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.
Having been summoned home to Denmark from school in Germany to attend his father's funeral, he is shocked to find his mother Gertrude already remarried. The Queen has wed Hamlet's Uncle Claudiusthe dead king's brother.
To Hamlet, the marriage is "foul incest. Hamlet suspects foul play. When his father's ghost visits the castle, Hamlet's suspicions are confirmed. The Ghost complains that he is unable to rest in peace because he was murdered.
Claudius, says the Ghost, poured poison in King Hamlet's ear while the old king napped. Unable to confess and find salvation, King Hamlet is now consigned, for a time, to spend his days in Purgatory and walk the earth by night. He entreats Hamlet to avenge his death, but to spare Gertrude, to let Heaven decide her fate.
Hamlet vows to affect madness — puts "an antic disposition on" — to wear a mask that will enable him to observe the interactions in the castle, but finds himself more confused than ever.
In his persistent confusion, he questions the Ghost's trustworthiness. What if the Ghost is not a true spirit, but rather an agent of the devil sent to tempt him?
What if killing Claudius results in Hamlet's having to relive his memories for all eternity? Hamlet agonizes over what he perceives as his cowardice because he cannot stop himself from thinking.
Words immobilize Hamlet, but the world he lives in prizes action. In order to test the Ghost's sincerity, Hamlet enlists the help of a troupe of players who perform a play called The Murder of Gonzago to which Hamlet has added scenes that recreate the murder the Ghost described.
Hamlet calls the revised play The Mousetrap, and the ploy proves a success. As Hamlet had hoped, Claudius' reaction to the staged murder reveals the King to be conscience-stricken.
Claudius leaves the room because he cannot breathe, and his vision is dimmed for want of light.
Convinced now that Claudius is a villain, Hamlet resolves to kill him. But, as Hamlet observes, "conscience doth make cowards of us all.
The first death belongs to Poloniuswhom Hamlet stabs through a wallhanging as the old man spies on Hamlet and Gertrude in the Queen's private chamber. Claudius punishes Hamlet for Polonius' death by exiling him to England. He has brought Hamlet's school chums Rosencrantz and Guildenstern to Denmark from Germany to spy on his nephew, and now he instructs them to deliver Hamlet into the English king's hands for execution.
Hamlet discovers the plot and arranges for the hanging of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern instead. Opheliadistraught over her father's death and Hamlet's behavior, drowns while singing sad love songs bemoaning the fate of a spurned lover.
Her brother, Laertesfalls next. Laertes, returned to Denmark from France to avenge his father's death, witnesses Ophelia's descent into madness.In Hamlet, by William Shakespeare, Hamlet struggles with these and other issues.
He states that the question of life is “To be, or not to be ” Is existence really worth the troubles of life In this monologue, Hamlet is wondering what is his purpose.
In the play, Hamlet grapples with his position in a corrupt court, where surveillance intrudes on individual’s lives, and there is an apparent lack of justice: ‘Denmark is a prison’ ().
Violent revenge appears to be the only way to achieve resolution for his anger and frustration. Plot Overview. On a dark winter night, a ghost walks the ramparts of Elsinore Castle in Denmark. Discovered first by a pair of watchmen, then by the scholar Horatio, the ghost resembles the recently deceased King Hamlet, whose brother Claudius has inherited the throne and married the king’s widow, Queen Gertrude.
An Analysis of the Characters in Hamlet Hamlet by William Shakespeare has been considered by many critics as one of the best plays in English literature.
It has also been considered as one of the best tragedies among the many Shakespeare wrote.
First performed around , Hamlet tells the story of a prince whose duty to revenge his father’s death entangles him in philosophical problems he can’t solve.
Shakespeare’s best-known play is widely regarded as the most influential literary work ever written. Read a character analysis of Hamlet, plot summary, and important quotes.
Analysis of the Characters in Hamlet Introduction to Hamlet The Hamlet and Ophelia Subplot The Norway (Fortinbras) Subplot Seneca's Tragedies and the Elizabethan Drama Shakespeare's Sources Hamlet was brought back to the stage by author and entrepreneur, William Davenant, and the play's popularity has been constant ever since.