Short Summary Of Hamlet

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Something is amiss in Denmark -- for two successive nights, the midnight guard has witnessed the appearance of the ghost of Old Hamlet, the former King of Denmark who has recently died. The guards bring Horatio, a learned scholar and friend of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark, to witness this apparition. Though skeptical at first, Horatio sees the ghost and decides to report its appearance to Hamlet. Meanwhile, a new king of Denmark has been crowned: Claudius, Old Hamlet's brother. Claudius has taken Old Hamlet's widow, Gertrude, as his wife. We watch their marriage celebration and hear about a threat from the Prince of Norway, Fortinbras, which Claudius manages to avoid by diplomacy. Hamlet is in attendance at this wedding celebration; he is hardly…show more content…
Hamlet turns the tables on her, accusing her of a most grotesque lust and claiming that she has insulted her father and herself by stooping to marry Claudius. In the course of their interview, Polonius hides behind a tapestry; at one point, he thinks that Hamlet is going to attack Gertrude and cries for help. Hamlet stabs Polonius through the tapestry, thinking he has killed Claudius. When he finds that he has merely killed a "rash, intruding fool," Hamlet returns to the business of "speaking daggers" to his mother. Just as Gertrude appears convinced by Hamlet's excoriation, the ghost of Old Hamlet reappears and tells Hamlet not to behave so cruelly to his mother, and to remember to carry out revenge on Claudius. Gertrude perceives her son discoursing with nothing but air and is completely convinced of his madness. Hamlet exits her room, dragging the body of Polonius behind…show more content…
Two gravediggers joke about their morbid occupation. Hamlet and Horatio arrive and converse with them. Soon, Ophelia's funeral begins. Because there are doubts about whether Ophelia died accidentally or committed suicide, her funeral lacks many of the customary religious rites. Laertes bombastically dramatizes his grief, prompting Hamlet to reveal himself and declare his equal grief at the loss of his erstwhile beloved. After a short tussle, Hamlet and Laertes part. Later, Hamlet explains to Horatio that he discovered Claudius' plot to have him killed in England and forged a new letter arranging for the deaths of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern. While they are conversing, Osric, a ridiculous courtier, approaches and proposes the duel between Laertes and Hamlet. Hamlet eventually accepts this challenge. The duel begins with Osric as referee. Hamlet wins the first two passes, prompting Claudius to resort to the poisoned drink. Hamlet refuses the drink. In his stead, Gertrude drinks a toast to her son from the poisoned cup. After a third pass also goes to Hamlet, Laertes sneak-attacks the prince and wounds him. A scuffle ensues in which Hamlet ends up with Laertes' sword. He injures Laertes. Just then Gertrude collapses. She declares that she has been poisoned. Laertes, also dying, confesses the whole plot to Hamlet, who finally attacks Claudius, stabbing him with the poisoned sword and then forcing the poisoned drink down his throat. Hamlet too is
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