William Shakespeare

HAMLET


Summary HAMLET by William Shakespeare

The plot of this drama, tragedy, is based on the story of a treacherous conspiracy and betrayal at the court of the Kingdom of Denmark. The main character is Prince Hamlet, the future heir to the throne of Denmark, who was supposed to have a beautiful life as the ruler of the land in the future.
Instead, terrible things happen in his youth: first, the sudden death of his father, and even worse than that, the realization that his father was actually cowardly murdered, betrayed by two other people close to Hamlet: his mother Gertrude and his uncle Claudius. Hamlet learns that the two of them were previously lovers who poisoned his father, so that his uncle could take the throne that belonged to his father and Hamlet, and then married his mother.
In addition to the conspiracy surrounding Hamlet, his friends Rosencrantz and Guildenstern join in, supposedly guarding Hamlet, but actually spying on him on the king's orders. The same goes for Polonius, Ophelia's father, the girl whom Hamlet loved and who loved him. In order to help the king find out what Hamlet is planning, he tries to use Hamlet's love for Ophelia to uncover the truth.
All the lies are revealed to Hamlet at one point, almost driving him to madness. Hamlet is unlike the people at the court who surround him, who are interested in power and their own interests. He is uncorrupted, and to him, truth and justice are the most important.
In order to conceal himself, Hamlet must pretend to be mad, while his true mental state increasingly turns into frenzy because of despair. Hamlet wants to fulfill his father's wish for revenge, but Hamlet is not in a simple situation. An internal struggle arises within him, along with countless questions: from how to seek revenge against those closest to oneself, to what is the meaning of a world and life composed of betrayals and vengeance, and what is the right thing to do.
Thus, the famous question of Hamlet arises: to be or not to be, that is the question of existence or non-existence, in the immoral world that surrounds him.


FULL BOOK SUMMARY

  • At the beginning, Prince Hamlet mourns the death of his father, who allegedly died from a snake bite in the garden. At the same time, he is angry because his mother Gertrude has remarried his uncle Claudius, who unlawfully took the place of the King of Denmark, which belonged to Hamlet after his father's death.

  • Hamlet learns that his father's ghost appears on the fortress walls at night, and he wants to meet him. During the meeting with his father's ghost, the ghost reveals to him that he was killed by having poison poured into his ear while he slept in the garden. This was done by his uncle Claudius and his mother Gertrude, who were lovers. The ghost of his father asks Hamlet to avenge him because his soul will not have peace until the revenge is carried out.

  • Hamlet decides to feign madness, which will serve as a mask for him to observe the events in the castle without being hindered.

  • To verify the truth of the ghost's story, Hamlet decides to hire a theatrical troupe to perform a play called "The Murder of Gonzago". Hamlet includes scenes in the play that resemble the murder described by the ghost. He names the play "The Mousetrap".

  • When the play is performed in front of King Claudius, he becomes disturbed by the murder scenes and leaves the room. Hamlet is convinced that Claudius is the murderer and decides to kill him.

  • King Claudius becomes aware that he is in danger from Hamlet. Therefore, he brings two of Hamlet's friends, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, supposedly to take care of Hamlet, but their real task is to spy on him and find out what Hamlet is planning. Polonius, the state secretary, whose daughter Ophelia Hamlet once loved, also tries to find out for the king and queen what Hamlet is planning. However, Hamlet does not reveal the truth to any of them but confuses them with his false madness. Especially Ophelia, whom he once loved, he is now harsh and insensitive towards her in his desperation and feigned madness, and he forces her to go to a convent.

  • Hamlet tries to fulfill his father's command and avenge his uncle Claudius, but he is in a severe mental state similar to madness, so he postpones this act.

  • On one occasion, while Polonius was hiding behind a curtain, spying on a conversation between Hamlet and his mother Queen Gertrude, Hamlet noticed this and stabbed him through the curtain with his sword.

  • King Claudius, fearing for his own safety, decides to send Hamlet to England as soon as possible. Under the pretext of punishing Hamlet for Polonius's death by exiling him to England together with Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, he sends a letter to the King of England ordering that Hamlet be executed as soon as possible.

  • However, Hamlet manages to see through this plan and thwart it by altering the letter, so Rosencrantz and Guildenstern go to the gallows instead of him.

  • Deeply mournful over the death of her father and Hamlet's behavior, Ophelia drowned herself in water, grieving for the fate of her unrequited love. Her brother Laertes has just returned to Denmark from France to seek revenge for their father's death.

  • After Ophelia's funeral, where Hamlet and Laertes argue over who loved her more, Laertes swears to avenge Hamlet for her death. He conspires with Claudius to kill Hamlet. They plan a duel with swords, in which Laertes will have an advantage as his sword will be dipped in poison. It will be enough for him to just slightly cut Hamlet with that sword, and he will die.

  • In case this plan fails and Hamlet wins the duel, King Claudius has poured poison into the drink that the winner is supposed to toast with after the duel. This way, whether he loses or wins the duel, Hamlet will ultimately die.

  • The duel begins in front of the king, queen, and other dignitaries at the court. In the midst of the swordfight, Laertes wounds Hamlet with the poisoned sword but later mistakenly drops the sword. Hamlet takes the poisoned sword and stabs Laertes, who dies from the poison. Before his death, Laertes informs Hamlet that he too has been wounded by the same sword and will soon die.

  • Queen Gertrude, convinced that her son is winning the battle, drinks from a cup containing the poison that Claudius intended for Hamlet. The queen dies.

  • As Laertes lies almost dead, he confesses his part in the diabolical plan and reveals that Claudius is responsible for Gertrude's death. Enraged, Hamlet stabs Claudius with the poisoned sword and then forces him to drink the remaining poison.

  • Before dying, Hamlet declares that the throne should belong to Prince Fortinbras of Norway, from whom it was once taken, and he implores Horatio to tell only the truth when recounting the events that led to the conflict and the duel at the castle.

  • The play ends with Fortinbras, the new king of Denmark, organizing a funeral for the slain Prince Hamlet.





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