Act V-Scene 2: The Climax
In Act V-Scene 2, as the play begins with Hamlet fill in the detail of what happened to him since he left Denmark, Hamlet concedes that there was a kind of fighting in his heart. But clearly his inner struggle has been manifested from the time of his first appearance in this play. Now it is to hear no more expression of self-approach or doubts that he will act positively against Claudius. What is impressive is his decisiveness. He is able to formulate a plan and to execute it without delay. He has found man's wisdom, or reason, to have its limitation: fortune, accident, chance - call it that what it will and can determine the course of events, as his own experience aboard the ship proves. He was able to find in the dark the commission for his own death; by chance, he had in his possession his father's signet for sealing the forged document.
No less by chance, the pirates proved kind and, for sufficient compensation, they returned him to Denmark.
Throughout the play, after we have itemized Claudius' major crimes, the Prince does not receive an answer to his question, one which is basic to his status as a moral symbol in the play:
- is't not perfect conscience,
To quit him with this arm? And is't not to be damn'd,
To let this canker of out nature come
In further evil?
It has been seen here a Hamlet who is still in doubt, still troubled by his conscience; and his view should not be ignored, if only because it illustrates once more the difficulties of interpretation. One may argue that there is no need for Horatio to answer Hamlet's question since he has already expressed deep shock at the latest evidence...