William Shakespeare was an English poet and playwright, widely regarded as the greatest writer in the English language and the world's pre- eminent dramatist.
At the age of 18, he married Anne Hathaway, with whom he had three children: Susanna, and twins Hamnet and Judith. Shakespeare was a respected poet and playwright in his own day, but his reputation did not rise to its present heights until the 19th century.
His four tragedies, including Hamlet, King Lear, Othello, and Macbeth, considered some of the finest works in the English language.
Hamlet – Son of the former King, and nephew of the present King Claudius – King of Denmark, and Hamlet's uncle Gertrude – Queen of Denmark, and mother to Hamlet Polonius – Lord Chamberlain Ophelia – Daughter to Polonius Horatio – Friend to Hamlet Laertes – Son to Polonius
Protagonist of Hamlet is Prince of Denmark, son of deceased King and his wife, Queen Gertrude. The story opens on a chilly night at Elsinore, the Danish royal castle. Hamlet and Horatio have seen a ghost that looks like the dead King.
That night, the Ghost appears again. It leads Hamlet to a secluded place, claims that it is the actual spirit of his father, and discloses that he—the elder Hamlet—was murdered by his brother Claudius pouring poison in his ear. Hamlet wants to attests the ghost's reliability.
He will have them stage a play, The Murder of Gonzago, re-enacting his father's murder and determine Claudius's guilt or innocence by studying his reaction to it. When the murder scene is presented, Claudius abruptly rises and leaves the room, which Hamlet sees as proof of his uncle's guilt. On his way, Hamlet passes Claudius in prayer, but hesitates to kill him, reasoning that death in prayer would send him to heaven.
Together, Claudius and Polonius convince Ophelia to speak with Hamlet while they secretly listen. Hamlet enters, contemplating suicide ( To be, or not to be ). Polonius, spying on the scene from behind an arras and convinced that the prince's madness is indeed real, panics when it seems as if Hamlet is about to murder the Queen and cries out for help.
Hamlet, believing it is Claudius hiding behind the arras, stabs wildly through the cloth, killing Polonius. Claudius, now fearing for his life, finds a legitimate excuse to get rid of the prince.
He sends Hamlet to England on a diplomatic pretext. He is actually sending Hamlet to his death. Ophelia's brother, Laertes, returns from France, horrified by his father's death and his sister's madness.Claudius convinces Laertes that Hamlet is solely responsible. Hamlet has returned to Denmark.
Claudius swiftly concocts a plot to kill his nephew but make it appear to be an accident, taking all of the blame off his shoulders. Knowing of Hamlet's jealousy of Laertes' prowess with a sword, he proposes a fencing match between the two.
Laertes, enraged at the murder of his father, informs the king that he will further poison the tip of his sword so that a mere scratch would mean certain death. Claudius, unsure that capable Hamlet could receive even a scratch, plans to offer Hamlet poisoned wine if that fails. Hamlet and Laertes grapple, but the fight is broken up by Claudius and Gertrude. Despite Horatio's warnings, Hamlet accepts and the match begins.
After several rounds, Gertrude toasts Hamlet—against the urgent warning of Claudius—accidentally drinking the wine he poisoned. Between bouts, Laertes attacks and pierces Hamlet with his poisoned blade; in the ensuing scuffle, Hamlet is able to use Laertes's own poisoned sword against him. In his dying moments, Laertes is reconciled with Hamlet and reveals Claudius's murderous plot.
Hamlet stabs Claudius with the poisoned sword, and then forces him to drink from his own poisoned cup to make sure he dies. Horatio attempts to kill himself with the same poisoned wine but is stopped by Hamlet, so he will be the only one left alive to give a full account of the story. Gertrude, Claudius, Laertes, and Hamlet are all dead.