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Summary of ACT 1 Most important information + clarifications.

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1 Summary of ACT 1 Most important information + clarifications

2 Act 1 1.Claudius’ speech – he talks about Old Hamlet, his own wedding, Fortinbras’ threat of war, King of Norway (Fortinbras’ uncle - old and sick) 2.He tells Hamlet he loves him like a son and that he will be the next king of Denmark (promises). He also asked Hamlet to stay in Elsinore, and not to go back to school in Wittenberg ( I can see you everyday… = spy). 3.Laertes – wants permission to go back to France. 4.‘The most important person to the King’ – Polonius and Hamlet (Claudius is hypocrite, a liar who wants people to like him as their new king)

3 Act 1 5.Hamlet – very sarcastic and distant to Claudius (‘I am more of a nephew and less than a son’); He is still wearing black clothes for his father (he is in mourning). 6.He is cold and distant to his mom, even accusing her that she did not love her 1st husband (‘My grief is real. It is not just black clothes and eyes full of tears.’). ‘weakness, your name is woman!’ 7.Hamlet wants to commit suicide (but it is against religion) – so he decides to keep his pain secret.

4 Act 1 8.Horatio brings Hamlet news: Old Hamlet’s ghost has been seen 3 nights on the castle wall, ‘dressed like a soldier.’ 9.Hamlet decides to go see the ghost for himself and try to talk to it. 10.Polonius tells Ophelia to stop seeing Hamlet because Hamlet does not love her. He only plays with her feelings and if she continues, she will get into trouble (pregnant) and this way Polonius will lose his job (they cannot marry – Hamlet is royal family). 11.Ophelia decides to listen to her father.

5 Act 1 12.Hamlet sees the ghost of his father (snow – winter) and the ghost wants to talk only to Hamlet (no trust for the rest). 13.Hamlet is afraid of the ghost (‘are you from hell or from heaven?’, but he wants to listen to the ghost’s words. 14.Ghost’s story: Old Hamlet was killed by his brother, Claudius, by pouring poison in his ears (broken eardrum). He came to have revenge, otherwise he cannot go to heaven. The ghost asks Hamlet: -(1) to make Claudius pay for his murder (‘worst kind of murder’) -(2) to remember his father (ghost’s last words) -(3) not to punish his mother (‘leave her for God to judge.’)

6 Act 1 15.Hamlet accepts to have revenge for his father. He asks his friends to swear to keep secret the fact that they have seen the ghost (‘promise on my sword’) 16.He tells his friends that from now on he will behave strangely, like a crazy person (‘but it will be an act – it won’t be real.’) 17.Hamlet considers that the world is a bad place (lies, murders, betrayal, death) and the ‘unhappiest time of all was the day that he was born.’ (he did not want to have this destiny, but now he has to do his best to accomplish it)

7 Clarifications: act 1 Why didn’t Hamlet become the next king of Denmark? Hamlet lost because: a student young not a soldier no experience no influence at court CLAUDIUS age army training money influence experience Elective monarchy: at that time in Denmark the king was elected (voted) by the rich people (nobles). Common people did not have the right to vote (democracy). Do not forget: Denmark expects a war with Norway. Candidates: Claudius, Hamlet, and other nobles

8 Hidden meanings: 1.‘Do not return to your studies in Wittenberg. I want you to stay here with me. Then I can see you every day.’ Claudius wants to keep an eye on Hamlet, spy on him, because he is afraid Hamlet could discover what happened to his father. 2. ‘… think of me as your father. After me, you will be the next king. And my love for you is as great as the love of a father for his son.’ Claudius wants Hamlet to love him and not to suspect anything. He promises Hamlet something that he cannot control – the crown – and Hamlet knows that this is just another lie) 3. ‘Weakness, your name is woman.’ Hamlet thinks that all women are weak – he is prejudiced: he thinks this about his mother, but soon he will generalize to other women (Ophelia).

9 Norway vs. Denmark KING brother son FortinbrasHamlet Old Fortinbras Old Hamlet CLAUDIUS nephew - uncle army old and sick Fortinbras wants to become king Claudius is afraid Hamlet wants the same: get an army and make himself king.

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