On a dark winter night, a ghost walks the walls ofElsinore Castle in Denmark. Discovered first by a pairof watchmen, then by the scholar Horatio, the ghostresembles King Hamlet, whose brother Claudius hasinherited the throne and married his widow, QueenGertrude. When Horatio and the watchmen bringPrince Hamlet, the son of Gertrude and the deadking, to see the ghost, it speaks to him, declaringthat it is his father’s spirit, and that he wasmurdered by Claudius. He orders Hamlet to takerevenge on the man who took his throne andmarried his wife. Polonius and Laertes warn Opheliaagainst Hamlet.
BRIEF SUMMARY OF ACT I• The king is dead.• Claudius marries Queen Gertrude.• The ghost of the dead king appears.• In a soliloquy, Hamlet expresses his anger against his mother for her hasty remarriage.• The king asks Hamlet to stay in Denmark.• Laertes and Polonius warn Ophelia against Hamlet.• The ghost tells Hamlet that he must avenge his father’s murder.