Summary of Hamlet by William Shakespeare – Complete and Comprehensive

Know about the summary of Hamlet by William Shakespeare with all characters and participants. You will get every point of Hamlet after reading this article. It covers every aspect of Hamlet by William Shakespeare.

What will we get from this article?

 In the summary of Hamlet, we are going to talk about Hamlet the iconic tragic play of William Shakespeare. So, at first, we are going to look at the detailed summary of the play then we are going to look at Hamlet as the revenge play and tragedy. Finally, we are going to discuss all the seventh soliloquies of Hamlet. so read the article till the end.

Complete Title Name of The Play

The complete name of the play is the tragedy of Hamlet Prince of Denmark and the first performance of Hamlet was somewhere between 1601 and 1602 Hamlet is a long display by William Shakespeare.

What the play is actually about?

So, sick in Elsinore Castle in Denmark the play is about Prince Hamlet and his revenge against his uncle Claudius who has murdered Hamlet’s father so that he could seize his throne and marry Hamlet’s mother.

Look at the most important characters of the play Hamlet

Before we look at the plot of the play, let’s first take a look at the most important characters of the play so that you can understand the plot better in summary of Hamlet.

Hamlet: first we have Hamlet Prince of Denmark.

King Claudius: the King of Denmark.

Queen Gertrude: Queen of Denmark and Hamlet’s mother.

We have the goast of Hamlet’s father.

Polonius: is the chief counselor of Claudius.

Filial: daughter of Polonius and Hamlet’s love interest.

Laertes: son of Polonius.

Horatio: friend and confidant of Hamlet.

Rosencrantz and Guildenstern: are friends of Hamlet.

Fortinbras: prince of Norway.

So, these are the most important characters of the play that you must remember so that you understand the plot.

Now that you know all the important characters of the play let’s take a look at the plot of Hamlet act by act.

The plot of Hamlet  Act 1

In summary of Hamlet, let’s begin with act 1 the play begins with a few courtiers discussing a ghost that resembles the late King Hamlet. Among them is Prince Hamlet’s friend Horatio who also sees the ghost. All of them decided to tell Prince Hamlet about the ghost of his father.

Hamlet was pursuing his education in Germany. He returned back for his father’s funeral. He was shocked to see that his mother has already married his uncle Claudius who is now the new King of Denmark.

How the Ghost Scene was in SummaryofHamlet?

When Horatio tells Hamlet about the ghost of Hamlet’s father. He decided to wait for the night so that he can meet the ghost.

The ghost arrives and tells Hamlet that indeed his father is murdered by Claudius. Claudius had poured poison in his ear while he was sleeping. Hamlet is shocked by the revelation the ghost tells Hamlet to avenge his father’s death before it vanishes.

What was Hamlet’s Mask of Madness in Summary of Hamlet

Hamlet confides to Horatio and decides to put on a mask of madness so that he can observe Claudius. But Hamlet is completely confused about what he has heard and he’s also uncertain about the reliability of the ghost in act 2.

Hamlet visits Ophelia and behaves madly.  Polonius thinks love to be the reason for Hamlet’s madness and decides to tell his theory to King Claudius and Queen Gertrude.

On the other hand, the king and the Queen welcome Rosencrantz and Guildenstern as the friends of Hamlet and tell them to find out the reason behind Hamlet’s behavior. Hamlet greets Rosencrantz and is concerned warmly but quickly understands that dear spies of Claudius. Rosencrantz and Guildenstern tell Hamlet that they have brought along a troupe of actors that they met while traveling to Elsinore.

A planned Stage play acted by Hamlet (Murder of Gonzago)

Now, Hamlet decides to stage a play called the murder of Gonzago which features a model that is very similar to the way his father was murdered according to the ghost story. Hamlet wants to see whether what the course had told him is true or not. He thinks that if Claudius shows signs of guilt while watching the play it will be proved that he is indeed the murderer of his father in Act three.

Play Murder of Gonzago Continues…..

