Short summary - The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark - William Shakespeare

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Short summary - The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark
William Shakespeare

The square in front of the castle in Elsinore. Guard Marcellus and Bernard, Danish officers. They are later joined by Horatio, a learned friend of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark. He came to verify the story of the night appearance of a ghost similar to the Danish king, who had recently died. Horatio is inclined to consider this a fantasy. Midnight. And a formidable ghost in full military clothing appears. Horatio is shocked, he is trying to talk to him. Horatio, reflecting on what he saw, considers the appearance of the ghost a sign of "some kind of trouble for the state." He decides to talk about night vision to Prince Hamlet, who interrupted his studies in Wittenberg in connection with the sudden death of his father. The agony of Hamlet is aggravated by the fact that his mother soon after the death of her father married his brother. She, "without wearing the shoes in which she was walking behind the coffin," threw herself into the arms of a man unworthy, "a dense clot of meat." Hamlet’s soul shuddered: «How bothersome, dull and unnecessary, / It seems to me that everything that is in the world! Oh abomination! »

Horatio told Hamlet about a night ghost. Hamlet does not hesitate: «Hamlet’s spirit is in arms! The thing is bad; / There is something here. Hurry night! / Be patient, soul; evil will be exposed, / Although it would have gone from the eyes into the underground darkness. »

The ghost of Hamlet's father told of a terrible crime.

When the king was resting peacefully in the garden, his brother poured mortal bleached juice into his ear. "So I'm in a dream from a brotherly hand / Lost my life, crown and queen." The ghost asks Hamlet to avenge him. "Bye Bye. And remember me »- with these words the ghost is removed.

The world turned upside down for Hamlet ... He swears to avenge his father. He asks his friends to keep this meeting secret and not be surprised at the strangeness of his behavior.

Meanwhile, the neighbor of the king, Polonius, sends his son Laertes to study in Paris. He gives his brotherly instructions to the sister of Ophelia, and we learn about the feeling of Hamlet, from which Laertes guards Ophelia: «He is a citizen of his birth; / He himself does not cut his piece, / Like others; from his choice / The life and health of the whole state depend. »

His words are confirmed by his father - Polonius. He forbids her to spend time with Hamlet. Ophelia tells her father that Prince Hamlet came to her and he seemed to be out of his mind. Taking her hand, "he let out a sigh so mournful and deep, / As if his whole chest had broken and life had gone out." Polonius decides that Hamlet’s strange behavior in recent days is explained by the fact that he is "insane from love." He is going to tell the king about it.

The king, whose conscience is weighed down by murder, is concerned about Hamlet's behavior. What lies behind him - madness? Or what else? He calls on Rosencrantz and Guildestern, formerly friends of Hamlet, and asks them to find out from the Prince his secret. For this, he promises "royal mercy." Polonius comes and suggests that Hamlet's frenzy is caused by love. In support of his words, he shows the letter of Hamlet, taken by him from Ophelia. Polonius promises to send his daughter to the gallery, where Hamlet often walks to make sure his feelings.

Rosencrantz and Guildestern unsuccessfully try to find out the secret of Prince Hamlet. Hamlet understands that they are sent by the king.

Hamlet learns that the actors came, the tragedians of the capital, whom he had liked so much before, and he had the idea: to use the actors to make sure the king was guilty. He agrees with the actors that they will play a play about the death of Priam, and he will insert two or three verses of his work there. Actors agree. Hamlet asks the first actor to read a monologue about the killing of Priam. The actor reads brilliantly. Hamlet is thrilled. Assigning the actors to the care of Polonius, he meditates alone. He must know exactly about the crime: "The sight is a noose to lasso the king’s conscience."

The king asks Rosencrantz and Guildester about the success of their mission. They admit that they did not manage to find out anything: «He doesn’t give questions to himself / And slipping away with the cunning of insanity ...»

They report to the king that roving actors have arrived, and Hamlet invites the king and queen to the performance.

Hamlet walks alone and says, reflecting, his famous monologue: «To be or not to be - that is the question ...» Why are we holding on to life like this? In which "mockery of the century, oppressed by the strong, mockery of the proud." And he answers his own question: «Fear of something after death - / The unknown land, where there is no return / to Earth wanderers» - embarrasses the will.

Polonius sends Ophelia to Hamlet. Hamlet quickly realizes that their conversation is being eavesdropped and that Ophelia came at the instigation of the king and father. And he plays the role of a madman, gives her advice to go to the monastery. The straightforward Ophelia is killed by Hamlet's speeches: «Oh, what a proud mind is slain! Nobles, / Fighter, scientist - gaze, sword, tongue; / Color and hope of a joyful power, / Mint of grace, mirror of taste, / Examples of exemplary - fell, fell to the end! »The king makes sure that love is not the cause of the prince’s frustration. Hamlet asks Horatio to watch the king during the performance. The performance begins. Hamlet during the play comments on her. He accompanies the scene of poisoning with the words: «He poisons him in the garden for the sake of his power. / His name is Gonzago <...> Now you will see how the killer is gaining the love of Gonzaga’s wife. "

During this scene, the king could not stand it. He got up. The commotion began. Polonius demanded to stop the game. Everyone is leaving. Hamlet and Horatio remain. They are convinced of the crime of the king - he betrayed himself with his head.

