Hamlet Summary at WikiSummaries, free book summaries
what advice does Laerted give to Ophelia as he says farewell to her prior to his departure for Paris? change his mind about Hamlet and the princes relationship to ophelia? what does Hamlet make Rosencrantz and Guildenstern confess?. Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are characters in William Shakespeare's tragedy Hamlet. Realising that he lacks allies except for Horatio, Hamlet gives the speech "What a piece of work is a . What links here · Related changes · Upload file · Special pages · Permanent link · Page information · Wikidata item · Cite this page. quotes, essays, character analysis, and filmography courtesy of CliffsNotes. Claudius questions Rosencrantz and Guildenstern about Hamlet's madness, asking Polonius greets Ophelia and instructs her to pretend to read a book so that.
He reveals his plan for the players. He will instruct them to perform a drama very similar to the circumstances in which his father was killed. If he observes Claudius looking guilty, he will have definitive proof that Claudius did murder his father. Act III scene i Characters: Rosencrantz and Guildenstern report that they have not; however, Hamlet is looking forward to seeing a performance from the recently arrived players.
The King and Queen agree to attend the performance to help cheer up Hamlet.
Hamlet Characters review at Absolute Shakespeare
Rosencrantz and Guildenstern leave. The King asks Gertrude to leave also, as he and Polonius have arranged to spy on Hamlet through Ophelia. Polonius directs Ophelia to walk through the atrium, holding a book. Polonius and Claudius then hide, as Hamlet approaches. Hamlet enters, talking to himself.
Opening his speech with the famous words, "To be or not to be," he broods over the painful experiences of life. He concludes that everyone would commit suicide, if they were not afraid of what would happen after death.
At this point, he acknowledges Ophelia. But instead of being affectionate to her, he is harsh and cold. He tells her that he never really loved her. He rails against her, and women in general. The King and Polonius enter again. The King is convinced that Hamlet's insanity is not the result of love; he decides that Hamlet is dangerous, and should be sent to England, hopefully to recover.
Polonius still thinks that Hamlet's behavior is the result of denied love, and resolves to spy on Hamlet in Gertrude's bedroom, while Gertrude questions Hamlet about his feelings. Act III scene ii Characters: Horatio arrives, and Hamlet tells Horatio about his plan to determine the King's guilt.
Hamlet asks Horatio to watch Claudius closely during the play. Claudius, Gertrude, Polonius, Ophelia, Rosencrantz, Guildenstern, and assorted other courtiers arrive for the play.
Hamlet returns to his pretense of insanity. He sits next to Ophelia, teasing her with a variety of sexual innuendos. The players enter, and after enacting a brief silent summary of the play, they begin the performance. The player King and player Queen discuss their love for one another. The player Queen pledges her loyalty and leaves the player King to sleep. Lucianus, the player King's nephew, enters and pours poison in the player King's ears. Outraged, Claudius rises suddenly and demands lights, then exits with everyone except for Hamlet and Horatio.
Hamlet and Horatio agree that the King's behavior was very suspicious, and Hamlet concludes that Claudius must be guilty. Rosencrantz and Guildenstern enter once more. They inform Hamlet that his mother is very upset and wishes to see him.
Rosencrantz and Guildenstern
Act III scene iii Characters: Claudius, Rosencrantz, Guildenstern Claudius is very upset by the play. He resolves to send Hamlet away to England, where he will no longer be a threat. He instructs Rosencrantz and Guildenstern to accompany Hamlet to England, and they fawningly agree. He informs the King that he is about to go hide behind the curtain in Gertrude's room, in hopes of receiving information from Hamlet's conversation with her.
Left alone, the King is struck by guilt. He despairs of his terrible offense in murdering his brother, but finds himself unable to repent of his deed, since he's still enjoying the rewards of his crime. As he's praying, Hamlet enters, planning to kill him.
But then he has second thoughts. He reasons that if he kills Claudius now, Claudius' soul will go to heaven, since he has just asked forgiveness for all his sins. Since Hamlet's father was killed while sleeping, and unable to confess before death, Hamlet decides that this would be too merciful.
Act III scene iv Characters: Hamlet asks what's wrong; his mother tells him that he's offended his "father", to which he replies that she is the one who has offended his father. He continues to speak harshly, and she becomes afraid, crying out for help.
