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(William Shakespeare)

Hamlet, the Prince of Denmark, probably one of
Shakespeare?s most well known and oft-quoted tragedies, is
the story of a son?s refusal to let his father?s death go
unpunished. Shortly after the death of his father, the King
of Denmark, Hamlet finds his mother remarried to his
father?s brother. This deeply offends the young prince, who
comments upon the frailty of women and the mutability of

Gertrude, his mother, attempts to get Hamlet to leave his
grief for his father behind and rejoice in the many
festivities which are occurring around the castle. She and
her new husband, Claudius, are also in delicate
negotiations with Fortinbras, the son the man Fortinbras
who used to be in control of Denmark before Hamlet?s father
took the kingdom by force from him. It seems that Denmark
is in a delicate state at the moment with war on the brink
between Fortinbras? army and Denmark.

Hamlet, however, is given news by his friend, Horatio, of
strange events which have occurred on the walls of the
castle at night. It appears that a strange apparition which
bares a strong resemblance to the former king have appeared
over the past few nights. Hamlet, intrigued, goes up to see
the apparition himself. He finds himself talking to the
ghost of his father who tells Hamlet that he was murdered
by his brother Claudius and it is Hamlet?s duty to take
revenge upon him.

Unfortunately for Hamlet, the young man does not have the
nature of a man of action. He has to think things through
and decide whether this ghost is actually that of his
father and telling the truth, or that of a demon spirit out
to cause his undoing.

During the interim, Hamlet decides to feign madness and
thus discover for himself whether Claudius is a murderer or

The new king and his wife are deeply disturbed by Hamlet?s
behavior and they send for Rosencrantz and Guildenstern to
discover the cause. They also think that Hamlet may be in
love with Ophelia, Polonius? daughter, and use the poor
lady as an object of their schemes.

Inevitably, through a play of Hamlet?s design, he discovers
that Claudius did in fact murder his brother to gain the
thrown. However, Hamlet confronting his mother in her
chamber, mistakes Polonius for Claudius and kills the wrong
man. He is shipped off for England to be executed by the
King there at the instruction of Rosencrantz and
Guildenstern, but has them executed instead and returns to
Denmark. There he finds Ophelia has gone mad from grief for
her father, and had drowned herself. Laertes, Ophelia?s
brother, vows vengeance on Hamlet and through a plot of
Claudius? engages him in a fencing tournament. Claudius
poisons both a drink for Hamlet and the sword of Laertes,
to finally put an end to Hamlet. However, things get mixed
up as usual and not only Hamlet but his mother and Laertes
all die from the poison. Hamlet does finally get revenge
upon Claudius though, for he kills Claudius with both the
drink and the sword, thus ending him and the others.
Fortinbras is left to take over the kingdom in peace.

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