where

the main conflict is resolved and also serves the turning point for the plot. For the play Hamlet,

the climax is in Act III Scene 4 and is when Hamlet stabs and kills Polonius.

In order for Act III Scene 4 to be considered the climax of the play, the actions in this

scene must resolve and answer the main conflict that was presented to the audience in the

beginning of the play during Act I. In Act I, the main conflict of the plot was revealed to be that

Hamlet has to avenge his father by killing Claudius, but being hesitant and unsure to do so. The

ghost of Hamlets father instructs Hamlet to get revenge for him by killing Claudius: his fathers

murder, his uncle, his mothers husband, and the new king.

At first, Hamlet is a little reluctant to kill Claudius because he is his uncle and he was not

sure if his fathers ghost was telling the truth. When he stabs the through the curtains and ends up

killing Polonius, he only did that because he thought it was his uncle hiding from him. By

stabbing the curtain in an attempt to kill the king, the main conflict is answered because Hamlet

is fully committed to killing the king and has officially started his act to avenge his father.
Schwefler 2

Killing Polonius causes a series of negative consequences that affects all of the characters of

Hamlet and is where the plot takes a sharp turn and becomes more tragic.

After Poloniuss death, many consequences arrive right after Hamlet kills him and all

throughout Act IV.