Shakespeare's Tragedy: Hamlet

Hello everyone! Now we're going to read the tragedy written by William Shakespeare. We are going to read Hamlet.

Hamlet was written by William Shakespeare at an uncertain date between 1599 and 1602. This is a play that can be acted in your school play or any other major function.

 
 

Main Characters:

Hamlet: He is the main character. He is the son of the late king and the nephew of the present king.

Claudius: He is the king of Denmark and Hamlet's Uncle.

Getrude: Queen  of Denmark and Hamlet's mother.

Polonius: He is the chief counsellor to the king

Ophelia: Daughter to Polonius. She is also the lady-love of Hamlet

Laertes: Son to Polonius.

Horatio: Hamlet's true friend and advisor.

Voltimand and Cornelius: Courtiers

Rosincrantz and Guildenstern: Courtiers and friends to Hamlet

Osric: Courtier

Marcellus and Bernardo: Officers

Francisco: A soldier

Audience

Ghost of Hamlet's father 

Hamlet was the Prince of Denmark. He was away studying at Wittenberg when one day he received the unfortunate news that his father, the king has passed away. As Hamlet tried to come to the terms that his beloved father is no more, he came to hear further shocking news that  his mother had married Claudius, the king's younger brother and Hamlet's uncle.

Therefore, Hamlet had also been deprived of the throne, which should rightfully have been his after his father's death.

As Hamlet was preparing to leave for home, a strange event was occurring at the royal castle in Denmark. The sentries Bernardo and Marcellus had been complaining of seeing a strange shadow at night, which resembled the dead king, and they were sure that the strange occurrences were the return of the king's spirit. After the repeated sightings of the ghost for a couple of nights, the guards finally decided to inform Horatio, Hamlet's best friend and advisor.

Horatio refused to believe the guards and declared that there is no such thing as ghost and it must be a figment of their imagination. However, upon there insistence, he decided to accompany them and, behold! He too saw the ghost of the deceased king appear.

Horatio could not believe his eyes. He tried to speak to the ghost, but just as the ghost tried to say something, the rooster declared a new day. Horatio, now believing in the existence of the ghost, turned to Bernardo and said, "This ghost will certainly speak to Hamlet!"

Hamlet returned to Denmark and was completely taken aback by his mother's haste to remarry, and he certainly did not approve of Claudius. He could not get the nagging thought out of his head that his father had not died a natural death but had been murdered. While lost deep in thought, Horatio entered accompanied by the guards and told Hamlet all about the spirit of his father. Hamlet told Horatio that they must come with him that night and wait for the ghost to appear.

 

 Meanwhile Laertes was preparing to leave for France, his sister Ophelia, was in love with Hamlet. Though her brother and father consistently told her that she should not believe his claims of love for her. But she knew that Hamlet was madly in love for her.

That night, Hamlet, with Horatio, Bernardo and Marcellus, reached the tower where the ghost usually appeared. As they stood talking in the cold night, Hamlet saw the spirit of his father appear. He tried to speak to the ghost, who then beckoned him to follow. At some distance from the others the ghost said, "Yes, I am the spirit of your father, son". And the reason I still walk on earth is because I was murdered."

 

Hamlet gasped. He asked the spirit to tell him more. The ghost continued, "It is being said, my son, that while I lay asleep in the garden, a serpent came and bit me; but the serpent that me, now wears my crown." He went on to explain how while he was asleep, his own brother, Claudius, poured the poisonous juice of Hebona into his ear, killing him instantly

It was morning when the ghost finished his story. Swearing all those gathered with him last night to secrecy, Hamlet decided, it was time for him to act

 

Over the next few days, Hamlet started acting rather mysteriously towards Ophelia. He pretended that due to something troubling him, he had started to go mad. Ophelia informed her father about Hamlet's weird behaviour, and soon the matter came before the king and queen.

Polonius then made a plan to be sure about the prince's state of mind. He declared that when Ophelia was with him the next day, he and king Claudius would stand behind the curtain and listen what Hamlet had to say, which will give them an idea about his mental problems.

As per the plan, this is what they heard, "To be or not to be, that is the question: whether it would be nobler in the mind to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, or to take arms against a sea of troubles, and by opposing end them." It was evident he was trying to kill himself. Claudius wanted Hamlet to leave for England immediately as a change of scenery would calm him down.

But the next day a group of travelling actors came to see actors. They requested that he allow them to stage a play for him that evening. Hamlet saw this as an opportunity to nail his uncle and his mother for their crimes against his dead father. He asked the troupe whether they could perform the 'Murder of Gonzago' for him. He also wanted to make some modifications to the original play and the troupe assured him they would have no trouble in carrying out his wishes.

That night, Hamlet kept a close watch on his uncle. Soon the play began. It started with a man sleeping and another man coming over to pour something into his ear from a cup. The man with the cup was the other man's brother, and had murdered his brother with the poison. As the play was coming to a close, King Claudius sprang from his seat and said "Enough"

As Hamlet and Horatio sat and discussed the matter, a servant informed Hamlet that his mother had sent for him. Since Polonius was not too sure about Hamlet's mental state, he decided to hide behind the curtain and intervene if Hamlet tried to harm his mother.

 

On seeing her son, at once she accused him of troubling the king with that play. But Hamlet also very subtly accused her of being unjust towards his dead father. His mother pretended not to understand and tried to divert his questions. As Hamlet was losing his patience his voice rose and Polonius getting worried shouted  "Help the queen!"

Hamlet thinking it was Claudius hiding behind the curtain, immediately drew his sword and thrust it through the material, killing Polonius instantly. Seeing that he had not killed Claudius, Hamlet's anger grew. Now, Hamlet was preparing to kill his mother.

 

Oops! Sorry to leave you in suspense. I'll tell you rest in Part II.

K BYE!

 

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