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(William Shakespeare)

Hamlet, the great tragedy play by William Shakespeare, is considered
one of Shakespeare's greatest works, and probably one of the greatest
plays of all times. In this play the king of Denmark, King
Hamlet, has died, and Claudius has taken the thrown (and the dead
king's wife, Gertrude). Hamlet, the dead king's son, is the focus of
the play.

At the beginning of the play, the dead king's ghost is seen by several
witnesses, who tell Hamlet of this. Hamlet's dead father tells
him that Claudius murdered him, and Hamlet becomes furious. He
begins to act insane, and no one in the palace can figure out
why. Hamlet had been sort of involved with a girl named Ophelia,
daughter of Polonius, Claudius's chief councillor. So the king's
household has a theory that something to do with their relationship is
why Hamlet is so upset.

Hamlet does indeed have a conversation with Ophelia, in which he tells
her that he cannot or will not be with her. He even goes so far
as to tell her to go become a nun. This devastates Ophelia, and
she really does become pretty much insane, eventually drowning herself.
Hamlet is still acting insane, often giving long rants about death or
such. He decides to put on a play in which the basic plot of his
father's death is portrayed, to see if Claudius reacts, so that Hamlet
will know for sure if Claudius is to blame. The play goes as
Hamlet figured, and Claudius makes it obvious to Hamlet that he is
indeed the killer.

Everyone is trying to send Hamlet away, so that he will not bother them
anymore, and hopefully regain sanity. Gertrude calls Hamlet into
her room to talk to him privately, (though Polonius is hiding behind a
curtain to listen in) and they have a slightly sarcastic and biting
conversation. Polonius does not turn out to be very good at
hiding, however, and Hamlet kills him. Hamlet then confronts his mother
about his father's death and she is shocked and feels guilty for
marrying so soon after her husband's death, especially marrying his

Meanwhile, Laertes, son of Polonius and brother of Ophelia, finds out
that his father has been killed by Hamlet, and his sister made insane
and drowned because of him, so he gets quite angry at him and plots
with Claudius for his death. He and Hamlet have a heated exchange
of words at Ophelia's funeral. Eventually a fencing match is arranged
between Hamlet and Laertes to settle their differences in a civilized
way. However, Claudius has arranged for Laertes blade to be
tipped in poisin, so that if he draws blood, Hamlet will die. He
also poisons a goblet for Hamlet to drink from should Hamlet be the
better fencer.

Hamlet gets the first hit, but will not drink from the goblet.
Gertrude, however, takes the cup for her son, and is killed by the
poison. Eventually Laertes does injur Hamlet, but he does not die
right away. Somehow Laertes ends up being wounded by his own
sword, and dies from the poison. Hamlet takes the poisoned sword
and stabs Claudius with it, getting his revenge and dying immediately

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