Shakespeare's
Hamlet
Act 1 Summary

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In the middle of the night, Prince Hamlet and his high school buddy Horatio come to see the castle guards of Elsinore in Denmark. 

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According to the guards, they had seen the recently deceased king, Hamlet’s father, in the form of a ghost. Horatio and the guards decide to notify Hamlet about the Ghost’s appearance.

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As a result of his marriage to Hamlet’s widowed mother, Claudius, Hamlet’s uncle, became the new King of Denmark.

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Hamlet is still mourning the death of his father and bemoans the unfaithfulness of his mother. When Hamlet learns about the Ghost, he becomes incredibly curious.

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In another scene, Polonius, the loyal servant, bids his son Laertes farewell as he prepares to embark on France.

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Ophelia, Laertes’ sister, is warned to stay away from Hamlet should she become overly enamored with him.

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Hamlet is visited by a ghost who claims to be the spirit of his late father. 

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It is revealed that Claudius, the present king and Hamlet’s uncle, killed his father, and Hamlet swears vengeance for his father’s death.

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When Hamlet decides to test the veracity of the Ghost’s claims, he resolves to pretend to be insane.

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