Education and Training

Hamlet Summary Essay
In the centuries since this renowned work by the legendary William Shakespeare was written, it has often been regarded by critics, scholars, and theater professionals alike as one of the greatest plays ever written. Praised and studied for its psychological accuracy and complexity, the essential story is simple, if perhaps excessively violent - a young man, urged to revenge the murder of his father, delays taking action. Several other deaths result, and the young man loses his own life in a battle with another more active, determined and vengeful young man. It is the play's contemplation and portrayal of the leading character's indecisive state of mind combined with other thematic considerations relating to human corruptibility and the transitory nature of physical life that give the play its timeless greatness.
The play is set in Elsinore Castle, the home of the royal family of Denmark. One night at midnight, as one shift of watchmen is replaced by another, a soldier named Horatio learns of the recurring appearance of a Ghost, believed to be that of the recently deceased King of Denmark, the father of Prince Hamlet. As the doubtful Horatio watches and waits, the Ghost appears. Horatio resolves to bring Hamlet, a good friend, to see the Ghost.
Soon afterward, the new king (Claudius, brother to the previous king) and his queen Gertrude (wife of the previous king, newly married to Claudius) hold court. Claudius deals with a military and political threat from an ambitious prince from nearby Norway, gives permission for a young courtier (Laertes) to return to France, and questions Hamlet as to why he's still in mourning. Hamlet responds that he has a great deal to mourn, and Gertrude (Hamlet's mother) urges him to stay at court and not return to university. Hamlet agrees, and Claudius leads the court away.
Left alone, Hamlet speaks the first of his several soliloquies, revealing his frustration and anger with his mother's actions in marrying...