Hamlet is arguably one of the best-written plays of William Shakespeare. Within every great piece of literary art, there is a climax, or a moment in the story where it reaches its peek. In Hamlet, there are three scenes that can be debated as the turning point. These scenes are, a play-within-a-play, the prayer scene, and the scene from Gertrudes room. In each of these scenes there is an intense moment which, depending on the readers point of view, can be viewed as the turning point. Through critical analysis the climactic scene will be proven to be the play-within-a-play.
The plot behind the story of Hamlet is that a ghost claiming to be Hamlets father has told the Prince of Denmark, that Claudius has murdered him to marry Gertrude, and to become king. The ghost wants Hamlet to kill Claudius in revenge for killing him, and claims it is his duty as his only son. Based on the ghosts words alone, Hamlet does not want to kill Claudius because it is morally wrong, even though he hates him for marrying his mother. And while the ghost may look very much like his father, Hamlet is not sure whether or not the ghost truly is his father or not. To test the validity of the ghosts accusations, Hamlet devises a plan to see if Claudius is guilty for the alleged acts. The method he uses is in the scene known as a play-within-a-play. In act three scene two, Hamlet instructs the actors of how to perform a play that he wishes it to be performed. This play re-enacts the death of King Hamlet by the poison of Claudius, according to the late King himself. During the play King Claudius asks, What do you call the play? and in response Hamlet slowly answers, the Mousetrap, (Shakespeare III.ii lines 260-261). As the play continues, Horatio watches Claudius and notices discomfort as he watches the play, and at the very end when the Player King has died, Claudius immediately stands up and storms out of the room. This scene is the turning point of the play because it answers the question of Hamlet as to whether or not the ghost is his father, and if he is telling the truth. By the reaction Claudius it is clear that he is guilty of the murder of Hamlets father. At this point, Hamlet has just reason to have revenge on Claudius and kill him. With his justifiable reason, Hamlet searches for his moment to kill Claudius, his first opportunity is in the prayer scene.Order now
The prayer scene is another scene that can controversially be called the turning point. In this scene Claudius confesses through his prayers in his soliloquy that he is the murderer of his brother. As he prays he says that he cannot be forgiven for his foul murder. I am still possessed of those effects for which I did the murder: my crown, mine own ambition and my queen, (Shakespeare III.iii lines 57-59). By this Claudius states that he isnt sorry for what he did because, essentially he feels that being King, and having what he has now, is worth killing his own brother. As he prays Hamlet is close by and is ready to kill him. He with draws his sword and gets ready to impale him until he realizes that killing Claudius while he is praying will only send him to heaven. Hamlets revenge is only worth it if he will send Claudius to hell. Therefore, he decides to kill Claudius when he is in the act of sinning to ensure his fate. Although this was an intense seen where Claudius admits openly to killing his brother and that he is not sorry, the scene is not as climactic as the previously discussed play-within-a-play. This scene does show that Hamlet is serious in his vindication, but his judgment is not clouded by it. This is proven when he realizes that during prayer is not the time to kill his uncle.
The final of the three climactic scenes is when Hamlet talks with his mother Gertrude. The scene begins as Gertrude attempting to talk to Hamlet about his behavior