Act I scene 1 – Night guard at the castle; Barnardo, Horatio and Marcellus. Marcellus and Barnardo wants to show Horatio the Ghost, but he doesn’t believe in it- The Ghost makes an appearance but doesn’t speak- Marcellus asks about the recent rise in weapon industry in Denmark and Horatio explains that Fortinbras wants to attack Denmark- The Ghost appears again but a rooster makes it leave again- They all agree to tell Hamlet about the Ghost
Act I scene 2 – Claudius announces that he and Gertrude remarried- Claudius stops Young Fortinbras from attacking by writing to the Old Fortinbras- Laertes goes back to France- Hamlet is sad, so Gertrude tells him to “cast thy nightened color off”, meaning that he should stop mourning.- Hamlet is ordered not to go back to Wittenberg- Hamlet’s soliloquy about his mother agreeing to an incestuous marriage- Horatio, Marcellus and Barnardo come in and tells hamlet about the Ghost (his dead father)- Hamlet decides to stand guard with them at night and tells them to keep quiet about the whole thing
Act I scene 3 – Laertes is on his way to France, but before he goes, he warns Ophelia about Hamlet – Laertes gets his father’s blessing one last time and go on board- Polonius warns Ophelia about Hamlet and orders her to keep a distance from him. She agrees
Act I scene 4 – Hamlet, Horatio and Marcellus are on night guard, where they see Old Hamlet’s ghost. – The Ghost wants to speak to Hamlet alone, but Horatio and Marcellus trying to stop Hamlet, whereto Hamlet threatens them.- Hamlet goes with the Ghost- Horatio and Marcellus decide to follow and the famous quote “Something is rotten in the state of Denmark” is said.
Act I scene 5 – Hamlet speaks to the Ghost and is told all about how Claudius murdered him and how he thinks Hamlet should get revenge- Hamlet makes Horatio and Marcellus swear that they will never mention or suggest anything about the Ghost – even if he might be acting a bit crazy (aka he admits that he’ll begin to act crazy in a near future
Act II scene 1 – Polonius sends Reynaldo to Paris, France to ask people about Laertes, so that Polonius can find out whether he is doing what he’s supposed to do or if he’s out partying all the time, etc.- Ophelia tells Polonius about Hamlet acting crazy (for the first time in the play) and Polonius calls it “The very ecstasy of love” and almost regrets telling her to stay away from him
Act II scene 2a – Claudius and Gertrude ask Rosencrantz and Guildenstern to spy on Hamlet, as they want to figure out what has caused his change in behaviour- Voltemand and Cornelius come back from Norway saying that Fortinbras is no longer attacking Denmark, but will only pass through on their way to Poland- Polonius explains his theory to Gertrude and Claudius- Polonius speaks to Hamlet and Hamlet calls him a “fishmonger” (acting mad again)
Act II scene 2b – Rosencrantz and Guildenstern speak to Hamlet and acts as if everything’s good and they’re only visiting. Hamlet sees through their lies and makes them confess- Players (actors) come to visit and Hamlet continues acting mad. He recites a big part of a speech and then let a player take over- In the end of the act, Hamlet is alone talking about the actors and how they felt as if it all happened for real and stuff like that
Act III scene 1 – Polonius and Claudius planned for Ophelia to bumb into Hamlet, while they are spying on him- Hamlet comes in and thinks he’s all alone; ‘To be or not to be’ soliloquy about whether to kill himself or not- Ophelia comes in and talks to Hamlet, who ends up getting suspicious and gets upset with Ophelia. Hamlet is acting mad all the time she’s there- Claudius and Polonius heard everything they said
Act III scene 2 – The Players come again to set up a play that is requesting the way Claudius killed Old Hamlet. Hamlet and Horatio looks for signs that Claudius feels guilty/uncomfortable- Makes fun of Ophelia and makes her feel embarrassed. He is making inappropriate innuendos to Ophelia throughout the play- The King is clearly uncomfortable, as he asks for lights and then exits the play- Gertrude sends R&G to ‘shame’ Hamlet, as Claudius is very upset, then later Polonius because she wants to see Hamlet.