Polonius compasses Ophelia to return Hamlet’s love letters and tokens of affection to Hamlet when Ophelia tries to return Hamlet’s things to Hamlet. Hamlet accuses her of being immodest and tells her to go to Claudius who observes his entire scene and is convinced that Hamlet is not a man for love.

Soon the entire court assembles to watch the play Murder of Gonzago.  When Hamlet Claudius watches the player King being murdered by his rival who pours poison interferes he abruptly rises and leaves the room Hamlet is now convinced that Claudius is the killer.

Why does Hamlet not kill Claudius at first stance?

 Hamlet watches Claudia spring although it is a great opportunity.  Hamlet does not kill Claudius reasoning that killing Claudius once he springs will send his soul straight to heaven. whereas his father’s soul is stuck in this world finally handed goes to Gertrude’s chamber and both of them fight bitterly Polonius who is hiding in the room.

How Act 4 proceeds in Hamlet?

Hamlet is going to kill Gertrude and he calls for help but Hamlet thinks that it is Claudius who is hiding in the room and ends up stabbing Polonius and killing him in act 4.

Conspiracy against Hamlet

Claudius sends Hamlet to England along with Rosencrantz and Guildenstern. He also sends a sealed letter to the English King requesting that Hamlet should be executed immediately. on the other hand Laertes son of Polonius returns to Denmark. Claudius convinces Laetred that Hamlet is solely responsible for his father’s death. Claudius plans a completely ruined when he gets to know that Hamlet has returned to Denmark. He has completely fooled Rosencrantz and Guildenstern and has escaped to Denmark.

Planning to Kill Hamlet

Now Claudius thinks of a fencing match that he will organise between Laertes and Hamlet. He will give a poison-tipped sword to Laertes so that he can kill Hamlet. In case that plan fails, Claudius will give poisoned wine to Hamlet on the pretext of congratulating him.

Graveyard Scene

Hamlet meets Horatio in graveyard to gravediggers discussed Ophelia appearance we cite while digging up her grave. Hamlet picks up a skull from the graveyard and contemplates about mortality.

Hamlet Vs Laertes

After Ophelia funeral, Laertes and Hamlet engaged in a fight beside Ophelia graveyard but the brawl is soon broken up. Later, they engage in the fencing match that is cleverly planned by Claudius. But in the match, Gertrude drinks the poisoned wine that was prepared for Hamlet and she dies.

On the other hand ladies induce Hamlet by the poison-tipped sword but then they exchange their weapons and Hamlet also kills Laertes with the poisoned sword.

Death of Claudius

when both of them understand that this was Claudius plan, Hamlet kills Claudius before dying.

Hamlet Dies and Crown Gone to Where?

Hamlet dies in Horatio’s arms. Horatio is left a life to explain the truth to Fortinbras the Prince of Norway. When Fortinbras sees that the entire Danish family has perished, he decides to take the crown for himself and he orders a military funeral to honor Hamlet and this is how the play ends.


You know the plot of Hamlet. Let’s take a look at Hamlet as a revenge play and a tragedy. Now revenge was an important part of the plot structure as we discussing in summary of Hamlet.

Contrary Views

All these tragedies according to Christian ethics revenge was immoral but Elizabeth’s believed that personal honor one needs to be defended. On the other hand, murder should be avenged. It is a sacred duty of a son to avenge his father’s death.

Five Blocks of Play

Now, the structure of revenge play has five blocks. The number one is exposition usually by a post or by victims in their final moments.

The number two is anticipation when an elaborate plan of canning of the revenge is prepared such as when Hamlet decides to stage the play “Murder of Gonzago”.

The number three is confrontation when the adventure and the villain come face to face. But in some place, it takes a different form such as the prayer scene in Hamlet.

The number four dealing it, is a structural device where the adventurer deliberately keep postponing taking action due to moral or personal reasons.

And finally, the fifth block expresses when the avenger’ and the villain are destroyed along with many innocent bystanders unlike the other venice are tragedies.

In the summary of Hamlet, the focus of Hamlet is on higher principles of life and living. Hamlet is as much shocked by his father’s death as by his mother’s haste with which she marries another man.

