Something is rotten in the state of Denmark
Hamlet is the Prince of Denmark who lives in Elsinore Castle. When the play opens he is very sad because of the death of his father King Hamlet. His mother Queen Gertrude has married Claudius, his father’s brother (Hamlet’s uncle). Claudius has become the new King but Hamlet does not like or trust him.
A ghostly story
One night Hamlet and his best friend Horatio see a ghost on the castle wall. The ghost looks very similar to the dead King and tells Hamlet that he was murdered by his brother Claudius who poured poison in his ear while he was sleeping in his garden. The Ghost tells Hamlet to kill King Claudius. Hamlet pretends to be mad so that Claudius does not suspect that Hamlet knows his terrible secret.
Ophelia loves Hamlet
Polonius works at the Royal Court and has a beautiful daughter called Ophelia and a son Laertes. Ophelia is in love with Hamlet.
But she is confused because of Hamlet’s strange behaviour. The King is very suspicious.
A play within a play
Some travelling actors arrive at Elsinore Castle for the coronation of King Claudius. Hamlet asks them to perform the Ghost’s story on stage, featuring the murder of King Hamlet with poison. When he sees the performance, Claudius suddenly stands up and runs out of the court. This proves to Hamlet that Claudius is guilty of killing his father.
The killing of Polonius
In the middle of the night Hamlet goes to see his mother in her bedroom. The queen is afraid of Hamlet and she begins to scream. Hamlet sees somebody hiding behind a curtain.
Hamlet assumes that it is his uncle, King Claudius. But when Hamlet kills the person behind the curtain, he sees he has killed Polonius.
Ophelia kills herself
Ophelia goes mad, walking around the castle singing strange songs and talking to herself. Finally she jumps off the castle tower into a river and drowns.
Her brother, Laertes is very angry, thinking Hamlet has killed his father and sending his sister into such a tragic state.
With the help of Laertes, King Claudius decides on a plan to kill Hamlet. His idea is to organise a duel between Laertes and Hamlet using a poisoned sword and poisoned wine.
The tragedy unfolds
Later, in the castle Laertes and Hamlet meet for the duel. The Queen accidentally drinks the poisoned wine that Claudius prepared for Hamlet. Hamlet and Laertes are both wounded with the poisoned sword.
Just before Laertes dies, he tells Hamlet that it was King Claudius who planned to kill him with the poisoned sword. Hamlet attacks Claudius and forces him to drink the poisoned wine. In the end, everybody dies, including King Claudius and Queen Gertrude, together with Laertes and Hamlet.