Polonius makes a noise from behind the curtain. Assuming it to be Claudius, Hamlet reacts impulsively, stabbing the intruder. Hamlet's mother is stunned, and Hamlet is also distressed when he discovers that he has killed Polonius. Nevertheless, he continues with his indictment of his mother. He hints that his father has been murdered, but focuses mainly on Getrude's infidelity by becoming involved with the inferior Claudius.
She expresses remorse over her actions, but he continues to press her. Then the ghost enters, visible only to Hamlet. The ghost reminds Hamlet of his real purpose — avenging his murder by killing Claudius. As they converse, Gertrude becomes even more upset, since Hamlet seems to be talking to the air. However, he assures his mother that he is not crazy.
Hamlet begs his mother to repent, and stay away from Claudius. He also tells her not to reveal what she's learned to Claudius. She promises to keep it a secret. Act IV scene i Characters: Claudius, Gertrude, Rosencrantz, Guildenstern The queen rushes to tell Claudius of the events that have just occurred. He reflects on the difficulty of explaining this murder to the court, and resolves to send the dangerous Hamlet away as quickly as possible.
He summons Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, and commands them to go find Hamlet and obtain Polonius' body. Act IV scene ii Characters: Hamlet, Rosencrantz, Guildenstern Hamlet has just finished disposing of Polonius' body when Rosencrantz and Guildenstern arrive. They ask him where the body is, but he refuses to tell them. He accuses them of being foolish spies in the service of Claudius. They tell him he must visit Claudius, and the three leave together.
He stresses that although he believes Hamlet should be controlled, it must be done carefully since Hamlet is well liked. Rosencrantz and Guildenstern enter with Hamlet. Claudius asks where Polonius is. Hamlet replies "At supper," joking that Polonius is at the worms' supper, being eaten by them. He muses on how one's position in life means nothing after death. Claudius tells Hamlet that he is to leave for England. Hamlet says goodbye, and exits. Left alone, Claudius reflects on his own scheme; he has sent letters to England, ordering the death of Hamlet once he arrives.
Act IV scene iv Characters: On the way, he encounters Hamlet and Rosencrantz and Guildenstern on the way to meet the ship for England. Hamlet and Fortinbras' Captain discuss the goals of Fortinbras' army. The captain tells Hamlet that they are making war to reclaim a small piece of land, which is not actually worth much. Hamlet is stunned that Fortinbras is willing to risk so many men's lives over something that matters so little.
He compares this to his own inability to kill Claudius, despite the fact that his father has been murdered and his mother seduced.
He decides to start acting on his vengeful feelings. Act IV scene v Characters: Ophelia is being driven insane with grief for the loss of her father. Gertrude agrees to speak with her.
The queen tries to question her, but she responds with cryptic songs, a clear sign that her father's murder has driven her insane. Claudius enters, and both Claudius and Gertrude attempt to placate Ophelia.
A messenger arrives and alerts the King that Laertes has returned, and is followed by a rebellious mob. Laertes enters, telling the mob to wait outside. He asks Claudius for his father. The King admits that Polonius is dead, but attempts to calm Laertes. He compliments Laertes for wanting to avenge his father's death, but assures him that he was not the one who killed Polonius.
Ophelia enters again, singing and babbling. Laertes is saddened by her condition, and further convinced to take revenge. When Ophelia exits, the King persuades Laertes to hear his account of the events, promising to reveal who was responsible for Polonius' death. Act IV scene vi Characters: Horatio Horatio is approached by several sailors, who have brought him a letter from Hamlet.
The letter informs him that Hamlet is now on his way back to Denmark, after a chance attack by pirates left him a prisoner on a pirate ship. The pirates, however, treated him respectfully, in exchange for an audience with the king.
Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are still on their way to England. The letter requests that Horatio find Hamlet as quickly as possible. Act IV scene vii Characters: He explains that he was unable to punish Hamlet because Hamlet's mother loves him, as does the public. A letter arrives, informing Claudius that Hamlet has unexpectedly arrived back in Denmark. Laertes is determined to get his revenge, and Claudius offers to help him. Claudius suggests a plan: Laertes will exchange his dull fencing sword for a sharp one, so that he can kill Hamlet during the match and make it look like an accident.
Laertes agrees, adding that he will also poison the tip of the sword. Claudius suggests a back-up plan of a poisoned cup at the match, from which he will offer Hamlet a drink if the poisoned sword fails. The queen enters, with the tragic news that Ophelia has drowned.
