This 'Hamlet' Scene-by-Scene Breakdown guides you through Shakespeare’s longest play.
Hamlet disapproves of Claudius, the new King of Denmark. A ghost appears and explains to Hamlet that he is the spirit of his father who cannot rest until revenge is taken upon his murderer, Claudius.
Polonius suggests that Hamlet is upset because he has been rejected by Ophelia and Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are instructed by King Claudius and Queen Gertrude to draw Hamlet out of his melancholy.
Hamlet directs the actors in a play to depict his father’s murder – he hopes to study Claudius’ reaction to this. Later, Hamlet is about reveal Claudius’ villainy to Gertrude when he hears someone behind the curtain. Hamlet thinks it is Claudius and thrusts his sword through the arras – he has killed Polonius.
Claudius decides to send Hamlet to England when he hears of Polonius’ death. Laertes wants to avenge the death of his father and strikes a deal with Claudius.
Hamlet contemplates the lives belonging to the graveyard’s skulls and a duel between Laertes and Hamlet is fought. A fatally wounded Hamlet kills Claudius before drinking the poison to take the agony out of his death.