William Shakespeare's Hamlet the Bard's most famous play is the story of a young man's idealism utterly destroyed
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Hamlet, Prince of Denmark

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Hamlet Play

Hamlet begins with the news King Hamlet of Denmark has recently died. Denmark is now preparing for possible war with Young Fortinbras of Norway. A ghost resembling the late King is spotted near Elsinore Castle. King Claudius, who now rules Denmark, has married Queen Gertrude, the late King's wife. Hamlet, the late King's son, does not trust the new King nor does he approve of his mother Queen Gertrude remarrying so quickly after his father's death... Polonius warns his daughter Ophelia against falling in love with Hamlet; fearing he will only break her heart.

Hamlet meets the Ghost of his father, who reveals he was poisoned by King Claudius and who tells him to avenge his death but not to punish Queen Gertrude for remarrying since it is not his place. Polonius learns from Ophelia that a badly dressed Hamlet met her, studied her face and promptly left, Polonius believing this odd behaviour is because Ophelia rejected him as he instructed her to. Concearned, King Claudius instructs courtiers Rosencrantz and Guildenstern to spy for him on his son in law. Queen Gertrude believes the cause is her recent remarriage and the death of his father.

Hamlet is eager for King Claudius and Queen Gertrude to watch a play he has added some lines to which he hopes will reveal if the Ghost's words about King Claudius are true... Hamlet begins to suspect Ophelia is spying on him and is increasingly hostile to her. The play is performed. The mime preceding the play which mimics the Ghost's description of the late King's death goes unnoticed. The main play called "The Murder of Gonzago" is performed, causing King Claudius to react in a way which proves the Ghost's words were true... Alone, King Claudius reveals his guilt... Queen Gertrude attempts to scold her son over the play but is instead scolded for remarrying. Queen Gertrude cries out in fear, Polonius echoing it and being stabbed through the curtain where he was listening in. Hamlet continues scolding his mother but the Ghost reappears, telling him to be gentle with the Queen. Queen Gertrude agrees to stop living with King Claudius...

King Claudius learns of Polonius' murder, shocked that it could easily have been him. Queen Gertrude lies for her son, saying that he is mad. King Claudius, now scared, decides to have Hamlet sent away to England immediately, King Claudius revealing his plan to have him killed there. Young Fortinbras marches across Denmark. Hamlet wishes he was courageous like Fortinbras, questioning how he cannot fight when his father has been murdered and his mother made a whore by marrying King Claudius. Ophelia who goes mad from the grief of losing her father... King Claudius meets Laertes, telling him that Hamlet killed his father, the two then plotting to kill him at a fencing match.

At Ophelia's burial, Hamlet fights Laertes over Ophelia's grave, each believing they loved her more. Hamlet explains to his only trusted friend Horatio how he avoided the death planned for him in England and had Rosencrantz and Guildenstern killed instead, revealing his desire to kill King Claudius. Queen Gertrude drinks a poisoned cup meant for her son, dying but not before revealing she was poisoned. Hamlet fences against Laertes but is cut by Laertes sword. The two switch swords and Laertes is cut by his own sword, Laertes explaining that his sword was poison tipped. Now dying, Hamlet stabs King Claudius with this same sword, killing him and telling Horatio to tell his story and not to commit suicide, recommending Young Fortinbras as the next King of Denmark. Young Fortinbras arrives, Horatio promising to tell his friend's story.


Dramatis Personæ

Act I
Scene I, Scene II, Scene III, Scene IV, Scene V

Act II
Scene I,
Scene II

Scene I, Scene II, Scene III, Scene IV

Act IV
Scene I, Scene II, Scene III, Scene IV, Scene V, Scene VI, Scene VII

Act V
Scene I, Scene II

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