Back at Elsinore, Hamlet explains to Horatio that he had discovered Claudius's letter with Rosencrantz and Guildenstern's belongings and replaced it with a forged copy indicating that his former friends should be killed instead. A foppish courtier, , interrupts the conversation to deliver the challenge to Hamlet. Hamlet, despite Horatio's pleas, accepts it. Hamlet does well at first, leading the match by two hits to none, and Gertrude raises a toast to him using the poisoned glass of Claudius had set aside for Hamlet. Claudius tries to stop her, but is too late: she drinks, and Laertes realizes the plot will be revealed. Laertes slashes Hamlet with his poisoned blade. In the ensuing scuffle, they switch weapons and Hamlet wounds Laertes with his own poisoned sword. Gertrude collapses and, claiming she has been poisoned, dies. In his dying moments, Laertes reconciles with Hamlet and reveals Claudius's plan. Hamlet rushes at Claudius and kills him. As the poison takes effect, Hamlet, hearing that Fortinbras is marching through the area, names the Norwegian prince as his successor. Horatio, distraught at the thought of being the last survivor and living whist Hamlet does not, says he will commit suicide by drinking the dregs of Gertrude's poisoned wine, but Hamlet begs him to live on and tell his story. Hamlet dies in Horatio's arms, proclaiming "the rest is silence". Fortinbras, who was ostensibly marching towards Poland with his army, arrives at the palace, along with an English ambassador bringing news of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern's deaths. Horatio promises to recount the full story of what happened, and Fortinbras, seeing the entire Danish royal family dead, takes the crown for himself.
In the literary classic, Hamlet by William Shakespeare, controversy meets corruption. The monarch of Denmark, King Hamlet, is murdered by his jealous brother, Claudius. While the son of the king, Prince Hamlet, is away at school, Claudius seizes the throne and marries the adulterous Queen Gertrude. Hamlet returns to Denmark finding his father dead, his mother remarried, and his uncle the king. Grief succumbs Hamlet and his only relief is from the truth told by the ghost of his late father. The ghost reveals the true nature of his death and relies on Hamlet to avenge his wrongful end. The plot thickens, as Hamlet must find a way to expose Claudius' evil ways and regain the throne as the rightful ruler. Throughout the play, the true characters of Hamlet and Claudius are revealed in their entirety, both exhibiting the potential to be good or evil. One in the same, yet the two sides of every man, Hamlet and Claudius must survive each other.
SparkNotes: Hamlet: Analysis of Major Characters
Hamlet and Claudius are both ambitious. They'll do what it takes to get what they want. Claudius wanted to be king, while Hamlet wanted to avenge his father's death.