HAMLET PLOT The play opens during the evening watch at the castle of Elsinore in Denmark. The last two nights, a ghost dressed in the dead King Hamlet's armor has appeared as the clock strikes one. Three men, Horatio (Hamlet's friend), Marcellus, and Bernardo, are talking, when the ghost appears once more. Horatio tries to talk to the ghost, but the ghost is silent and then disappears. The men try to figure out why the ghost has returned and decide that Hamlet should speak to his father's ghost. Meanwhile, Prince Hamlet is at the castle with his mother, Queen Gertrude, and her new husband, King Claudius, who is also Hamlet's uncle.
Claudius tells Hamlet that prolonged grieving for his dead father is not right. When they leave the room, Hamlet is alone to lament and think. 'O God, God! How weary, stale, flat, and unprofitable Seem to me all the uses of this world!' Horatio then comes to greet Hamlet, who is delighted at his friend's arrival. Horatio tells Hamlet about the ghost and Hamlet agrees to meet them. Laertes, the son of Lord Chamberlain Polonius, is getting ready to leave for France. He leaves his sister, Ophelia, with a warning not to pay much attention to Hamlet, who is trying to court her.
Polonius also gives advice to Laertes. At night, Hamlet joins Horatio and Marcellus to wait for the ghost. The ghost calls Hamlet and Hamlet follows him, even though his friends plead against it. The ghost tells Hamlet the horrible secret -- - his father did not die from a serpent's bite but from poison. His father was murdered by Hamlet's uncle, who has now married Hamlet's mother! Hamlet is told to revenge his father's death, but to leave his mother alone. As the ghost leaves, Hamlet becomes enraged at his uncle.
From his intelligent, civilized self, Hamlet changes into an enraged person determined to kill his uncle. He decides to act insane so that no one will suspect him. Hamlet makes Horatio and Marcellus swear to tell no one what happened here. Later on, Ophelia tells her father in a fright that Hamlet appeared to her, his face white as if he had been to hell.
Polonius believes that this madness is due to the fact that Ophelia doesn't love Hamlet back. He goes to tell the King this. The King and Queen agree that Hamlet has gone insane. To find out the reason for this, the King sends two of Hamlet's friends, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, to talk to Hamlet. Polonius, wordy as usual, relates his reason for Hamlet's madness: he is hopelessly obsessed over Ophelia. A group of players arrive, much to the interest of Hamlet.
He asks one of them to perform The Murder of Gonzalo the next day, with a few changes by Hamlet. Since this play is similar to the situation with King Claudius and Hamlet's father, Hamlet can figure out if the ghost was truthful. If the King reacts to the play, Hamlet will surely know that the ghost was speaking the truth. Since Rosencrantz and Guildenstern can not figure out the reason for Hamlet's madness, the King decides to see how Hamlet acts around Ophelia. While Hamlet is alone, he delivers his most famous 'To be or not to be's peach. Here he contemplates suicide, with the conclusion not to take his life because things in the afterlife may be even more dreadful.
Ophelia appears to Hamlet, in an attempt to return the gifts that he gave her. Hamlet replies harshly that he never loved her and says, 'Get thee to a nunnery.' Ophelia is left in sorrow, believing that Hamlet has truly gone insane. The King is not so sure and wishes to send Hamlet to England, suspecting that Hamlet may be a threat to him. It is the night of the play. Horatio agrees to watch the King for a reaction.
During the scene where poison is poured down the victim's ear (Claudius poured poison down King Hamlet's ear), the King is greatly disturbed. He ends the play, calling for the lights to be turned on. Now Hamlet knows that the King is guilty. Hamlet goes to talk with his mother, who is scared that he has come to murder her. As she cries for help, Polonius (hiding behind the tapestry) speaks and is killed by Hamlet, who thinks that Polonius is the king. Hamlet tries to get the Queen to admit to her wrongs, but she doesn't understand him.
King Claudius decides that Hamlet must be put to death in England. Hamlet escapes this fate by rewriting the King's letter, substituting his name with the names of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern. So Hamlet escapes and the two men are put to death. Learning that Hamlet did not arrive in England, Claudius brings Laertes into the plan. Laertes, enraged over the death of his father, is persuaded to kill Hamlet with a poisoned rapier during a duel. Ophelia is distressed over the death of her father and becomes insane, singing songs.
She later commits suicide by drowning. At her funeral, grieving Laertes jumps into the grave, followed by Hamlet. They fight and Hamlet later apologizes for his behavior. When Laertes challenges him to a duel, Hamlet accepts. At the duel, the rapier is poisoned. After the first half where Hamlet emerges victorious, the King uses his backup plan.
He poisons a cup of wine and offers it to Hamlet. Hamlet refuses the wine, but the Queen drinks it. Before the King can stop her, she dies. At this moment, both Hamlet and Laertes are hit by the poisoned rapier. Laertes tells the people that both he and Hamlet are injured by the poisonous weapon and that 'the King's to blame.' Before Hamlet dies, he lunges at the King with the rapier and kills him. And so the play ends, with Horatio's last farewell to his dear friend Hamlet..