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English Literature

Plot Summary

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In your coursework you should be aware of the story of Hamlet

Plot

Hamlet is a tragedy set in ancient Denmark. The main protagonist [protagonist: The chief character in a literary work. ] is Prince Hamlet, the son of King Hamlet and Queen Gertrude.

When the play opens, King Hamlet has recently died. Claudius, King Hamlet's brother, has been crowned the new King and has married Gertrude. Shortly after his mother's marriage, Prince Hamlet meets his father's spirit.

A still from the 1980 BBC adaptation of Hamlet. The ghost appears to Hamlet

The Ghost appears to Hamlet

People believe that King Hamlet was killed by a poisonous snake bite. However, the Ghost tells Hamlet that he was murdered by Claudius. Claudius killed the king by pouring poison into his ear while he slept. He says that Claudius has seduced Gertrude and stolen the throne. The Ghost tells Hamlet that "The serpent that did sting thy father's life / Now wears his crown".

The spirit implores Hamlet to seek revenge: "Let not the royal bed of Denmark be / A couch for luxury and damned incest".

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