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Question: Explain why this excerpt is of great significance in the context of the play.
Scale Point 5
The paper is strong in its discussion of both context and irony. Moreover, there is some depth of
understanding in the point about Hamlet’s “lack of balance.” The organization is good, but the
expression lacks sophistication.
Lines 73-95 in Act III scene iii of Hamlet mark the technical climax of
the play. Hamlet is presented with the perfect oppertunity to kill
Claudius and revenge his father, but he doesn’t. This choice marks the
beginning of his downfall. Hamlet’s tragic flaw is his lack of balance
between his thoughts and actions. He either over analyzes situations, or
does not think at all, as in when he kills Polonius, Ophelia’s father. In
this scene, Hamlet passes up his oppertunity for revenge in fear of
sending Claudus, who is praying, to heaven. Hamlet feels that would be
more of a reward to Claudius, rather than revenge upon him, “A villain
kills my father, and for that/I, his sole son, do this same villain send /
To heaven. / Why, this is hire and salary, not revenge.”
This conclusion of Hamlets is, however, highly ironic. Though praying to
God for forgiveness, Claudius realizes he can not repent his sins. He is
not willing to give up the queen, his crown, or his ambitions, all of
which he gained through Hamlet’s father’s death, and so can not receive
absolution. Claudius would not have gone to heaven after all. The outcome
of this critical scene is what makes Hamlet a tragedy. Had Hamlet not
dwelt in possibilites presented by his mind and killed Claudius, he would
not have caused his “fall”, which results in his death.