Hamlet Summary Essay

Hamlet by William Shakespeare is a play about Hamlet, the crown prince of Denmark who lost his father at a very young age. Hamlet’s mother married Hamlet’s uncle Claudius one month after Hamlet senior died. Hamlet did not want his uncle to be king so he started planning on how to get rid of him. Hamlet was convinced that his father was killed by Claudius because Hamlet senior’s ghost told Hamlet so. Hamlet believed his father’s ghost because Hamlet senior was a good friend of Hamlet, which is why Hamlet wanted revenge for his death.

Hamlet has many conflicts in the play such as wanting to get revenge on the death on his father and not knowing if it is right or wrong. Another conflict is Hamlet having to choose between avenging on the murder of his father or obeying the law by not killing someone who has been made king (Claudius). Hamlet also has some internal conflicts such as not knowing if he wants to love Ophelia and at other times thinking about how beautiful she is and even kissing her. Hamlet is Hamlet’s father ghost who tells Hamlet that he was killed by Hamlet’s uncle Claudius, Hamlet’s new step-father.

Hamlet senior says to Hamlet that his death was caused because he found out that Claudius had killed him by pouring poison in his ear while sleeping. When Hamlet first sees the ghost of his dead father, he is confused and shocked about what has happened to make him come back as a ghost instead of being dead like everybody else. The reason Hamlet senior comes back as a ghost could be due to the fact that Hamlet’s mother promised she will never get married unless it was to someone just like Hamlet’s father, this would mean no one could ever replace Hamlet’s father, Hamlet senior.

Hamlet senior and Hamlet were very close so Hamlet decides to do as the ghost says and kill Claudius by pouring poison in his ear while he is sleeping. Hamlet’s mother is not fond of Hamlet’s decision because she does not like the idea of killing someone, but Hamlet thinks that his mother is thinking about herself instead of her husband (Hamlet’s father). Although Hamlet has many internal conflicts such as wanting to love Ophelia more than anything and thinking about killing his uncle, all this can be solved with some advice from a good friend like Horatio who is one of Hamlet’s closest friends.

Hamlet and Horatio have been friends since childhood and they still keep their friendship today even though Hamlet is no longer a child. Hamlet and Horatio both think alike so they would always be there for each other whenever needed, such as when Hamlet has to kill his own father in order to get revenge on him by pouring poison in his ear while he sleeps. Hamlet senior was murdered because he found out that Hamlet’s uncle killed him by pouring poison into his ear while sleeping.

Hamlet enters and Horatio tells Hamlet of the ghost. Hamlet is skeptical at first but eventually decides to take the guards with him to see the ghost for himself. Hamlet, Horatio, and one of the watchmen (Francisco’s brother) head off in search of the apparition. The second act begins in a dark room where Hamlet has just learned that King Hamlet’s brother killed him by pouring poison into his ear while he slept so he could successfully claim both Denmark’s crown and Norway’s through marriage to Gertrude, Hamlet’s mother.

After learning this Hamlet resolves to take revenge upon Claudius- even if it means killing his own mother Gertrude who married Claudius after Hamlet’s father died. Hamlet reasons that Gertrude’s marriage to Claudius has made her guilty of adultery and Hamlet can’t bear the thought of it continuing, so he wants to free her from their adulterous relationship. To test his theory Hamlet pretends that “he” is insane in order to get close enough to Claudius to observe him without being suspected. Hamlet then decides to take the matter into his own hands.

He tells Ophelia (his childhood friend) that she will soon receive an answer for the letters which she sent asking him if he still loves her or not- however Hamlet plans instead on killing himself in a way that will make it look like Claudius poisoned him as well. Hamlet goes to the graveyard at night where he finds his father’s ghost and a letter from Hamlet Sr. ‘s old friend, Horatio. Hamlet Sr. ‘s ghost tells Hamlet that he is still troubled because he has been poisoned by his brother– Claudius- and requests Hamlet’s help in taking revenge upon him for this crime.

The ghost requests that Hamlet kill him before passing on to Purgatory or Heaven, whichever it may be. Hamlet sees Claudius praying over King Hamlet’s grave and decides there is no better time than now to strike Claudius down. However when Hamlet approaches, sword drawn, Claudius turns around and Hamlet “freezes. ” This momentary hesitation provides a chance for Hamlet to think about what he is doing. Hamlet decides that his plan to kill Claudius must be preceded by more carefully planned observations, otherwise, Hamlet will act before his revenge killing has been confirmed as just.

Hamlet backs away and returns home without attacking or speaking with Claudius. The third act begins in King Hamlet’s court where two men are discussing the ghost of Old Hamlet (King Hamlet’s late father) which is appearing nightly at Old Hamlet’s gravesite and demanding revenge upon Claudius (currently king). One man says that because Old Hamlet died shortly after drinking wine given him by Claudius, it should be assumed that he was poisoned. Hamlet’s father- Hamlet Sr. was a very popular king and Denmark seems to have been thrown into chaos ever since his death.

The court decides that Hamlet should be sent to England so Claudius will no longer think Hamlet poses a threat to him. Hamlet agrees to go without a fight in order to further his plan of revenge against Claudius for murdering Hamlet Jr. ‘s father. Hamlet makes this decision even though he knows it means leaving Ophelia behind in Denmark which will certainly put her life in danger because of Hamlet’s relationship with her (which is not approved of by Old Hamlet).

The act four begins back at the guard tower where Horatio has heard about the ghost appearing nightly near King Hamlet’s grave and Hamlet’s departure for England. Hamlet appears and tells Horatio that Hamlet Jr. has decided not to kill Claudius while he is in England because Hamlet still wants to observe Claudius more carefully before Hamlet acts. Hamlet then asks Ophelia to come out of her house so Hamlet can speak with her privately- this request is relayed through Horatio.

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