Author William Shakespeare
Genre Tragedy
Setting Elsinore Castle in Denmark in the latter part of medieval times.
Hamlet The protagonist. He is upset that his father just died and on top of that his mother married his uncle shortly after his father’s death. He is the Prince of Denmark and is hesitant and indecisive.
Claudius The antogonist. Claudius marries Hamlet’s mother after poisoning his father. Wants to get rid of Hamlet so he can be King without being questioned. He wants power and is driven by it.
Gertrude Hamlet’s mother. She marries Claudius and doesn’t know that Claudius killed her husband. She cares about Hamlet but doesn’t understand what Hamlet is figuring out. She dies when she drinks from the poisoned cup meant for Hamlet.
King Hamlet Hamlet’s father who was killed by Claudius because of power. He died before the play began and Hamlet wants to avenge his death.
The Ghost The Ghost is the apparition of King Hamlet who appears to Hamlet and tells him that Claudius killed the King.
Polonius An ambitious man who also wants power but doesn’t go to the extent Claudius does for it. The father of Laertes and Ophelia. He is killed by Hamlet when Hamlet thought Claudius was behind the tapestry.
Ophelia Hamlet likes Ophelia but has to act mad around her to appear that he doesn’t know that Claudius killed the King. She goes mad after her father, Polonius, has her spy on Hamlet. Her madness leads to her death by drowning.
Laertes The brother of Ophelia who is in Paris the majority of the play. He is convinced that Hamlet is responsible for the deaths of Polonius and Ophelia and duels with Hamlet.
Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Work for Claudius to try to figure out what Hamlet is up to. They are sent to England with Hamlet with orders to kill Hamlet but pirates prevent the ship from getting to England.
Marcellus and Bernardo The two sentries who first see the ghost and send for Horatio who tells Hamlet.
Horatio Hamlet’s best friend who stays loyal to him throughout the play and went to school with Hamlet is Wittenberg.
Hamlet and Ophelia Both are in love with each other but can’t trust each other. Hamlet acts mad around her and she goes mad after spying on Hamlet.
Hamlet v. Claudius Hamlet wants to avenge his father’s death so he tries to figure out if Claudius really killed his father. Claudius is suspicious of Hamlet and has spies on him. Cluadius convinces Laertes that Hamlet killed his father and Ophelia and organizes a duel between them. Hamlet is killed by Laertes poisoned sword but kills Claudius first by stabbing him and forcing him to drink poison.
Hamlet and Gertrude Hamlet hates that his mother married Claudius so soon after his father’s death. Gertrude loves Hamlet but is ignorant to reality.
Conflict man vs man Hamlet wants to avenge his father’s death by killing Claudius and Claudius wants to ensure that Hamlet doesn’t foil his plans. man vs selfHamlet struggles with morality and whether he should kill Claudius or not. man vs manHamlet duels with Laertes because Laertes believes Hamlet is responsible for the deaths of Ophelia and Polonius.
Plot Summary King Hamlet dies and his ghost tells Hamlet to avenge his death by killing Claudius. Hamlet pretends to go mad to figure out if Claudius actually killed his father. Hamlet hires actors to act out how Claudius killed the King to see how Claudius reacts. When Hamlet is talking to his mother he stabs Polonius who is hiding behind a tapestry thinking it was Claudius behind the tapestry. Hamlet is ordered to England where Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are ordered to kill him but pirates cause the ship to go back to Denmark. Laertes and Hamlet duel and Hamlet kills Claudius before he is killed by Laertes’ poisoned sword.
Climax Hamlet and Laertes duel and Hamlet kills Claudius before dying of Laertes’ poisoned sword.
Resolution The royal family is killed including Hamlet, Gertrude, Claudius, Polonius, Ophelia, and Laertes. Fortinbras takes over rule over Denmark. Hamlet achieves his revenge before dying of poison. Horatio tells Fortinbras about Hamlet and Hamlet is honored.
Foil Character Fortinbras is quick to act compared to Hamlet’s indecisiveness and hesitation.
Mood The mood of the play is melancholy and despair because of the deaths of the characters.
Point of View From Hamlet’s point of view he wants to avenge his father’s death but isn’t sure if the ghost is telling the truth or the devil trying to get Hamlet to kill Claudius. Claudius is evil for killing Hamlet’s father and Gertrude is disrespectful and awful for marrying Claudius especially so soon after King Hamlet’s death.
Theme Uncertainty controls many aspects of life that aren’t often thought about and every action has consequences that often aren’t able to be controlled.
Fortinbras Prince of Norway whose father was killed by Hamlet’s father and wants revenge. He takes control of Denmark when he arrives to the entire royal family dead. He is the foil character to Hamlet.