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Summary of Hamlet

What Happens in Hamlet?

❶In Act I, scene iii of Hamlet , the character of Polonius prepares his son Laertes for travel abroad with a speech ll.

Hamlet's Delay

William Shakespeare
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As Hamlet goes to meet his mother in her chambers, Polonius conceals himself behind a tapestry to listen in on their conversation. When Hamlet hears someone behind the tapestry, he thrusts his sword through it, killing Polonius. Desperate to maintain order, Claudius decides to send Hamlet accompanied by Rosencrantz and Guildenstern to England at once. In secret, Claudius drafts a letter to England, instructing that Hamlet be killed immediately upon arrival.

Ophelia is driven mad by the loss of her father and ultimately drowns after falling into a brook. Enraged by the untimely deaths of his father and sister, young Laertes returns to court, and Claudius persuades Laertes to help get rid of Hamlet once and for all.

When Hamlet returns to Elsinore, Claudius arranges a public fencing match between Hamlet and Laertes. As a backup plan, Claudius has also poisoned a cup of wine to offer Hamlet should Laertes fail to wound him. During the duel, Gertrude accidentally drinks the poisoned wine intended for Hamlet. Laertes wounds Hamlet with the poisoned sword and is, in turn, wounded with it himself in the ensuing scuffle. Enraged, Hamlet kills Claudius by stabbing him with the poisoned sword and forcing him to drink the remaining poisoned wine.

Beginning to succumb to the poison himself, Hamlet begs his friend Horatio to live and tell the world what has happened here. Hamlet dies just before Fortinbras enters the room, which is now littered with the bodies of the royal family. There is little debate that Shakespeare is the greatest Renaissance tragedian, and that King Lear pr.

Intellectual, self-reflective, alienated, and seemingly paralyzed by doubts about both himself and the circumstance in which he is called upon to act as an agent of revenge, Hamlet has come to be considered the quintessential modern hero. For the subject of his drama, Shakespeare turned to a story already popular in English theaters; at least two earlier productions of the sad tale of the Danish prince had appeared in London playhouses. Most of these were bloody spectacles in which almost every character dies in the final act.

The body-strewn stage in act 5 of Hamlet continues this tradition, as does the central action of the drama: The central dramatic interest in the play is the character of its hero. The prince feels he must delay his revenge, however, until he is certain Claudius is guilty. 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. In his continued reluctance to dispatch Claudius, Hamlet actually causes six ancillary deaths. The first death belongs to Polonius , whom 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. This essay presents a discussion of Hamlet's character. The writer argues that Shakespeare's characterization of Hamlet focuses on In three pages this paper analyzes what is meant by Prince Hamlet's 'antic disposition' remark in the first act of William Shakesp In five pages this research paper considers the religious aspects of Hamlet by William Shakespeare in an analysis of Hamlet's acti Why Does Hamlet Die at the End?

Hamlet then starts to speculate about how much his mother was involved in this plot. Because of this p New to eCheat Create an Account!

Professionally written essays on this topic: Character Study of Hamlet This essay presents a discussion of Hamlet's character. Madness of Prince Hamlet of Denmark In three pages this paper analyzes what is meant by Prince Hamlet's 'antic disposition' remark in the first act of William Shakesp Analysis of William Shakespeare's Hamlet as a Religious Play In five pages this research paper considers the religious aspects of Hamlet by William Shakespeare in an analysis of Hamlet's acti Analysis of William Shakespeare's Hamlet and how do his views regarding death change throughout the course of the play?


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Hamlet study guide contains a biography of William Shakespeare, literature essays, a complete e-text, quiz questions, major themes, characters, and a full summary .

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Brief Summary Hamlet is the son of the late King Hamlet (of Denmark), who died two months before the start of the play. After King Hamlet's death, his brother, Claudius, becomes king, and marries King Hamlet's widow, Gertrude (Queen of Denmark). Act V, Scene 1 Summary and Analysis Hamlet Essays William Shakespeare. we would have 'Hamlet: The Short Story' instead of 'Hamlet: The Classic Play'. There are, however, valid reasons for.