Laertes leaves, mourning for Ophelia. Act V scene i Characters: Gravediggers, Hamlet, Horatio, Claudius, Gertrude, Laertes Two characters are bantering with one another while one digs a grave.
The grave is for Ophelia; the two discuss whether she deserves a Christian funeral, when her death appears to be a suicide. Hamlet and Horatio approach. Hamlet reflects once more on how death makes everyone equal, no matter what his position in life. He asks the gravedigger whose grave it is, but the gravedigger teases him with a series of puns and does not answer.
Claudius, Gertrude, Laertes, and courtiers arrive, carrying a corpse. Hamlet and Horatio hide, hoping to discover who has died. The accompanying priest refuses to perform all the rites for the corpse, because of the suspicious circumstances of her death. Laertes grows upset and insults the priest, and Hamlet realizes that the corpse is Ophelia. Struck with sorrow, Hamlet rushes forward, proclaiming his sadness and jumping into the grave with Ophelia's corpse.
Laertes curses him and they begin wrestling. Hamlet insists that he loved Ophelia, so much that "forty thousand brothers" could not have loved her so much. Still declaring his love for Ophelia, he exits. Claudius takes this opportunity to assure Laertes that vengeance will be coming soon. Act V scene ii Characters: Hamlet, Horatio, Osric, Claudius, Laertes, Gertrude, Fortinbras Hamlet is telling Horatio how, while traveling with Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, he discovered and opened the letter that ordered English authorities to execute him.
He replaced this letter with one directing that Rosencrantz and Guildenstern be put to death instead. He says he doesn't feel guilty for this action, because Rosencrantz and Guildenstern betrayed him.
However, he does feel bad about how he behaved toward Laertes, since like himself, Laertes has also lost a father. A courtier named Osric enters with a message. Obscuring his message in nonsensical flattery, he tells Hamlet that Laertes has arrived in court and that Claudius has arranged a fencing match between them, placing a bet that Hamlet will win.
Hamlet noncommittally agrees, and Osric leaves. Horatio discourages Hamlet from accepting the match, but Hamlet decides to go ahead with it, despite vague misgivings. Claudius, Gertrude, Laertes, Osric and assorted courtiers enter. Hamlet begins by apologizing to Laertes, explaining that his actions were the result of insanity. Laertes says he cannot accept the apology without advice on the matter of honor, but he will accept Hamlet's love.
The match begins, and Hamlet makes a hit. Claudius drinks to him, then drops a "priceless pearl" — actually the poison — into the cup. Hamlet scores a second hit. The queen moves to drink to his success, and Claudius tries to stop her, but it's too late. Laertes and Hamlet continue to fence. In the scuffle Hamlet seizes Laertes' sword, and they are both wounded by it. Laertes confesses that he has been killed by his own treachery.
At the same time, the queen dies, crying out that the drink was poisoned. Also dying, Laertes unburdens his heart to Hamlet, telling him that they have both been poisoned, due to the treachery of the king. Hamlet then stabs Claudius with the poisoned sword, and makes him drink the remains of the poisoned cup.
Laertes asks Hamlet's forgiveness, and dies as well. Fortinbras' trumpets sound in the distance. Hamlet says he hopes that the kingdom will become Fortinbras', and asks Horatio to tell his tragic story. At this, Hamlet dies. Fortinbras and his attendants enter. He demands to know what has happened.
Horatio promises to tell the long, terrible story. Fortinbras mourns the death of the royal family, despite the political possibilities it offers him.
He orders Hamlet's body to be carried out like a soldier's. They are apparently unaware of what is in the letter, though Shakespeare never explicitly says so.
Along the journey, the distrustful Hamlet finds and rewrites the letter, instructing the executioner to kill Rosencrantz and Guildenstern instead. Ambassadors returning later report that "Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are dead. Rosencrantz and Guildenstern play W. Gilbert 's play is a comedy in which Rosencrantz plots with his friend Guildenstern to get rid of Hamlet, so that Rosencrantz can marry Ophelia.
They discover that Claudius has written a play. The king's literary work is so embarrassingly bad that Claudius has decreed that anyone who mentions it must be executed. They obtain the manuscript and convince Hamlet to perform it. When he does, Claudius decrees that he must die, but is eventually persuaded to banish him to England.
Rosencrantz and Ophelia can now be together. The play is primarily a comedy, but they often stumble upon deep philosophical truths through their nonsensical ramblings.