The ghost of Denmark's murdered King Hamlet appears to his son, Prince Hamlet, bidding him to kill King Claudius, his murderer, who has usurped the crown and taken Queen Gertrude as his wife. His indecision and delays in action may be regarded as ploys by which he hopes to avoid the responsibility that his father's ghost has assigned him, and his vacillation and inactivity result complicate an already bad situation. At the end of the play, many of the lords of the castle lie dead, including both Queen Gertrude and Hamlet, so one wonders whether the protagonist's father was ever avenged in any real sense, even though King Claudius has also been killed.
This report prepared by Gary L. Pullman
Young Prince of Denmark, Hamlet, is visited by what claims to be the ghost of his father, who tells him Hamlet's uncle murdered his father and married his mother to become the current king. The ghost demands revenge. Hamlet must figure out whether the ghost told the truth, and if so, how to avenge his father's death. There are several comic characters, and the sometime girlfriend Ophelia to deal with, as well as his rage at his mother for her part in how things have played out. This play is thrown at us so many ways, it can be difficult to continue to appreciate it. The best way is to reread it on own's own, and to see it performed in as many ways as possible.
This report prepared by David Loftus
Certainly the most studied play in world literature, Shakespeare's quintessential drama "Hamlet" goes beyond comparison. More has been written about the character Hamlet than any other figure in history, except Christ, so little can be added some four hundred years after it was written! Hamlet, the young Prince of Denmark, is visited by the ghost of his father, who tells him that he's been murdered and that the culprit is his own brother Claudius. He makes his son swear that he'll extract revenge. And for the next four acts, the "melancholy Dane" takes his time in getting the revenge. And revenge he gets! This being a Shakespearean tragedy, the protagonist must die, due to his fatal tragic flaw, and die young Hamlet does, but not before Act V is scattered with corpses here and there. To say "something is rotten in Denmark" proves to be an understatement!
This report prepared by Bill Hobbs