He’s disgusted by Polonius’s lack of loyalty to the old King Hamlet and Ophelia collaborating with a father against him. What is right and what is not right he’s a philosopher who keeps on thinking about higher ideals of life. Therefore, we can see that Hamlet rises above the average revenge play and turns out to be a great tragedy. In fact, it fulfills all the criteria of an Aristotelian tragedy.

Tragic Flaw

Hamlet’s tragic flaw or inertia that brings about his downfall is his inability to act or act fast enough because everything sets him thinking. Therefore, whatever goes wrong in Hamlet’s life is only because he cannot take the right decision at the right time.


In the summary of Hamlet, there are total seven soliloquies in Hamlet. The first soliloquy that is too solid flesh would melt occur in act 1 scene 2 before the ghost has appeared through this unlucky. We understand that Hamlet is a private and reflective person. He is loyal to his father’s memory and is disgusted by his mother’s remarriage. It is the corruption in his mother’s conduct that makes him believe that his flesh is too sullied on dirty.

The second soliloquy occurs in act 1 scene fight after the ghost has left where Hamlet commits himself to avenge his father’s death.

The third soliloquy occurs in act 2 scene 2 where Hamlet is remorseful for not having taken any action to avenge his father’s death.

The fourth soliloquy to be or not to be that is a question appears in act 3 scene 1 where Hamlet thinks about the difference between passion and reason.

The next sixth soliloquy occurs in act 3 scene to taste the very witching time of night where Hamlet hopes to be able to control his angle when he is confronting his mother for her actions.

The seventh soliloquy of course in act 3 scene 3 the prayer scene where Hamlet decides not to kill Claudius finally the last of the seven soliloquy occurs in act 4 scene 4 where Hamlet ponders on his inability to execute the revenge despite enough motivation.


In summary of Hamlet, the study show the mental framework of Hamlet through the soliloquies. We understand Hamlet’s speculative confused and indecisive nature. How much comes across as a scholar and poet who thinks so much about the consequences of actions that eventually the action gets postponed.

So, through all the soliloquies Shakespeare has tried to show us the tragic flaw of Hamlet that brings about his downfall and makes Hamlet a great tragedy.

FAQs About Summary of Hamlet

What is the main point of Hamlet?

The main point of the novel Hamlet is the death of his father Hamlet. As, we have read and discussed about the death of Hamlet’s father (Hamlet). He was killed by his uncle Claudius and marries Hamlet’s mother and senior Hamlet’s wife. So, we can say that the central point of this novel is the revenge of his father’s death.

What are the 5 major themes in Hamlet?

This famous novel is revolving around the five major themes at which the novel is based. Following are the themes:
Appearance and Reality

We can aslo say that the above-mentioned blocks create the tragedy of Hamlet.

Who killed Hamlet?

Hamlet got injured with a blade by Laertes. The blade was poisoned by Claudius, the uncle of Hamlet.  It appears that Hamlet was killed due to that poisoned blade. So, this makes him dead on the stage.

What is Hamlet’s tragic flaw?

The phrase or words ‘Tragic Flaw’ is extracted/gotten from a concept from Greek philosopher. The name of this Greek philosopher was Aristotle. He stated this concept in his book named as ‘Poetic’. As, we know that the Hamlet was a tragic hero of Shakespeare and this tragic flaw means his failure to respond immediately to kill his uncle, Claudius. So, this tragic flow of Hamlet is procrastination.

What is the main message of Hamlet?

In this novel, the story leads toward tragedy just because of the indecisiveness or lack of decision power of Hamlet. He even waste a lot to make a decision to kill his uncle Claudius. So, it reflects the message of decision power that must be made when demands.

Where does Hamlet begin?

The play ‘Hamlet’ begins on the ramparts of Elsinore Castle in Denmark.

Where was hamlet studying when he was summoned to Denmark?

Hamlet travels for studying to the ‘University of Wittenberg’ before he returned to Denmark.

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