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Hamlet Summary Essay

The play begins on the outer ramparts of Elsinore castle. It is late and Bernardo, a guard, is on duty waiting for Francisco to relieve him from his watch. Bernardo is nervous because the previous two nights he and Francisco have seen a figure who appears to be the ghost of the recently deceased Francisco approaches, accompanied by Horatio (Hamlet’s only friend and confident). Even though Horatio dismisses the idea of a ghost, the guards start to retell the previous nights’ encounters. As the guards begin, the ghost appears before them- much to Horatio’s surprise. The guards urge Horatio to speak with the ghost.

Because Horatio is a student, they feel he should be able to communicate with the ghost, and their previous attempts to talk with it have failed. Horatio’s attempts also fail. The scene ends with Horatio stating that he will go and inform his friend Hamlet of these incredible events. This scene opens in contrast to the first scene. The first scene takes place on the dark, cold isolated ramparts; this scene begins in a brightly lit court, with the new king, Claudius, celebrating his recent wedding to Everyone in the court appears happy and joyful, except one character who is sitting off to the side.

He is dressed in black, the colour of mourning, and does not like what he sees. The lone figure is Hamlet, the main character of the play. He is wearing black because it has been only two months since his father, Hamlet senior the ghost on the battlements, died and he still is mourning his father’s death. To further upset Hamlet, Claudius’ new bride is Hamlet’s mother, Gertrude. Hamlet is upset because his mother married Claudius so soon after becoming a widow. To add to all the injustices Hamlet is feeling at this time, Claudius is also related to Hamlet.

Hamlet’s uncle is now his father-in-law nd Gertrude’s brother-in-law is now her husband. Claudius conducts several pieces of business during the beginning of this scene. He first tries to take measures to prevent a war with Norway, then discusses Laertes’ request to leave court and go back to school. Claudius agrees with Polonius, Laertes’ father, that Laertes’ plan of going back to school is a good one. He gives Laertes permission to go. This familial scene brings Claudius’ mind to Hamlet.

He recognizes Hamlet is upset and he tries to make amends and urges Hamlet to stay in Denmark, instead of returning to school. After his mother echoes Claudius’ request, Hamlet is left on stage after everyone else leaves. He speaks a soliloquy expressing his anger at the present circumstances in his life and discusses his depression as a result of these events. The scene ends with Horatio, Marcellus and Bernardo entering and talking with Hamlet about the ghost they have seen. Hamlet agrees to join them this coming night to see the Note: a soliloquy is the thoughts of a character being expressed out loud.

These thoughts deal with the true feelings of a character and give insight into what a character is thinking about and how his mind works. This first soliloquy is one several poken by Hamlet throughout the play. Each one gives us further insight into what Hamlet is feeling at the time. This scene opens with Laertes saying his goodbyes to his sister Ophelia, before he leaves for school. We find out from their discussion that Hamlet has been seeing Ophelia and is very serious about their relationship. He has been alone with Ophelia on many occasions and has professed his love for her during these times.

He has also given her gifts during these Leartes, who knows about his sister’s suitor, tries to warn Ophelia that because Hamlet is destined to become King, he can never be serious in his relationship with her. Hamlet may seem virtuous and noble at this time, he warns, but he will leave her to fulfill his duties to the kingdom when the She promises to be careful in this relationship and re-asserts that Hamlet has never taken advantage of her, nor has he ever been anything but a gentleman in their relationship.

The conversation ends with Ophelia lecturing her brother that he should practice what he preaches and not fall into any casual relationships foolishly, and not to worry about her. At this point, Polonius enters and gives his son one more lecture before he leaves on how to conduct himself when he goes back to school. The fatherly dvice includes thoughts on not borrowing or lending money, because it can cause more problems than it is worth.

He also tells his son not to say things that might make others think he is foolish, to hold his tongue and to be careful of getting into quarrels, but once in one give a good show for yourself. Finally, before Leartes leaves, Polonius tells him to be ‘true to himself. ‘ In other words, if you do the right things for the right reasons you can never do any wrong to others. The scene ends with Polonius discussing with Ophelia her relationship with Hamlet. He, like Laertes, does not trust Hamlet’s intentions, because Hamlet is young and young men have no honour; they have only one thing on their minds- sex.

Although Ophelia has no reason to distrust Hamlet’s intentions, she obeys her father’s wishes and agrees she will not see It is the night following Horatio’s first encounter with the ghost and it finds him, the guards and Hamlet on the platform waiting for the ghost. There is a celebration going on in the castle and Hamlet explains to Horatio that it is customary for the king to hold a celebration where cannons are shot off in honour of the King’s health. This celebration is something Hamlet does not agree with; it is too excessive and other ountries look upon the Danes as foolish because of it.

The ghost appears and Hamlet, realizing that it does look like his father -the old king-, approaches it and asks that it speak to him. At this point, Hamlet doesn’t know whether or not the ghost is there for good or evil purposes. The ghost beckons Hamlet. When Hamlet considers going with the ghost, Horatio and Marcellus try to dissuade him. They are concerned for his safety. If the ghost is there for evil purposes, it might lead Hamlet to his death. Hamlet forces his way past them and follows the ghost. The scene ends with Horatio and Marcellus following Hamlet to try and protect

On another part of the platform, the ghost tells Hamlet that he is indeed Hamlet’s father and that he was murdered. The ghost asks Hamlet to revenge his ‘most foul, strange, and unnatural murder’ and Hamlet heartily agrees. Hamlet is shocked when the ghost goes on to tell him that he was murdered by his own brother, Claudius. Unlike the story Claudius told the court, that a serpent stung and killed the old king, the ghost tells Hamlet that during his afternoon nap in the orchard Claudius crept in and poured poison The ghost goes on to tell Hamlet about how Hamlet’s own mother was dulterous with Claudius, before the ghost’s death.

He alos has Hamlet promise him that he will leave her deeds to be judged and punished by God, and that Hamlet should not take revenge on her himself. The dawn comes, forcing the ghost to return to the hellish underworld he must inhabit, because of the wrongful deeds he did prior to his own death. Hamlet is very angry about the events the ghost told him of, and swears that he will remember the ghost and what the ghost asked of him. He also swears that he will forget all trivial matters and that his life will be focused on one event, avenging his father’s murder.

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