The play opens with Prince Hamlet being depressed over his father's
death and his mother's decision to marry the new king, Claudius, after only
two months. Hamlet goes to the ramparts after Horatio, his confidant, tells
him he saw a ghost. That evening, the ghost of King Hamlet tells Hamlet that
his brother, Claudius, killed him. Hamlet swears to avenge the murder.
Hamlet pretends to have seizures of madness. Polonius discloses
to King Claudius and Queen Gertrude that he suspects Hamlet's madness stems
from his love for Ophelia, Polonius' daughter.
Hamlet wants to ascertain for himself the truth of what the
ghost has told him. He arranges for a play in which the actors perform a scene
similar to the actual murder of King Hamlet. Upon seeing the scene,Claudius
calls for lights and storms out of the room.
Claudius prays and Hamlet hears him confessing to the murder
and attempting to absolve himself of sin. Hamlet resolves to kill him but
does not want to do it at the moment while Claudius is praying for fear that
his soul might go to heaven.
Hamlet speaks with Gertrude, his mother in an attempt to understand
her actions. Polonius hides and listens to the conversation from behind a
curtain. Hamlet hears noises and kills him. Claudius sends Hamlet to England
because of the murder. He also instructs Hamlet's friends, Rosencrantz and
Guildenstern, to to sell out Hamlet to the English king for execution. Hamlet
discovers the plot and returns to Denmark. Laertes returns to Elsinore after
hearing of his father's death, and Claudius tells him to blame Hamlet. Ophelia,
unable to deal with any of the events that have happened to her father and
to Hamlet, looses her sanity and commits suicide.
Hamlet returns, and Claudius advises Laertes to duel with Hamlet.
Claudius plans to have Laertes kill Hamlet with a poisoned tip sword. To ensure
Hamlet's death, Claudius intends to present Hamlet with a poisoned goblet
of wine. Gertrude tells Claudius and Laertes that Ophelia drowned in a creek.
The duel begins and Hamlet scores two hits. Gertrude grabs the
poisoned goblet and drinks to Hamlet's fortune. Laertes manages to wound Hamlet,
but in the scuffle they exchange swords and Hamlet injures Laertes. Gertrude
falls and says Claudius poisoned her. Laertes tells Hamlet he will die as
well, and that Claudius planned everything. Hamlet stabs Claudius and kills