In 5.2, Gertrude’s defiant drinking from the poisoned wine goblet (“I will, my lord. I pray you, pardon me”) and her damning contradiction of Claudius’ excuse for her fainting (“She swoons to see them bleed”) prompts Laertes’ confession (“The king’s to blame”) and Hamlet’s killing of the man who killed his father.
Not knowing about Laertes’ poison-tipped sword, Gertrude dies believing her last act on earth was to save the life of her son, with her cry: “Hamlet … the drink! I am poison’d.”
However, her son’s parting words to Claudius (“Follow my mother”) suggest it will be in the company of the prince’s villainous uncle rather than his murdered father that the “wretched queen” will be eternally united.
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