William Shakespeare’s masterpiece, "Hamlet, Prince of Denmark" is a tragic drama which revolves around the themes of betrayal, vengeance and procrastination. Although these concepts are shown throughout the play, they are especially shown in Act V, Scene I. This scene is of great importance because it revolves around the three basic ideas of the play. It exemplifies how these three particular ideas lead to the downfall of almost all of the major characters.
The scene opens with two gravediggers preparing a site for Ophelia’s burial. As they dig, they discuss the questionable circumstances of her death. They ponder whether her drowning was intentional or accidental. Hamlet and Horatio, unaware of who is going to be buried at this site, enter and start a conversation with one of them. The First Gravedigger tells them of his job and how he has buried people from all walks of life. This leads Hamlet to ponder death. As the conversation continues that a skull the gravedigger was playing with belonged to an old court jester, he once knew. He starts discus how death makes even the most powerful men, like Caeser, nothing but dust, but his speech is interrupted by Ophelia‘s, funeral procession. Hamlet and Horatio hide to observe what is happening and determine whose death everyone is mourning. As they watch Claudius, Gertrude and Laertes lament for the unknown person, it is learned that Ophelia is only entitled to limited rites due to the questionable circumstances behind her death. The identity of the deceased is revealed to Hamlet when the grief-stricken Laertes speaks of his sorrow over the passing of his dear sister. Overcome by emotion, Hamlet reveals himself to everyone. He exclaims the he loved Ophelia more than anyone else, including Laertes, ever could. This enrages Laertes and he attacks the prince. After a brief fight between the two, Hamlet leaves. The scene ends as King Claudius attempts to calm Laertes down with the idea that revenge against Hamlet is coming.
The events of this scene all could have been prevented if it wasn’t for the three wrong acts the main characters in this play contain. The first is betrayal. Which is an indirect cause of not only Ophelia’s death, but also every other tragedy in this drama. The murder of King Hamlet is the first example of this. Claudius’ despicable act of poisoning his brother and marrying his wife is the most prominent act of betrayal in the play.