Summary of Hamlet Scenes

Act 1 Scene 1: Ghost of Hamlet Sr. comes onto the sceneWe find out that Denmark is preparing for an impending invasion by NorwayHoratio and the castle guards witness the ghost’s appearance and try to speak with him
Act 1 Scene 2: Claudius declares that life goes on: “Happiness (marriage of Claudius and Gertrude) can be found in the midst of sadness (death of Hamlet Sr). Now, Fortinbras Jr. is trying to invade but [Claudius] has sent two ambassadors to the king of Norway to stop the attacks. Laertes is allowed to go to France while Hamlet can’t return to school. Hamlet is too sad.” Hamlet wants to die and is informed of his father’s ghost’s appearance and agrees to watch that night.
Act 1 Scene 3: Laertes warns Ophelia not to give serious consideration to the attention she received by Hamlet. Hamlet and Ophelia cannot marry (their relationship can’t last). Polonius also commands her end all her communication with him and return his letters and gifts.
Act 1 Scene 4: When Hamlet, Horatio, and the two guards meet on the platform of the Castle, they see the ghost.When it appears, it beckons Hamlet to follow him to a private place.
Act 1 Scene 5: The ghost tells Hamlet that he was poisoned and killed by Claudius (instead of being bitten by a snake). The ghost demands Hamlet avenge his murder but not to do anything to Gertrude. Hamlet then makes his companions swear and oath that they won’t know why Hamlet is going to act mad from then on.
Act 2 Scene 1: Polonius sent a spy to Paris to spy on his son Laertes. He tells the spy to spread rumors about Laertes’ fake lifestyle to see what kind of respond he gets. Ophelia enters and describes her encounter she had with a disheveled Hamlet in her room. Polonius assumes that Hamlet’s recent madness must be the result of his love for Ophelia and runs to tell the king and queen.
Act 2 Scene 2: C&G summons Rosencrantz and Guildenstern (childhood friends of Hamlet) to spy on Hamlet and find out why he’s “mad”. Messenger says Fortinbras is now going to invade Poland instead of Denmark. Polonius tells them his recent “discovery”. Hamlet assumes R&G that they’re working for C&G, and they tell him there’s a troupe of players coming to the castle. Hamlet decides he’ll use the play to discern Claudius’ guilt and then act.
Act 3 Scene 1: Polonius and the rest all arrange to have Hamlet and Ophelia meet, and then they will spy on them. Hamlet expresses (in a soliloquy) that he wants to die but the fear of what comes after death stops him. He later tells Ophelia to “get thee to a nunnery.”
Act 3 Scene 2: Hamlet torments and humiliates Ophelia in front of others with vulgar jokes to keep up his image of being “mad”. During the play, Claudius is so ridden with guilt he cannot even remain in the room. This moves Hamlet to believe Claudius guilty of murder, and so he later concludes that he has to shake his mother back to her senses.
Act 3 Scene 3: Claudius wants to send Hamlet to England. Polonius plans to hide behind a curtain in Gertrude’s room to overhear their conversation. Claudius kneels as if to pray and acknowledges his wrongs but ultimately decides not to repent; Hamlet decides not to kill Claudius otherwise he’d send him to heaven and Hamlet to hell.
Act 3 Scene 4: Hamlet firmly addresses his mother in her room, and at one point, she is afraid he will attack her. Polonius calls for help from behind the curtain and Hamlet stabs him. Hamlet forces Gertrude to see how bad her relationship with Claudius is compared to H. Sr. Hamlet makes her promise to not have sex anymore and leaves with Polonius’ body.
Act 4 Scene 1: Gertrude tells Claudius that Hamlet killed Polonius, but did it in his madness. Claudius is not more determined to send him to England.
Act 4 Scene 2: Rosencrantz and Guildenstern unsuccessfully try to get Hamlet to tell them where he has hidden Polonius’ body.
Act 4 Scene 3: Claudius summons Hamlet to demand where he has hidden P’s body. In a brief closing soliloquy, C reveals he intends to send letters w/R&G ordering the English king to execute Hamlet.
Act 4 Scene 4: On his way to the ship, Hamlet meets a captain of the Norwegian army, marching to invade Poland (fighting over sth worthless for honor). The sight of the marching soldiers reminds Hamlet that, though he has much to motivate him to action, he has taken no steps towards doing so.
Act 4 Scene 5: Ophelia, in her madness, sings Bawdy songs. Laertes enters, angry over his father’s death and improper burial, followed by a rebellious mob. Laertes sees Ophelia’s madness and Claudius promises to inform Laertes on how everything happened.
Act 4 Scene 6: Sailors deliver a letter to Horatio from Hamlet explaining that Hamlet’s ship was besieged by pirates and Hamlet alone has been returned to Denmark.
Act 4 Scene 7: Claudius pins Polonius’ death and Ophelia’s madness on Hamlet, but C won’t deal with Hamlet because Gertrude would be upset and the people would turn against C. They get a letter from Hamlet that he’s returned to Denmark. Laertes and Claudius plot to kill Hamlet.
Act 5 Scene 1: On their way to Elsinore, Hamlet and Horatio encounter two gravediggers. Hamlet speculate on whose skill it is and how the person’s wealth, rank, or accomplishments on earth don’t matter at all after death. Later, Hamlet reveals himself and he and Laertes fight at Ophelia’s grave.
Act 5 Scene 2: During the fencing match, Laertes and Hamlet switch swords, and Laertes is wounded and then asks for forgiveness on both sides. Gertrude dies. Hamlet kills Claudius. They all die. R&G has been killed. Fortinbras enters and assumes the throne of Denmark. He orders a hero’s burial for Hamlet.