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Mary Buffaloe

Mrs. Bradley

AP English 12

February 27, 2017

I am Slain

Hamlet provides conflict for the

Hamlets indecisiveness in Shakespeares

tumultuous story which comes to a climax in Act III when Hamlet makes a choice and

accidentally stabs Polonius through a curtain. Previous to this, Hamlet has been

unwilling to do anything about his fathers murder, and at this moment he does

something, though it may have been a wrong choice.

Act I provides the audience with what drives the plot of the play: the murder of

King Hamlet. The late kings death was on suspicious circumstance, but now the ghost

of the king has come to reveal to his son what has happened. The act opens with some

men sighting the ghost, providing foreshadowing to the main conflict. In addition,

Shakespeare then uses the next scene to build the character of Hamlet as moody,

emotional, and somewhat rash. Hamlet in Scene ii is saying many harsh things to both

his uncle and mother, providing context to later actions he takes against them. In

addition, scene ii provides the real conflict of Hamlets indecisiveness in his first

soliloquy when Hamlet says he hopes his, too sullied flesh would melt, Thaw, and

resolve itself into a dew, (Act I, Scene ii, 133-134), but never takes any action to kill

himself. At the end of the act when Hamlet is charged to Revenge his foul and most

unnatural murder. (Act I, Scene v, 31) he tells the ghost of his father he is willing to do
the deed. However, it is later seen that Hamlet is frightened by the prospect of

committing murder. This is seen by actions not seen until act three when he refuses to

kill Claudius, even though he has a perfect opportunity.

Act II provides the rising action of the play when Hamlet decides to feign

madness and discover if his uncle is truly is guilty. All of the characters take note of

Hamlets behavior; even Polonius tells the queen, Your noble son is mad. (Act II,

scene ii, 99). Therefore, the king and queen send for two of Hamlets friends to find out

what is the issue, an act that only further outrages the prince. Hamlet at this point has

his own agenda, a fact proven by the arrival of the players. It is seen in the context of

the play whenever Hamlet makes a decision the plot advances, further proving how the

main conflict is Hamlets indecisiveness.

In the third act, the action comes to its highest point, and the audience learns the

true nature of one of the characters. In the beginning of the Act Hamlet puts on a play

and tells Horatio to Observe my uncle. If his occulted guilt Do not itself unkennel in one

speech, It is a damnd ghost that we have seen, And my imaginations are as foul(Act

III, scene ii, 85-88) so that Hamlet will know if he should kill his uncle. The play heeds

the result Hamlet wants, and after it Claudius confesses he committed , A brothers

murder (Act III, scene iii, 42) in a soliloquy. However, this is not the climax of the play

because Hamlet does nothing about it. He seeing Claudius praying, so he tells himself

that if he kills Claudius now hell go to heaven, saying that, This physic but prolongs thy

sickly days. (Act III, scene iii, 101). Hamlets failure to take action in this situation

proves that this is not the climax, but the turning point is indeed later. The real climax
is when Hamlet stabs Polonius through the curtain because he has finally taken action,

though it may have been wrong. It is indeed a rash and bloody deed (Act III, scene iv,

33), but none the less it is a deed. Hamlet has refused to make decisions throughout

the play, but finally he has made one, and it will change the course of the play.

Act IV shows the repercussion in the murder of Polonius through Hamlet being

sent to England, the madness of Ophelia, and the return of Laertes. Very quickly

Claudius establishes that Hamlet is a threat to safety and must be sent to England

where he will be executed. This shows a change in how Claudius views Hamlet, not

just as a threat but as a murderous danger. Hamlet being sent away gives room for the

repercussions of his actions in Ophelia, who goes mad. She speaks much of her

father, says she hears Theres tricks i th world, and hems, and beats her heart, (Act

IV, scene v, 5-7), showing the emotional damage Hamlet has caused. The

repercussions of Hamlets actions come to a sum in the return of Laertes, who will be

the one to kill Hamlet. The plot would not have been the same had Hamlet not

encouraged his wrath.