The King and Laertes are discussing the crime that has been committed by Hamlet when a messenger arrives bearing a letter announcing Hamlet's impending return. Claudius requests that Laertes help to kill the Prince. Laertes, seeking to avenge his father is all too willing. He plans to poison his sword and use it to slay Hamlet. The king agrees to this plan and says that if it fails, he will give Hamlet a poisoned cup of wine. The Queen enters and announces that Ophelia has drowned. Laertes laments her death and leaves. Claudius tells Gertrude that he has been calming Laertes and that they should follow lest this news cause his temper to flare again.