Rosencrantz and Guilderstern are returning. They explain how upset the king is and how the queen is perplexed about Hamlet’s behavior. Hamlet picks up a flute and offers Guildestern to play it. Guildestern refuses: "I do not own this art." Hamlet says with anger: «You see, what kind of worthless thing are you making of me?» You are ready to play me, it seems to you that you know my frets ... "

Polonius calls Hamlet to his mother - the queen.

The king is tormented by fear, tormented by an unclean conscience. "Oh, my sin is vile, he stinks to heaven!" But he had already committed a crime, "his chest is blacker than death." He kneels, trying to pray.

Hamlet passes at this time - he goes to his mother’s chambers. But he does not want to kill the despicable king during prayer. "Back, my sword, find out more terrible girth."

Polonius hides behind the carpet in the Queen’s chambers to eavesdrop on Hamlet’s conversation with his mother.

Hamlet is full of indignation. The pain tormenting his heart makes his tongue bold. The queen is frightened and cries out. Polonius finds himself behind the carpet, Hamlet shouting «Rat, rat,» pierces him with his sword, thinking that this is the king. The Queen begs Hamlet for mercy: "You sent my eyes straight to the soul, / And in it I see so many black spots, / That there is nothing to remove them ..."

A ghost appears ... He demands to spare the queen.

The Queen does not see or hear the ghost, it seems to her that Hamlet is talking with emptiness. He looks like a madman.

The queen tells the king that in a fit of insanity, Hamlet killed Polonius. "He cries about what he did." The king decides to immediately send Hamlet to England, accompanied by Rosencrantz and Guildestern, who will be given a secret letter to the British about the killing of Hamlet. He decides to bury Polonia secretly to avoid rumors.

Hamlet and his traitor friends rush to the ship. They meet armed soldiers. Hamlet asks them whose army and where he is going. It turns out that this is the Norwegian army, which is going to fight with Poland for a piece of land, which is a pity to rent for five ducats. Hamlet is amazed that people cannot "settle the debate about this trifle."

This incident for him is an occasion for deep reasoning that he is tormented, and tormented by his own indecision. Prince Fortinbras "for the sake of whim and absurd glory" sends twenty thousand to death, "like to bed", as his honor is hurt. «So how am I,» Hamlet exclaims, «I, whose father is murdered, / whose mother is in disgrace,» and I live, repeating «this must be done.» "Oh my thought, from now on you must be bloody, or dust you price."

Having learned about the death of his father, secretly, Laertes returns from Paris. Another trouble awaits him: Ophelia, under the burden of grief - the death of her father at the hands of Hamlet - went crazy. Laertes yearns for revenge. Armed, he breaks into the king’s chambers. The king calls Hamlet the culprit of all the misfortunes of Laertes. At this time, the messenger brings the king a letter in which Hamlet announces his return. The king is at a loss, he realizes something has happened. But right there, a new vile plan ripens in him, in which he involves the hot-tempered, not-so-distant Laertes.

He offers to arrange a duel between Laertes and Hamlet. And so that the murder took place for sure, grease the end of Laertes' sword with deadly poison. Laertes agrees.

The Queen reports with grief the death of Ophelia. She "tried to hang her wreaths on the branches, the insidious branch broke, she fell into a sobbing stream."

... Two grave diggers dig a grave. And throw jokes.

Hamlet and Horatio appear. Hamlet discusses the futility of all living things. «Alexander (Macedonian. - E. Sh.) Died, Alexander was buried, Alexander turns to dust; dust is earth; clay is made of earth; and why this clay, which he turned into, can’t plug a beer barrel? »

A funeral procession is approaching. King, Queen, Laertes, Courtyard. Bury Ophelia. Laertes jumps into the grave and asks to bury him with his sister, Hamlet cannot stand the fake note. They grapple with Laertes. «I loved her; forty thousand brothers / with all the multitude of their love would not have equated with me, »- in these famous words of Hamlet a genuine, deep feeling.

The king takes them apart. He does not like an unpredictable fight. He reminds Laertes: «Be patient and remember yesterday; «We will move things to a quick end.»

Horatio and Hamlet are alone. Hamlet tells Horatio that he was able to read the letter of the king. It contained a request to immediately execute Hamlet. Providence kept the prince, and, using his father’s signet, he replaced the letter in which he wrote: "Kill the bearers immediately." And with this message, Rosencrantz and Guildestern are sailing towards their doom. The ship was attacked by robbers, Hamlet was captured and was taken to Denmark. Now he is ready for revenge.

Ozrik appears - an approximate king - and reports that the king has bet that Hamlet will defeat Laertes in a duel. Hamlet agrees to a duel, but his heart is heavy, it foresees a trap.

Before the fight, he apologizes to Laertes: "My deed that offended your honor, nature, feeling, / - I declare this - was crazy."


The king prepared another trap for fidelity - he set a goblet of poisoned wine to give it to Hamlet when he wants to drink. Laertes hurts Hamlet, they change rapiers, Hamlet hurts Laertes. The queen drinks poisoned wine for Hamlet’s victory. The king failed to stop her. The queen dies, but manages to say: «Oh, my Hamlet, drink! I was poisoned. " Laertes confesses to Hamlet in betrayal: "King, the king is guilty ..."

Hamlet poisoned blade hits the king, and he dies. Horatio wants to finish off the poisoned wine to follow the prince. But the dying Hamlet asks: "Breathe in the harsh world, to mine / Tell a story." Horatio informs Fortinbras and the British ambassadors of the tragedy.

Fortinbras orders: «Let Hamlet be raised to the platform like a warrior ...»