In thee there is not half an hour of life.

Why does Hamlet last so much longer than Laertes?

(I mean, aside from dramatic necessity, of course.)

They wound each other at approximately the same time – though, Hamlet is, in fact, wounded first – and one assumes that Laertes’ cut of Hamlet is deeper than the one Hamlet gave Laertes, if only because Laertes intends to kill Hamlet.

I feel like I’ve seen productions wherein they answer this question by making Hamlet wound Laertes more intensely than he was wounded but I don’t love that as a solution.

I mean…it feels to me more that Hamlet has more reason to continue to live. He has a lot to do before he shuffles off his mortal coil. He’s got to find out what happened to his mom and take care of the treachery and that’s before he knows for sure how guilty his uncle is. I think Hamlet’s adrenaline is pumping.

Laertes knows he’s dead as soon as he gets hit and he has nothing to do but confess and die.

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