Act III scene 3 – Claudius wants to send R&G to England with Hamlet – Polonius tells Claudius that he’ll be spying when Hamlet goes to see his mother- Claudius is then praying to get God to forgive his sins, while Hamlet is very near and hears all that. He wants to kill the King soon enough, but he waits because he’s praying and he doesn’t want his uncle to go to heaven
Act III scene 4 – Hamlet goes to his mother’s chamber to speak to her, as she wanted- Polonius is behind the curtains, but Hamlet thinks it’s Claudius and therefore acts without thinking it through and ends up killing Polonius- Hamlet tells his mother that the king was killed and who murdered him- Hamlet seems actually mad in this scene – Ghost comes, but only Hamlet can see it- Gertrude is now against the king
Act IV scene 1 – Gertrude tells the king about the murder of Polonius- Hamlet hides the body in the meantime
Act IV scene 2 – R&G finds Hamlet and wants to know where they can find the body- Hamlet calls Rosencrantz a sponge, because he just absorbs everything the king wants him to
Act IV scene 3 – Claudius talks to Hamlet as well to see if he can figure out where the body is hidden- Hamlet is completely mad and Claudius tells him that he’s going to England- Claudius mentions a letter he send to the king of England, asking him to kill Hamlet when he gets there
Act IV scene 4 – Fortinbras comes to pass through Denmark and asks for permission one last time to be sure- Hamlet shames himself for not killing Claudius sooner
Act IV scene 5 – Ophelia has turned mad as well and as she comes to see the Queen, she’s singing and dancing and acting very strangely- Laertes comes, his followers wants him to be king, he wants his father’s dead body- Ophelia comes back in and Laertes gets very sad that his sister got mad
Act IV scene 6 – Sailors come and deliver a letter for Horatio that Hamlet wrote about how a pirate ship attacked them and how he ended on the pirate ship and now is in Denmark- The sailors have letters for the King as well
Act IV scene 7 – Claudius gets a letter from Hamlet, saying that he’s in Denmark and wants to see him alone- Laertes agrees to let Claudius order him- They come up with a plan against Hamlet (poisoned drink + sword)- Gertrude comes and tells Laertes that Ophelia has drowned
Act V scene 1 – Gravediggers are digging a grave for Ophelia- Hamlet and Horatio watches from a distance while one gravedigger is left digging and singing on his own- H&H comes forward and talks with the gravedigger about whose grave it is and such- H&H step aside while Claudius, Gertrude, Laertes and a priest approaches the grave; Laertes seems rather dissatisfied with the whole situation- Hamlet realises that Ophelia is the one to be buried- Hamlet approaches them and gets into a fight with Laertes, because Hamlet declared his deep live for Ophelia.- Laertes ends up duelling him for a fight
Act V scene 2 – The battle is going to happen in this scene- They fight two rounds before Gertrude drinks a glass of poisoned wine that was meant for Hamlet- Laertes scratches Hamlet with a poisoned sword- Hamlet gets the sword by a mistake when they are tumbling and scratches Laertes with it- Laertes then confesses that the sword is poisoned and Hamlet scratches Claudius with and then forces him to drink the rest of the wine- Before Hamlet dies, he says that he want the throne to be given to Fortinbras, who a few moments later enters the building as a part of an attack, but sees the chaos and then becomes the king of Denmark
Themes Mortality: The meaning of life is a big part of Hamlet, his father who is dead, Hamlet’s ‘to be or not to be’ speech, where he is considering committing suicide, etc etc.Madness: Hamlet acts mad from very early on in the play. Later he might even get mad for real as he kind of loses his grip on realityWomen: There are only two women in the play and they both end up dead – this says quite a lot about the play, I think. Hamlet loses his faith in women, as Ophelia and Gertrude let him down in indescribable waysPolitical livelihood: As the whole play is about the Danish Royal Family, it is a very obvious theme in the play, but beneath all that we can actually link Hamlet’s madness directly to the political likelihood as it is very unstable.

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