Hamlet Study Guide- Plot Summary, Character Analysis of Hamlet, Major Themes of the Play, Techniques in the Play and Key Quotes

Hamlet: critical study
Study guide

1: Write a concise summary of the plot of the play

• Marcellus and Bernardo take Horatio to see the ghost of Old Hamlet
• Claudius and Gertrude hold a council meeting and send two emissaries to Norway to stop Fortinbras invading Denmark
• Laertes is sent back to France and Hamlet is asked to remain in Denmark
• Hamlet reveals his disgust at his mother’s marriage to his uncle and his uncle’s usurpation of the throne
• Polonius requests that Ophelia shun Hamlet’s attentions
• Hamlet sees his father’s ghost and learns of his murder at the hands of Claudius
• Vows to avenge his father’s death and decides to feign madness
• Ophelia tells Polonius about Hamlet’s intrusion into her room
• Rosencrantz and Guildenstern arrive to find the cause of Hamlet’s madness
• Voltemand and Cornelius return with news that Fortinbras has retreated
• Polonius tells Gertrude and Claudius of his theory that Hamlet is mad because of unrequited love for Ophelia
• Rosencrantz and Guildenstern meet with Hamlet who tells them of his depression
• The players arrive and Hamlet requests a performance for the evening including a section he will write for them
• Claudius admits his guilt in a soliloquy
• Hamlet gives his “to be or not to be” soliloquy
• Ophelia returns Hamlet’s letters and is subjected to Hamlet’s anger and madness while Polonius and Claudius watch out of sight
• The play within a play is performed and confirms Claudius’ guilt
• Claudius arranges for Hamlet to be sent to England
• Claudius tried to pray and Hamlet considers killing him but decides against it
• Hamlet visits his mother in her room, slays Polonius, hidden behind the curtain, and berates his mother for her behaviour
• Rosencrantz and Guildenstern escort Hamlet to England
• The mad Ophelia visits the Queen
• Laertes arrives angry and vengeful
• Hamlet’s letter arrives
• Laertes and Claudius organise a plan to kill Hamlet in a duel
• Gertrude announces...