Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Hamlet by William Shakespeare

Late one night an apparition baring a striking resemblance to the recently deceased King Hamelet visits the Elsinore Castle. The watchmen and a scholar named Horatio quickly seek out the dead king's son, Prince Hamlet, and brings him to see the ghost who speaks to him. Prince Hamlet is told that the ghost is indeed his father and that he was murdered by his brother Claudius who later becomes king and marries the widowed queen. Before his father's spirit disappears, Hamlet is ordered to get revenge against Claudius for his injustices.

Hamlet dedicates himself to seeking revenge, but he is often delayed in his plans because of his contemplative and thoughtful behaviors. He becomes so melancholy that he seems to reach a certain level of madness. Claudius and Hamlet's mother worry for him and try to find a cause for his despair, using two of his friends to watch him. Around this time Polonius suggests that Hamlet is simply madly in love with his daughter Ophelia. Wanting to know if that is the truth, Claudius spies on one of their conversations but does not find any indication that Hamlet is in love with her.

Still trying to avenge his father, Hamlet comes up with an idea to test his uncle's guilt. A group of traveling actors come to Elsinore and Hamlet has them act out a play that closely resembles the way Claudius murdered his brother. He believes that if his uncle truly did kill his father, then he would react in some way. When the murder scene comes, Claudius leaves the room. Convinced of his uncle's guilt, Hamlet follows him to finally get revenge. However, he finds Claudius praying, and thinking it would send him to heaven, Hamlet waits to extract his revenge. Claudius, who is scared for his well-being, orders that Hamlet be sent to England.

Before he leaves, Hamlet goes to confront his mother but ends up accidentally killing Polonius. He is immediately sent to England with his two friends. What Hamlet does not know is that Claudius has a secret plot in which he demands that Hamlet be put to death in England. Ophelia, mad with grief over her father, drowns herself in the river.

Afterwards, Polonius' son Laertes comes back to find his family all dead. Claudius then convinces Laertes that Hamlet is to blame for all his misfortune. Hamlet ends up coming back because of pirates that attacked his ship and Claudius uses this opportunity to use Laertes desire for revenge to finally kill Hamlet. Claudius declares that Laertes and Hamlet have a fencing duel and to ensure that Hamlet dies, he poisons Laertes blade. As another precaution he poisons a goblet in case Hamlet wins. Hamlet comes back just as Ophelia's funeral is taking place. Grievous, he attacks Laertes and declares that he had always loved her.

The fight begins and Hamlet wins the first score. When Claudius offers him the goblet, he declines and instead his mother drinks from it, dying immediately. Laertes then wounds Hamlet but he does not die from the poison immediately. Laertes then wounds himself with his own sword and before dying, he tells Hamlet that Claudius is responsible for his mother's death as well. Hamlet soon stabs Claudius with the poisoned sword and forces him to drink all of the poisoned wine. Claudius dies and with his revenge full filled, Hamlet dies immediately after. The kingdom is then taken over by a man named Fortinbras, who after learning of Hamlet's story from Horatio, has the dead prince carried away in the manner of a fallen soldier.


1. Do you think Hamlet's revenge was justified? Should he have forgotten about it and just continued on with his life?

2. If Hamlet had not tried to get revenge, how do you think his life would have changed?


Garret Edward Patrick Graehling 1/2 said...

I think Hamlet's revenge was justified but could have been brought about in a better way. If he had not tried to get revenge he could have done something much more worthwhile and productive with his time.

Mrs. Sherwood said...

Thread graded and closed.