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Transcript of William Shakespeare-Hamlet
There was also a possible stage version of it, which is now lost.
The protagonist of Hamlet is Prince Hamlet of Denmark, son of King Hamlet, and nephew of King Claudius, his father's brother. Claudius married, Gertrude, Hamlet's mother, and took the throne for himself. The dead king’s son Hamlet, prince of Denmark, meets his father’s ghost on the battlements of Elsinore Castle. The ghost tells him that Claudius is guilty of his murder and asks Hamlet to take revenge. Hamlet pretends to be mad in order to gain time and observe the behavior of the king and queen.
Then he asks the actors in a Court play to insert a scene like that of his father’s murder, in order to observe Claudius’ reaction. The king’s confusion confirms the ghost’s revelation: Claudius is guilty of Hamlet’s father’s death. By mistake Hamlet kills Polonius, father of Ophelia, whom Hamlet loves. She goes insane and drowns herself. Polonius’ son, Laertes, swears revenge. He uses a poisoned foil and in a duel, Hamlet is killed as planned but before that, he mortally wounds Laertes and stabs the king. The queen by mistake drinks a poisoned cup intended for Hamlet and dies.
The central dilemma seems to be the choice between action and inaction, relative to Hamlet's incapacity to carry out the revenge.
The choice of words and images shows Hamlet's profound pessimism, he lists human sufferings and he examines life after death.
is the Prince of Denmark and the main character. He is the son of Queen Gertrude and the late King Hamlet, and the nephew of the present king, Claudius. Hamlet is depressed, unpleasant and cynical, full of hatred for his uncle’s plans. He is often hesitant but at other times he is impulsive.
is the King of Denmark, Hamlet’s uncle, and the play’s antagonist. Claudius is a calculating, ambitious politician and is in love with Gertrude.
is the Queen of Denmark, Hamlet’s mother, recently married to Claudius. Gertrude really loves Hamlet , but she is a shallow, weak woman.
is the Lord Chamberlain of Claudius’s court, a self-important, conniving old man. Polonius is Laertes and Ophelia's father.
is Hamlet’s close friend, he is loyal and helpful to Hamlet in the play. After Hamlet’s death, Horatio tells his story.
is Polonius’s daughter, a beautiful young woman with whom Hamlet has been in love. She is sweet and innocent and she follows her father's and her brother's wishes. She gives in to Polonius’s schemes to spy on Hamlet.
is Polonius’s son and Ophelia’s brother, a young man who spends much of the play in France. He is passionate and quick to action.
is the spectre of Hamlet’s recently deceased father. The ghost, who claims to have been murdered by Claudius, asks Hamlet to avenge him. Hamlet thinks that the ghost might be a devil sent to deceive him and tempt him to kill. The question of what the ghost is, or where it comes from, is never definitively resolved.