|Act 4 Scene 1
||Gertrude reports Polonius’s death to Claudius, who sends Rosencrantz and Guildenstern to find Hamlet and recover the body
|Act 4 scene 2
||Hamlet refuses to tell Rosencrantz and Guildenstern where he has put Polonius’s body
|Act 4 scene 3
||Hamlet is brought to Claudius, who tells him that he is to leave immediately for England. Alone, at the end of the scene, Claudius discloses to the audience that he is sending Hamlet to his death
|Act 4 scene 4
||Fortinbras and his army march across Hamlet’s path on their way to Poland. Hamlet finds in Fortinbras’s vigorous activity a model for himself in avenging his father’s murder; Hamlet resolves upon bloody action
|Act 4 scene 5
||Reports reach Gertrude that Ophelia is mad. Ophelia enters singing about death and betrayal. After Ophelia is gone, Claudius agonizes over her madness and over the stir created by the return of an angry Laertes. When Laertes breaks in on Claudius and Gertrude, Claudius asserts his innocence with regard to Polonius’s death. The reappearance of the mad Ophelia is devastating to Laertes.
|Act 4 scene 6
||Horatio is given a letter from Hamlet telling of the prince’s boarding of a pirate ship and his subsequent return in Denmark
|Act 4 scene 7
||Claudius, in conversation with Laertes, also gets a letter from Hamlet announcing the princes return. Claudius enlists Laertes willing help in devising another plot against Hamlet’s life. Laertes agrees to kill hamlet with a poisoned rapier in a fencing match. If he fails, Claudius will give Hamlet a poisoned cup of wine. Gertrude interrupts their plotting to announce that Ophelia has drowned
|Act 5 scene 1
||Hamlet, returned from his journey, enters a graveyard with shortstop where a grave digger is singing as he digs. Hamlet is trying to find out who the grave is for and meditates in the skulls that are being dug up. A funeral procession approaches. Hamlet soon realized that the corpse is Ophelia’s. When Laertes in his grief leaps into her grave and curses Hamlet as the cause of Ophelia’s death, hamlet comes forward. He and Laertes struggle, with Hamlet protesting his own love and grief for Ophelia.
|Act 5 scene 2
||In the hall of the castle, hamlet tells Horatio how he discovered the Kings plot against him and how he turned the tables on Rosencrantz and Guildenstern. Osric enters to ask, on Claudius’s behalf, that Hamlet fence with Laertes. Hamlet agrees to the contest despite his misgivings. Hamlet is winning the match when Gertrude drinks from the poisoned cup that Claudius has prepared for Hamlet. Laertes then wounds Hamlet with the poisoned rapier. In the scuffle that follows, Hamlet forces an exchange of rapiers, and Hamlet wounds Laertes. As Gertrude dies, Laertes, himself dying, disclosed his and Claudius’s plot against Hamlet. Hamlet kills Claudius. Before Hamlet dies, he asks Horatio to tell the full story that has led to these deaths and names Fortinbras heir to the Danish throne. After Hamlet’s death, Fortinbras arrives, claims the crown, and orders a military funeral for Hamlet.