1. What means does Shakespeare use to raise suspense during the graveyard scene?
The most obvious means is a visual cue. There is an open grave on the stage. We know it is Ophelia's, but Hamlet, despite his best efforts, does not. The tension of the scene on account of this dramatic irony rises from the point at which Hamlet attempts to discover the identity of the deceased at line 99, to the point at which he finds out at line 209. The open grave is also a sign of the death which awaits all the major characters at the end of the play. We have come from the plotting of Hamlet's death in IV.vii to Hamlet jesting unknowingly beside an open grave. The jokes themselves, set against the grave and the knowledge that Hamlet will die shortly might be said to raise the tension. Hamlet's fight with Laertes raises the suspense because it intensifies the aggression between these characters, an aggression which will of course reach its climax in the following scene. Lastly, Claudius promises to put the plan for Hamlet's death into immediate operation at line 262, raising our expectation of catastrophe in the following scene. 2. What means does Shakespeare use to raise suspense during the fencing match?
As with the graveyard scene, there is a strong sense of dramatic irony in the suspense of this scene. We know that the sword Laertes holds is sharpened and poisoned, and that the drink is poisoned too, but Hamlet doesn't. Shakespeare heightens the effect of these two pieces of knowledge. he has Hamlet better at fencing than Laertes. This way, the fencing match is lengthened, the tension is raised, and Laertes must compound