Claudius hastily married King Hamlet's widow, GertrudeHamlet's mother, and took the throne for himself. Denmark has a long-standing feud with neighbouring Norway, in which King Hamlet slew King Fortinbras of Norway in a battle some years ago. Although Denmark defeated Norway, and the Norwegian throne fell to King Fortinbras's infirm brother, Denmark fears that an invasion led by the dead Norwegian king's son, Prince Fortinbrasis imminent. On a cold night on the ramparts of Elsinorethe Danish royal castle, the sentries Bernardo and Marcellus discuss a ghost resembling the late King Hamlet which they have recently seen, and bring Prince Hamlet's friend Horatio as a witness.
They leave, and Polonius enters to inform the King that Hamlet is on his way to Gertrude and that Polonius plans to hide there and eavesdrop on the conversation. Promising to report back to Claudius before Claudius retires to bed, Polonius leaves. Claudius then prays at his private altar, although he says his sin is so great that it renders him incapable of praying.
He admits before God that he has committed the "primal eldest curse" by carrying out his "brother's murder. He begs instead that some divine assistance might bow his knees and soften his heart so that he can ask for forgiveness.
Hamlet enters and sees Claudius in prayer. He recognizes his perfect opportunity to kill Claudius, but stops himself. He remembers that Claudius killed King Hamlet without allowing him any opportunity to make amends for his sins, and that King Hamlet now languishes in purgatory awaiting entry to heaven.
Believing that Claudius is praying for forgiveness, Hamlet knows that by killing Claudius now, he would send the King straight to heaven. Claudius would escape the eternal punishment that is his due. Analysis From the top of the scene, any ambiguity concerning Claudius' character disappears.
He identifies Hamlet as his enemy and plots to have him dispatched to England. He conspires with Polonius to spy on Hamlet yet again. Then, kneeling in prayer before sleeping, the King confesses the depth and severity of his crime. He likens himself to Cain, the primal or first murderer, and admits that he cannot bring himself to ask for God's mercy.
He expects to spend eternity in hell. Hamlet enters as the King kneels with his back toward Hamlet. Hamlet reaches for his sword, and the ambiguity shifts to Hamlet. His Christian morality informs him that because the King appears to pray, he is probably confessing.
By ending his life in mid-confession, Hamlet would allow the King to go straight to heaven by virtue of his cleansed soul. Hamlet would prefer to send the King to hell.
He has no problem with the immorality of robbing a man of his salvation. Hamlet is capable of imitating King Claudius' cruelty.
Some critics believe that Hamlet vacillates yet again in yet another self-deception of word play. In fact, this moment represents the pivotal point in the play — the moment of truth.
Had Hamlet taken charge and acted rather than retreating into his words, he would have prevented the six deaths that follow. Most importantly, the tragic hero might not have met his inevitable end.
Then, of course, the play would have been cut short, and no tragedy would exist. Had Hamlet killed Claudius here, he would have more closely resembled Macbeth who murdered innocence — in Macbeth's own words, "Macbeth hath murdered sleep" — by taking the life of an unprotected, unaware King.
The action would label Hamlet a villain, not a hero. Claudius survives in order to preserve Hamlet's character. Glossary weal a sound or prosperous state; well-being; welfare.Consequently, it is reasonable to assume that Shakespeare completed the play in According to contemporary references, Hamlet became an instant hit, and the great Shakespearean actor, Richard Burbage, received much acclaim in the lead role.
Get free homework help on William Shakespeare's Hamlet: play summary, scene summary and analysis and original text, quotes, essays, character analysis, and filmography courtesy of CliffsNotes. William Shakespeare's Hamlet follows the young prince Hamlet home to Denmark to attend his father's funeral.
Hamlet is shocked to find his mother already remarried to his Uncle Claudius, the dead king's. Hamlet, like Shakespeare's other plays, is written in a combination of verse (poetry) and prose (how we talk every day).
But, as Polonius would say, there's method in the madness. VerseIn Hamlet—. Hamlet by William Shakespeare Words | 6 Pages. The play Hamlet, by William Shakespeare, takes place in a time where the impossible was a part of the lives of everyday people.
Occurrences that people in the modern time would believe unbelievable. Hamlet by: William Shakespeare Summary. Plot Overview; Summary & Analysis The play’s climax arrives when Hamlet stages a play to “catch the conscience of the king” (nationwidesecretarial.com) and get conclusive evidence of Claudius’s guilt.
(nationwidesecretarial.com). Hamlet’s life is over, but the struggle to decide the truth about Hamlet and his life is not. Shakespeare homepage | Hamlet | Entire play ACT I SCENE I. Elsinore. A platform before the castle. FRANCISCO at his post. Enter to him BERNARDO in which our valiant Hamlet--For so this side of our known world esteem'd him-- What is between you?
give me up the truth. OPHELIA He hath, my lord, of late made many tenders Of his affection to me.