The play opens with Prince Hamlet depressed over his father's
death and his mother's
decision to marry the new king, Claudius, after only two months. Hamlet
goes to the ramparts
after Horatio, his confident, tells him he saw a ghost. That
evening, the ghost of King Hamlet
tells Hamlet that his brother, Claudius, killed him. Hamlet swears
to avenge the murder. Polonius
discloses to King Claudius and Queen Gertrude that he suspects Hamlet's
madness stems from his
love for Ophelia, Polonius' daughter. Hamlet arranges for a play in
which the actors perform a
scene similar to the actual murder of King Hamlet. Upon seeing the
scene, Claudius calls for lights
and storms out of the room.
Claudius prays and Hamlet hears him confessing
to the murder and attempting to absolve
himself of sin. Hamlet refuses to take action since Claudius
may go to heaven. Hamlet speaks
with Gertrude, and Polonius hides and listens to the conversation from
behind a curtain. Hamlet
hears Polonius and kills him. Claudius sends Hamlet to England because
of the murder. Laertes
returns to Elsinore after hearing of his father's death, and Claudius
tells him to blame Hamlet.
Hamlet returns, and Claudius advises Laertes to duel with Hamlet. Claudius
plans to have Laertes
kill Hamlet with a poisoned tip sword. To ensure Hamlet's death,
Claudius intends to present
Hamlet with a poisoned goblet of wine. Gertrude tells Claudius and
Laertes that Ophelia drowned
in a creek.
The duel begins and Hamlet scores two hits. Gertrude grabs the
poisoned goblet and
drinks to Hamlet's fortune. Laertes manages to wound Hamlet, but in
the scuffle they exchange
swords and Hamlet injures Laertes. Gertrude falls and says Claudius
poisoned her. Laertes tells
Hamlet he will die as well, and Claudius planned everything.
Hamlet stabs Claudius and kills him.Quotes
?King: Though yet of Hamlet our dear brother's death
The memory be green, and that it us befitted
To bear our hearts in grief, and our whole kingdom
To be contracted in one brow of woe,
Yet so far hath discretion fought with nature
That we with wisest sorrow think on him
Together with remembrance of ourselves.?
Act 1, Sc 2, lines 1-7. The King mourns the death of the previous
king. However, this is ironic since he killed the old king.
?Ghost: I am thy father's spirit,
Doom'd for a certain term to walk the night,
And for the day confin'd to fast in fires,
Till the foul crimes done in my days of nature
Are burnt and purg'd away. But that I am forbid
To tell the secrets of my prison house,
I could a tale unfold whose lightest word
Would harrow up thy soul, freeze thy young blood,
Make thy two eyes, like stars, start from their spheres,
Thy knotted and combined locks to part,
And each particular hair to stand an end
Like quills upon the fretful porpentine.?
Act 1, sc 5, lines 9-20. The ghost explains to Hamlet that he
is Hamlet?s father and that Claudius murdered him.
?Hamlet: To be, or not to be- that is the question:
Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles,
And by opposing end them. To die- to sleep-
No more; and by a sleep to say we end
The heartache, and the thousand natural shocks
That flesh is heir to. 'Tis a consummation
Devoutly to be wish'd. To die- to sleep.?
Act 3, sc 1, lines 55-63. This is Hamlet?s famous soliloquy where
he contemplates getting revenge for the death of his father and suicide.
?Laertes: It is here, Hamlet. Hamlet, thou art slain;
No medicine in the world can do thee good.
In thee there is not half an hour of life.
The treacherous instrument is in thy hand,
Unbated and envenom'd. The foul practice
Hath turn'd itself on me. Lo, here I lie,
Never to rise again. Thy mother's poison'd.
I can no more. The King, the King's to blame.?
Act 5, sc 2, lines 270-279. Laertes seems to be sorry for dueling
have thoughts of friendship return to him. He
does not want to die with Hamlet as his enemy.