1/1 Elsinore. A platform before the castle. Francisco is at his post; Bernardo enters and relieves him; Horatio and Marcellus enter; Francisco exits. The men discuss the ghost; the ghost enters; the men speak; the ghost exits; the men discuss the ghost; the ghost enters; Horatio questions the ghost again; the ghost exits; the men decide to tell Hamlet about the ghost.
1/2 A room of state in the castle. The king and queen,
Hamlet, Polonius, Laertes, Voltimand, Corenlius, Lords, and attendants
enter; the king sends Voltimand and Cornelius to the Norwegian king; Voltimand
and Cornelius exit. The king allows Laertes to return to France.
The king and queen reproach Hamlet for his mournfulness; Hamlet agrees
to stay at Elsinore; all exit, except Hamlet. Hamlet soliloquizes
on his desire to die and on the
1/3 A room in Polonius' house. Laertes advises Ophelia to receive Hamlet prudently; Polonius enters and tells Laertes how he should conduct himself; Laertes exits. Polonius tells Ophelia to behave circumspectly with Hamlet.
1/4 The platform before the castle. Hamlet, Horatio, and Marcellus speak; the ghost enters; Hamlet addresses it; the ghost beckons; Horatio and Marcellus try to restrain Hamlet, who repulses them and exits with the ghost; Horatio and Marcellus follow.
1/5 Another part of the platform. The ghost tells Hamlet
he is the spirit of Hamlet's father, who was murdered by the king; the
ghost asks Hamlet to punish the king, but to spare the queen; the ghost
exits. Hamlet soliloquizes; Horatio and Marcellus enter; Hamlet swears
them to silence; the ghost, below, demands secrecy.
3/1 Elsinore. A room in the castle. The king and queen, Polonius,
Ophelia, Rosencratz, and Guildenstern enter; Rosencrantz and Guildenstern
speak; Polonius says Hamlet wants the king to attend the play; Rosencrantz
and Guildenstern exit. The king and Polonius speak about Hamlet; the queen
exits; the king and Polonius speak, then exit. Hamlet enters and
wonders whether or not to be. Ophelia enters; Hamlet tells her to
enter a nunnery;
3/3 A room in the castle. The king commissions Rosencrantz
and Guildenstern to accompany Hamlet to England; Rosencrantz and Guildenstern
exit. Polonius enters, and says he will hide in the queen's room;
3/4 The queen's closet. The queen and Polonius enter; Polonius hides. Hamlet enters; the queen and Hamlet criticize each other; Polonius cries out; Hamlet stabs the arras and kills Polonius. Hamlet uncovers Polonius; he continues to castigate the queen; the ghost enters; Hamlet and the ghost speak; the ghost exits. The queen thinks Hamlet is mad; they speak; Hamlet removes Polonius.
4/1 A room in the castle. The king and queen, Rosencrantz,
and Guildenstern enter; Rosencrantz and Guildenstern exit; the queen says
that Hamlet has killed Polonius; Rosencrantz and Guildenstern enter; the
king tells them to seek Hamlet and the corpse; Rosencrantz and Guildenstern
exit; the king
4/2 Another room in the castle. Hamlet enters, followed by Rosencrantz and Guildenstern; they summon Hamlet to the king.
4/3 Another room in the castle. The king, and attendants
enter; the king says that Hamlet is dangerous. Rosencrantz enters and speaks;
Hamlet and Guildenstern enter; the king and Hamlet speak; attendants exit
to recover the body. The king says Hamlet must leave for England;
Hamlet exits; Rosencrantz and Guildenstern exit. The king soliloquizes
on Hamlet's planned execution in England.
4/4 A plain in Denmark. Fortinbras, a captain, and soldiers
enter; Fortinbras speaks; all exit, except the captian.
4/5 Elsinore. A room in the castle. The queen and Horatio discuss
Ophelia's madness; Horatio exits, and re-enters with Ophelia; Ophelia sings;
the king enters; Ophelia sings, and exits; Horatio exits. The king
enumerates the recent sorrows. A gentleman enters and says that Laertes
and a mob are about to break in; Laertes enters, armed, Danes following;
the Danes retire. Laertes demands an explanation of Polonius' death;
the king calms him; Ophelia enters, sings, speaks madly, and exits; the
king promises Laertes satisfaction.
