Hamlet Act 1 summaries

Act 1 SCENE 1 While on guard at Elsinore castle, Horatio and Marcellus meet to question a ghost that continues to appear. The ghost is the dead King Hamlet (Hamlet’s dad) and appears to them but doesnt speak. Horatio decides to tell Hamlet about the ghost. IMPORTANT QUOTE: “Horatio: That can I. At least the whisper goes so: our last king, Whose image even but now appeared to us, Was, as you know, by Fortinbras of Norway, Thereto pricked on by a most emulate pride, Dared to the combat; in which our valiant Hamlet (For so this side of our known world esteemed him) Did slay this Fortinbras, who by a sealed compact, Well ratified by law and heraldry, Did forfeit, with his life, all (those) his lands Which he stood seized of, to the conqueror.
Act 1, SCENE 2 Claudius holds court and addresses important stuff. Sends off Cornelius/Voltemand to go to the King of Norway to tell him of his nephew Fortinbras that he is planning to build an army and attack Denmark. Claudius gives Laertes permission to return to France, but refuses to allow Hamlet to go back to university. Hamlet gets angsty and vents alone in a SOLILOQUY about how Claudius is terrible and how is mother moved on too quickly after his dad’s death, oh and Hamlet wants to die. Horatio, Bernardo, and Marcellus tell Hamlet about the ghost and Hamlet promises to join them that night. IMPORTANT QUOTE: “HAMLET: O, that this too, too sullied flesh would melt,..”
Act 1 SCENE 3 Laertes says good-bye to Ophelia in a long and brotherly speech tells her that Hamlet doesnt need her in order to become king, and that she shouldnt listen to his promises of love. Polonius (their father) joins and makes Ophelia promise to never see Hamlet again (she obeys, after attempting to stand up for herself- GENDER ROLES) IMPORTANT QUOTE: “POLONIUS: For Lord Hamlet, Believe so much in him that he is young, And with a larger (tether) may he walk…”
Act 1, SCENE 4 While Claudius parties hard, Hamlet, Horatio, and Marcellus are visited by the ghost. Ghost signals to Hamlet, Hamlet chases/follows Ghost. IMPORTANT QUOTE: “Hamlet: My fate cries out..”
Act 1, SCENE 5 Ghost tells Hamlet how he died. He was killed by Claudius while relaxing in his garden, and is King Hamlet. Hamlet swears to “remember” and tells his friends to tell NO ONE so he can seek revenge and kill off King Claudius. IMPORTANT QUOTE: “GHOST: The serpent that did sting thy father’s life Now wears his crown””Hamlet: Now to my word. It is “adieu, adieu, remember me.” I have sworn’t”