The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark, mainly referred to as Hamlet, is a play that was written between 1599 and 1602 by Shakespeare. Hamlet play is one of Shakespeare’s longest plays and most influential works of literature. This post provides a short Hamlet overview to answer the question: “What is Hamlet about?”
A Brief Look At The Plot Of Hamlet
The play is set in Denmark and starts when the ghost of late King of Denmark appears to his son, Prince Hamlet, and tells him to avenge his murder by killing his uncle, the new king. To do this, Hamlet feigns madness and even contemplates taking his life. His uncle, out of fear for his life, also plans to kill Hamlet. The Hamlet plot closes in a climax with Prince Hamlet, Laertes, King Claudius, and Queen Gertrude dying.
Hamlet Feigns Madness to Avenge His Father’s Death
When Prince Hamlet father’s ghost appeared to Horatio, Hamlet’s friend, it revealed that Hamlet’s uncle, Claudius, was responsible for his death, to take over the throne and marry Gertrude, Hamlet’s mother. Upon hearing this, Hamlet sought to meet his father’s ghost to clear his doubt and ask the question: “How did Claudius kill King Hamlet?
Hamlet finally met the ghost that explained that Claudius poured poison into King Hamlet’s ear when he slept. The ghost also asked Hamlet to avenge by killing Claudius.
Hamlet decided to avenge his dad’s death. But first, he decided to test the truth of the allegations from the ghost by feigning madness. He started rejecting Ophelia, his lover, prompting his mother Gertrude and Claudius to start spying him.
To establish the truth, Hamlet prepared a play that mimicked how the murder of his dad was executed. When the play was performed before the king, he got furious and stormed out of the show. Hamlet concluded that it was Claudius who murdered his dad
Hamlet Gets First Chance To Kill Claudius, But His Conscious Stops Him
With his conscience not in doubt that Claudius killed his dad, Hamlet sets off to confront his mom. On his way, he found Claudius praying and had an opportunity to kill him. But he did not because he believed killing a person in prayer would send him directly to heaven.
Prince Hamlet remains afraid to avenge and indicates consciousness makes people cowards. “Thus conscious doth make cowards of us all,” Prince Hamlet notes in Act 3 Scene 1. Nevertheless, he still kills others. He killed Polonius by stabbing him through a carpet hanged on a wall. He also killed two of his school friends, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, who had been hired by Claudius to spy him.
Claudius Plans To Kill Hamlet
Claudius sends Hamlet to England as an ambassador, but in reality, he had planned to get him killed. On realizing this, Hamlet returns to Denmark alone.
His lover, Ophelia, is so desolate about Hamlet father’s death that she goes mad and drowns. At this point of Hamlet short summary, it is prudent to note the famous soliloquy when Hamlet asks; “to be or not to be.”
Upon hearing that his sister, Ophelia was suffering in the hands of Hamlet, Laertes vowed to do anything to kill Prince Hamlet.
Laertes, Gertrude, King Claudius, And Prince Hamlet Die
The Hamlet Shakespeare ends in a climax on scene four when Laertes goes on with his plan to kill Prince Hamlet. First, Hamlet and Laertes fight at the Ophelia graveside as Hamlet declares his love for Ophelia.
A fight (fencing match) is arranged between Laertes and Hamlet where Claudius has arranged with Laertes to kill Hamlet either through a poisoned sword, or poisoned wine.
The plan goes awry fast as Gertrude drinks from the poisoned cup and dies. Then, Laertes and Hamlet are wounded by the poisoned blades. Laertes dies immediately.
In his death throes, Hamlet kills Claudius. Only his friend, Horatio, is left to explain the truth to the new king, Fortinbras, who is on his way from Poland after a successful war.
Prince Hamlet Synopsis Simplified… and Fun Too
Writing summaries such as the Prince Hamlet summary is simple because you only need to take a closer look at the plot and identify the main points. For example, from the above Hamlet plot summary, you can easily tell the entire story from the first few paragraphs. Then, you extract the main ideas of Shakespeare Hamlet, ensuring there is a clear flow from the first to the last scene.
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Creating a great synopsis of a play, book, or report should not cause you undue stress. Make sure to practice how to write a synopsis with Hamlet plot summary and seek writing help.