5/1 Elsinore. A churchyard. Two clowns enter and discuss the circumstances of Ophelia's death; Hamlet and Horatio enter at a distance; the second clown exits. Hamlet and the first clown discuss death. The king and queen, Laertes, lords, and priests enter with Ophelia's corpse; Laertes complains about the unceremonious funeral; Laertes leaps into the grave in despair; Hamlet also leaps into the grave; Laertes attacks Hamlet; attendants part them; Hamlet says he loved Ophelia; Hamlet exits; Horatio exits.
5/2 A hall in the castle. Hamlet and Horatio enter; Hamlet
describes how he escaped execution. Osric enters and says that Laertes
challenges Hamlet to a duel; Osric exits. A lord enters, speaks,
and exits; the king and queen, Laertes, lords, Osric, and attendants
enter; Hamlet apologizes to Laertes; they choose their foils and fence.
Hamlet hits Laertes; Hamlet refuses the king's offer of wine; Hamlet hits
Laertes again. The queen drinks from the poisoned cup. Laertes
wounds Hamlet; they change rapiers, and Hamlet wounds Laertes. The
queen falls, says her drink was poisoned, and dies. Laertes
falls; he tells Hamlet that the foil is poisoned and the king is to blame;
Hamlet stabs the king; the king dies. Laertes and Hamlet forgive
each other; Laertes dies.
1. There are a million questions relevant to this play. I have selected my favorites. Don't be fooled into thinking that these represent the only important issues in this play. "If we had world enough and time..." Images to watch: poison, infection, revenge, secrecy, the arras, madness.
2. Consider the ghost. Should Hamlet believe him? Is he really Hamlet's dad? How does your belief in him affect your reading of the play?
3. Is there really a ghost at all? Even if an actor portrays him (as is usually done), how do you know that he is really therefor Hamlet? Does the ghost ask Hamlet to do anything that has not already occurred to Hamlet? Is Hamlet sane? Are we watching/reading real, historical events or simply a play within Hamlet's mind?
4. What exactly does the ghost order Hamlet to do? How well does Hamlet follow orders?
5. Compare the 3 men of action--Hamlet, Laertes, Fortinbras--of this play. How successful is action versus contemplation in this play?
6. Consider Hamlet's "friends"--Horatio, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern.
7. Consider the Claudius-Gertrude relationship. Did Gertrude know
of Claudius' murder of her first husband? What (if anything) is Gertrude
guilty of in the play?
|An essay entitled "The Hamlet Paradigm" by John S. Mamoun which
introduces various themes in the play: http://www.hamlet.org/j_s_mamoun.html#central
Loose Ends and Inconsistencies in the First Quarto of Shakespeare's
Reformatting Hamlet: Creating a Q1 Hamlet for Television
A Romance of Electronic Scholarship; with the True and Lamentable Tragedies of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark”: http://www.shu.ac.uk/emls/03-3/fostshak.html
"The Serpent Now Wears the Crown: A Typological Reading of Hamlet" by Peter J. Leithart: http://www.visi.com/~contra_m//cm/features/cm11_hamlet.html
John Masefield's "Hamlet, Prince of Denmark": http://www.mwsc.edu/~eng368/summer97/public/7.24.97-16.23.59.html
Professor Sir Walter Murdoch's "Hamlets All": http://www.thehub.com.au/~morrisqc/Murdoch/Hamletsall.htm
Murdoch's essay "Hamlet Revisited": http://www.thehub.com.au/~morrisqc/Murdoch/HamletRevisit.htm
Murdoch's "The Policy of Polonius": http://www.thehub.com.au/~morrisqc/Murdoch/Polonius.htm
"Certain Speculations on Hamlet, the Calendar, and Martin Luther" by Steve Sohmer: http://www.shu.ac.uk/emls/02-1/sohmshak.html
A Hamlet message board: http://hamlet.hypermart.net/bbs/config.pl
The following site contains links to other essays about the play: http://www.hamlet.org/hamlet_essays.html
|Review of Kenneth Branagh's movie version of the play http://www.english.upenn.edu/~cmazer/hamfilm.html
Review of Franco Zeffereli's movie version, with Mel Gibson as Hamlet:
|Site devoted to the study of Hamlet: http://www.hamlet.org/
A helpful website by Ian Delaney called "A Short Course on Shakespeare's Hamlet" http://server1.hypermart.net/hamlet/course.html