Hamlet, the Prince of Denmark, is distraught when his father dies. When the ghost of the older Hamlet appears to tell his son that he was murdered, the shock waves set in a motion a deadly chain of events. Hamlet sets a trap for Claudius and once he knows that the new king is definitely guilty plans to get revenge.
Claudius hastily married King Hamlet's widow, GertrudeHamlet's mother, and took the throne for himself. Denmark has a long-standing feud with neighbouring Norway, in which King Hamlet slew King Fortinbras of Norway in a battle some years ago.
Although Denmark defeated Norway, and the Norwegian throne fell to King Fortinbras's infirm brother, Denmark fears that an invasion led by the dead Norwegian king's son, Prince Fortinbrasis imminent. On a cold night on the ramparts of Elsinorethe Danish royal castle, the sentries Bernardo and Marcellus discuss a ghost resembling the late King Hamlet which they have recently seen, and bring Prince Hamlet's friend Horatio as a witness.
After the ghost appears again, the three vow to tell Prince Hamlet what they have witnessed. As the court gathers the next day, while King Claudius and Queen Gertrude discuss affairs of state with their elderly adviser PoloniusHamlet looks on glumly.
During the court, Claudius grants permission for Polonius's son Laertes to return to school in France, and sends envoys to inform the King of Norway about Fortinbras.
Claudius also scolds Hamlet for continuing to grieve over his father, and forbids him to return to his schooling in Wittenberg. After the court exits, Hamlet despairs of his father's death and his mother's hasty remarriage. Learning of the ghost from Horatio, Hamlet resolves to see it himself.
Horatio, Hamlet, and the ghost Artist: Henry Fuseli As Polonius's son Laertes prepares to depart for a visit to France, Polonius gives him contradictory advice that culminates in the ironic maxim "to thine own self be true.
That night on the rampart, the ghost appears to Hamlet, telling the prince that he was murdered by Claudius and demanding that Hamlet avenge him.
Hamlet agrees and the ghost vanishes. The prince confides to Horatio and the sentries that from now on he plans to "put an antic disposition on", or act as though he has gone mad, and forces them to swear to keep his plans for revenge secret.
Privately, however, he remains uncertain of the ghost's reliability. Act II[ edit ] Soon thereafter, Ophelia rushes to her father, telling him that Hamlet arrived at her door the prior night half-undressed and behaving erratically. Polonius blames love for Hamlet's madness and resolves to inform Claudius and Gertrude.
As he enters to do so, the king and queen finish welcoming Rosencrantz and Guildensterntwo student acquaintances of Hamlet, to Elsinore. The royal couple has requested that the students investigate the cause of Hamlet's mood and behaviour.
Additional news requires that Polonius wait to be heard: The forces that Fortinbras had conscripted to march against Denmark will instead be sent against Poland, though they will pass through Danish territory to get there.
Polonius tells Claudius and Gertrude his theory regarding Hamlet's behaviour, and speaks to Hamlet in a hall of the castle to try to uncover more information. Hamlet feigns madness but subtly insults Polonius all the while.
When Rosencrantz and Guildenstern arrive, Hamlet greets his "friends" warmly, but quickly discerns that they are spies. Hamlet becomes bitter, admitting that he is upset at his situation but refusing to give the true reason why, instead commenting on " what a piece of work " humanity is.
Rosencrantz and Guildenstern tell Hamlet that they have brought along a troupe of actors that they met while traveling to Elsinore. Hamlet, after welcoming the actors and dismissing his friends-turned-spies, asks them to deliver a soliloquy about the death of King Priam and Queen Hecuba at the climax of the Trojan War.
Impressed by their delivery of the speech, he plots to stage The Murder of Gonzago, a play featuring a death in the style of his father's murder, and to determine the truth of the ghost's story, as well as Claudius's guilt or innocence, by studying Claudius's reaction.
Act III[ edit ] Polonius forces Ophelia to return Hamlet's love letters and tokens of affection to the prince while he and Claudius watch from afar to evaluate Hamlet's reaction.
Hamlet is walking alone in the hall as the King and Polonius await Ophelia's entrance, musing whether " to be or not to be ". When Ophelia enters and tries to return Hamlet's things, Hamlet accuses her of immodesty and cries "get thee to a nunnery", though it is unclear whether this, too, is a show of madness or genuine distress.
His reaction convinces Claudius that Hamlet is not mad for love. Shortly thereafter, the court assembles to watch the play Hamlet has commissioned. After seeing the Player King murdered by his rival pouring poison in his ear, Claudius abruptly rises and runs from the room:HAMLET: An Introduction Hamlet is without question the most famous play in the English language.
Probably written in or , this tragedy is a milestone in Shakespeare's dramatic development; the playwright achieved. The Signet Classics edition of William Shakespeare's incomparable tragic play. "To be, or not to be: that is the question" There is arguably no work of fiction quoted as often as William Shakespeare's Hamlet.
This haunting tragedy of a troubled Danish prince devoted to avenging his father's death has captivated audiences for centuries/5(K). The Signet Classics edition of William Shakespeare's incomparable tragic play. "To be, or not to be: that is the question" There is arguably no work of fiction quoted as often as William Shakespeare's Hamlet.
This haunting tragedy of a troubled Danish prince devoted to avenging his father's death has captivated audiences for centuries.4/5(1). WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE’S HAMLET Note: More detailed information about Elizabethan tragedy can be found in the Introduction by Edward Hubler in the Signet Classic edition of Hamlet.
A Teacher’s Guide to the Signet Classic Edition of William Shakespeare’s Hamlet 3. Hamlet by William Shakespeare: Introduction Hamlet is the first tragedy in Shakespeare's series of great tragedies which is believed to be published in between and However, an issue on whether a work is indeed a tragedy of a comedy is reflected on William Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice.
The play is classified under a comedy, and yet, there have been considerable arguments on whether the play in actuality is a tragedy.