William Shakespeare`s powerful tragedy, Hamlet is probably the most famous play written in the English language. Hamlet is played in theatres all over the world and the story never ceases to amaze audiences by its depth, structure and numerous adaptations.
Hamlet, Prince of Denmark, sees the ghost of his father who asks for revenge. The Ghost tells Hamlet he was murdered by his brother, Claudius, who is now the King and husband of queen Gertrude, Hamlet`s mother. At first Hamlet is sure that the Ghost is his father`s, but later doubts about it postponing the revenge.
Polonius, the court adviser, tells his daughter, Ophelia to avoid Hamlet`s courting, so when he acts insane and strange, they think her rejection made him so mad. A troupe of players from England comes to court and Hamlet make them act a modified version of the play, depicting the death of his father. He does this in order to observe Claudius`s behavior.
Polonius sets an encounter between Ophelia and Hamlet so that he and Claudius, hidden behind a tapestry, can observe his behavior and find out the reason of his madness. Hamlet behaves in a cruel way with Ophelia, so Polonius and Claudius realize he does not suffer from madness of love.
The play prepared by Hamlet is put on stage and it is called “The Mouse Trap”. During the play, Gertrude is offended by the insinuations at her address, while Claudius is shaken at seeing the murder of his brother precisely as it happened, so he decides to send Hamlet away.
After the play, Gertrude has an intense argue with Hamlet. Hidden behind the tapestry, Polonius hears the discussion and cries for help thinking that Hamlet is about to hit Gertrude, but is stabbed by Hamlet through the tapestry. Hamlet thought he had assassinated Claudius, so when he discovers he in fact had killed Polonius, continues arguing with his mother. The Ghost of Old Hamlet, the king, appears again and reminds Hamlet to focus on revenge on Claudius instead of fighting with his mother. Seeing her son speaking to air, Gertrude is sure he had lost his mind.
Claudius sent letters to England to kill Hamlet when he arrives and sent him there by ship. Hamlet was captured by pirates who sent him back to Denmark. Claudius and Laertes, Ophelia`s brother, plan to kill Hamlet so the arrange a duel between him and Laertes. Laertes`s sword is poisoned and Hamlet`s cup of wine also contains poison. Meanwhile, Ophelia went mad due to her father`s death and killed herself by drowning in the river.
The duel begins, but Hamlet is not touched by the poisoned sward and he refuses to drink the wine. Without knowing anything, Gertrude drinks Hamlet`s poisoned wine. Both Hamlet and Laertes are injured by the poisoned sword. Gertrude collapses and dying Laertes confesses the plot. Hamlet stabs Claudius with the poisoned sward and makes him drink the poison. Hamlet also dies.
Themes and style
The major theme is death, followed by intrigue, madness and suicide. The psychological tension of the play makes it intense and deep. The book generates lots of religious, philosophical and psychological interpretations.