Hamlet scene summaries

Act 1.1 Ghost appears to sentinels twice and sceptical Horatio. They decide to tell Hamlet
Act 1.2 Claudius and Gertrude have an announcement/parade in court – Claudius tells him not to grieve. Hamlet soliloquy about his disgust for his mother’s relationship. Hamlet and Horatio discuss the ghost
Act 1.3 Laertes/Ophelia/Polonius sub plot. Ophelia told to stay away from Hamlet
Act 1.4 Hamlet, Horatio, Marcellus see the Ghost again. Hamlet seeks to follow the Ghost.
Act 1.5 t the Ghost and Hamlet. The Ghost tells him that Claudius killed him, and tells him to take revenge but to leave Gertrude out of it. Hamlet tells Horatio what he has seen but he has to swear not to tell.
Act 2.1 Polonius tells Reynaldo to go and spy on Laertes, gets him to create rumours about Laertes to see if people will believe them about him. Ophelia comes in and tells Polonius about Hamlet acting mad. Polonius decides to go to Claudius
Act 2.2 • Gertrude and Claudius send Rosencrantz and Guildenstern to see if Hamlet is mad. The ambassador Voltemand returns to say that there has been peace with Norway. Polonius tells about Hamlet’s mad love. Hamlet pretends to be mad to Polonius. Doesn’t act mad to Rosencrantz and Guildenstern. Scene with the players and the story of Priam and Pyrrhus. Hamlet soliloquy deliberating on whether to act in revenge or not.
Act 3.1 ncrantz and Guildenstern try to subtly uphold Hamlet’s feigned madness to Claudius and Gertrude. Polonius and Claudius put on the Hamlet/Ophelia show and watch from behind a mirror. Hamlet soliloquy to be or not to be.
Act 3.2 Hamlet directs the players. Hamlet compliments Horatio. The play Hamlet puts on is performed. Hamlet and Horatio note that Claudius rises = guilt. Rosencrantz and Guildenstern tell Hamlet that Gertrude wants to see him in her bedroom.
Act 3.3 Claudius tell Rosencrantz and Guildenstern that Hamlet is to go to England with them. Polonius plans to hide behind the arras when Hamlet meets Gertrude. Claudius admits to the crime! Hamlet refrains from killing Claudius.
Act 3.4 • bedchamber scene – Polonius killed by Hamlet. Hamlet speech to Gertrude being frank about Old Hamlet as a god vs Claudius now. Ghost enters – Hamlet’s madness or Gertrude pretending to ignore it? Hamlet admits that he is not mad but just pretending.
Act 4.1 rtrude betrays Hamlet to Claudius. Rosencrantz and Guildenstern sent to retrieve Hamlet and Polonius’s body.
Act 4.2 Rosencrantz and Guildenstern confront Hamlet; Hamlet wittily insults them without them realising.
Act 4.3 Claudius asks Hamlet where the body is, Hamlet acts mad and makes various inappropriate statements. Claudius sends Hamlet to England and hopes that his plan of killing him along the way is followed through.
Act 4.4 Fortinbras asks his captain to ask permission of Denmark to pass through their land to attack Poland. Hamlet’s PERIPETEIA – his turning point (in a soliloquy) where he resolves to take action.
Act 4.5 • Ophelia is mad and singing songs about loss (of Hamlet or Polonius?). Laertes bursts in with his followers and threatens Claudius. Ophelia’s flower scene. Laertes agrees to hear Claudius out about who the murderer is and enact revenge.
Act 4.6 sailors deliver a letter from Hamlet to Horatio saying that he is alive and coming back to Denmark.
Act 4.7 Claudius and Laertes plot Hamlet’s downfall when they are interrupted by a messenger who has a letter from Hamlet saying he is coming back. Claudius manipulates Laertes. They plot the poisoned sword. Gertrude interrupts to say that Ophelia has drowned.
Act 5.1 gravedigger scene = massive scene about death and nature of it. Hamlet bants with the gravedigger. Hamlet changes when he finds Yorick’s skull, he has a practical realisation about the nature of death. Hamlet and Laertes witness Ophelia’s funeral – Hamlet goes mental when he realises and leaps in the middle of everyone. Claudius has to calm it down so he can carry on with his secret murder plot.
Act 5.2 Hamlet informs Horatio of all that has happened. Osric informs Hamlet of Claudius’s planned duel. Duel – Gertrude dies from the poisoned drink, Laertes is on Hamlet’s side again, Claudius forced to drink the poision and dies, Laertes and Hamlet die. Fortinbras arrives as Hamlet is dying, Horatio briefly informs him what is going on. Fortinbras orders a state funeral for Hamlet.