Hamlet, Prince of Denmark, has not succeeded his father as King. On the throne is his uncle Claudius, who married Queen Gertrude time immediately, upon the death of her husband, the first King Hamlet. At midnight the ghost of the dead King Appears to his son on the battlements of the castle and commands revenge.
Hamlet, unsure at first, simulates madness and asks for a performance of a play with a plot much like his father's murder, So THAT he can see how the King responds. Claudius, deeply alarmed plans to send Hamlet to England. Before he leaves, however, he kills Polonius (the father of Ophelia-who loves Hamlet) who is hiding behind a curtain in his mother's room. Two Messengers Conduct Hamlet towards the voyage to England, bearing letters that order his death When he arrives. Laertes, Ophelia's brother enraged by the news of his father's death finds That his sister is helplessly mad, and Swears to kill Hamlet. Ophelia drowns herself and Hamlet gets back to Denmark in time for her burial. Later, at a fencing match where Laertes seeks to stab Hamlet with a poisoned rapier, both men are wounded. Queen Gertrude drinks, in error, the poisoned wine Claudius has prepared for Hamlet. Laertes and Gertrude die; Hamlet, after killing Claudius, collapses into the arms of his friend Horatio and dies.