Short summary

The main role in William Shakespeare's tragedy “Hamlet” (first performed in 1602) is played by the young Danish prince of the same name, who, at the beginning of the play, is studying in Wittenberg. His father, the King of Denmark, has just died and he is very sad. He is also sad because his mother married his uncle shortly after his father's death. When Hamlet arrives at Elsinore Castle, his father's ghost reveals to him that Claudius murdered him and demands Hamlet's revenge.

Hamlet must now devise a plan to make sure that the ghost is telling the truth. Claudius suspects that Hamlet is onto him and tries to eliminate him. The clever Hamlet, however, manages to see through Claudius' plots and escape them until the end of the play, when he is invited to a faked duel. In this duel, everything goes wrong and almost everyone involved dies. However, Hamlet finally manages to save his honor and the honor of his father.

Table of contents

Act 1

After the Danish king Hamlet dies, supposedly from the effects of a snakebite, his brother Claudius succeeds him to the throne in Elsinore. As one of his first official acts, he marries Gertrude, the widow of the deceased king. Her son from his first marriage and future heir to the throne, Hamlet, is so disgusted and shocked by this that he seriously questions the meaning of his future life.

Hamlet feels he is the only one who sincerely mourns his father's death. King Claudius and Gertrude beg him to finally end his mourning and not resume his recently abandoned studies at Wittenberg, but to remain with them at the Danish court. Although Hamlet regards both of them with contempt, he agrees not to leave Denmark for the time being.

The king's death causes confusion not only in the private sphere, but in the political one as well: the you...

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