Hamlet

by William Shakespeare

Characters

  • Hamlet - The Prince of Denmark, he is melancholy, bitter, and cynical, full of hatred for his uncle’s scheming
  • Claudius - The King of Denmark, he is a calculating, ambitious politician, driven by his sexual appetites and his lust for power
  • Gertrude - The Queen of Denmark, she is a shallow, weak woman who seeks affection
  • Ophelia - A beautiful young woman with whom Hamlet has been in love, she is a sweet and innocent young girl, who obeys her father and her brother, Laertes

Plot

  • Prince Hamlet is depressed. Having been summoned home to Denmark from school in Germany to attend his father's funeral, he is shocked to find his mother Gertrude already remarried to Claudius
  • When his father's ghost visits the castle, Hamlet's suspicions are confirmed. The Ghost complains that he is unable to rest in peace because he was murdered.
  • Claudius, says the Ghost, poured poison in King Hamlet's ear while the old king napped.
  • Unable to confess and find salvation, King Hamlet is now consigned, for a time, to spend his days in Purgatory and walk the earth by night.
  • He entreats Hamlet to avenge his death, but to spare Gertrude, to let Heaven decide her fate.