Hamlet Act Iii Climax

9 September 2016

In The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark Shakespeare uses personification, allusion, and a rhetorical question to advocate that the climatic moment of Act III is when King Claudius admits to the murder of King Hamlet because, by definition, it is the act that turns the action of the scene around, leading toward an inevitable conclusion. Shakespeare uses personification when King Claudius says that “[his] offense is rank, it smells to heaven” (line 36).

Claudius’ guilt of killing his very own brother, King Hamlet, is constantly on his conscious, which is why he gives the “offense” the trait of a rank smell, something whose presence is constant and putrid. The purpose of personifying Claudius’ “offense” to have a smell that reaches to heaven is because Claudius is aware that heaven is where King Hamlet’s spirit lies due to his own fault, and his admit to the murder will drive the scene to an inevitable conclusion because he has released key information to a driving mystery in the plot line.

Hamlet Act Iii Climax Essay Example

Shakespeare makes a biblical allusion to Abel and Cain in lines 37-38 of the play when Claudius says that his “offense […] hath the primal eldest curse upon’t, / A brother’s murder! ”. Shakespeare is atoning that murder is never outdated; no matter the era or the place, the murder of a brother by a brother is never acceptable in the eyes of society or God. This allusion purposefully informs us that King Claudius did kill his brother, King Hamlet, as a warning that falling action concerning Claudius’ unforgivable acts is to proceed. Claudius rhetorically asks, “O, what form of prayer / Can serve my turn? ” (lines 51-52).

Claudius’ asks this with the knowledge that there is no form of prayer that would serve his turn because his acts were unforgivable and he must face the consequences for them. Rhetorical questions are always immediately answered, whether directly or indirectly, and King Claudius’ question is consequently to be answered via the falling action that is to proceed after his soliloquy. In King Claudius’ soliloquy in Act III he admits to the murder of his own brother, the late King Hamlet, while also admitting that it is unforgivable, giving the act nowhere else to turn, but to conclusive consequences to King Claudius’ faulty actions.

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