A Review of Hamlet

An outline forms a framework on which a solid, cohesive tale is built. Hamlet is a play which squarely looks at stupidity, falsity and shame of everyday life without laughter and without easy answers. In the play hamlet is not displayed as a saint but doesn’t compromise with evil.

Act I

The play opens on the battlements of the castle and it is midnight. Francisco has been keeping watch and is relieved by Bernardo and they don’t recognize each other because of darkness. Francisco leaves as Marcellus appears followed by Horatio who turns away on hearing the lexeme heaven. The men talk of Hamlet and the unheralded naval build up and lastly embark to the ghost whom they hit in response for a speech, which is cut short by a crow from a rooster.

In scene two Claudius holds court and present are the Queen, Hamlet, Polonius, Laertes and the council who support his monarch. Hamlet is wearing mourning while for others it is festive. Claudius talks of his marriage and his brother’s death and sends two negotiators to Norway to dialogue of the land his father lost to Old Hamlet. Claudius gets concerned of the mood of Hamlet and later reaffirms him that he is the heir of his property and throne, then he announces that guards will be shooting off cannon each time he finishes a drink.

In scene III Laertes bids farewell to his sister Ophelia with a plea of not associating with Hamlet and Ophelia begs him not to be a charlatan and to be clean. This is followed by a fatherly advice to Laertes by his father. Polonius acts rude when Laertes leaves by ordering her not to talk to Hamlet and even orders for the love letters sent to her.

Scene IV opens with hamlet, Horatio and the guards on the walls as the king is partying. When the trumpets and cannon go off, they instigate hamlet to give a long speech, which welcomes entry of the ghost and consequently challenged by hamlet. Scene V portrays a change in place and hamlet is still challenging the ghost.

Act II

In act ii Old Hamlet has been dead for four months and Ophelia has refused to accept love letters from Hamlet. Polonius sends a spy to his servant Reynaldo on orders. Then Ophelia jets in with degrading accusations about Hamlet, who is feigning mental illness and acts like a flesh and blood human showing authentic emotions. Polonius believes that hamlet is lovesick and realizes that his daughter might be the next queen of Denmark.

In scene II Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are welcomed by the king and queen who later on set the stage for Gertrude to ask the king to make Hamlet happy who is later sought for. Then the entry of Polonius ushers the announcement that the ambassadors from Norway have returned and that after their report he will tell them why Hamlet is acting strange. Gertrude is convinced that Hamlet is distressed from the death of his father and the embarrassment from his suitor, Claudius.  The ambassadors have a message that the king of Norway was happy with their visit and instructed Fortinbras to invade Poland and was requesting for Claudius to let Fortinbras pass through Denmark for the invasion.

Polonius reads a love letter of Hamlet to his daughter and is convinced that hamlet was genuine in his love to Ophelia. He then asks for the king’s assistance on the same because he is the one who misadvised Ophelia.

Then Hamlet comes in reading a book and responds to Polonius’ questions in a silly way because of a grudge he has. The spies sent by Polonius bring a report that hamlet is too ambitious which is ironical because they are after the kings money.


The scenes are relevant because we can see that hamlet reaffirms the tragic dignity of fundamentally a decent person in a bad world. Also we are left with a lesson that life is worth living, even by imperfect people in an imperfect world. Lastly, it reaffirms Aristotle’s assertion that in tragedy normally the protagonist learns something because we see Hamlet developing philosophically.   

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