Hamlet Plot Summary

Hamlet Plot Summary
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Storyboard Description

A (very) brief overview of the plot of William Shakespeare's "Hamlet".

Storyboard Text

  • EXPOSITION
  • CONFLICT
  • RISING ACTION
  • In Denmark, the former king has died. A group of soldiers tell his son, Prince Hamlet, that they saw his ghost. Hamlet learns his father was poisoned by his uncle, Claudius, who has usurped the throne and married Hamlet's mother, Gertrude.
  • CLIMAX
  • Hamlet feels he must avenge his father’s death. However, he struggles with the authenticity of the “ghost” and indecision about his actions. Throughout the play, Hamlet pretends to be insane, but as the play unfolds, it is becomes less and less clear whether this is truly an act.
  • FALLING ACTION
  • Throughout the rising action, Hamlet tries to prove Claudius killed his father. He requests that a theater troupe act out a play that depicts a king being poisoned in the ear. Claudius' reaction will prove his guilt or innocence.
  • RESOLUTION
  • After the murder is played out on stage, Claudius leaves anxiously, showing his guilt. Hamlet finds Claudius alone, praying for forgiveness. Hamlet wants to kill him, but thinks if he kills Claudius while he is praying, Claudius will go to heaven - which Hamlet thinks is too good an end for Claudius. Hamlet waits for a better opportunity for revenge.
  • Hamlet confronts his mother and accidentally kills Polonius. Claudius banishes Hamlet and secretly plots Hamlet's death. Ophelia, Polonius' daughter, goes insane with grief and drowns. Hamlet escapes back to Denmark. Hamlet is challenged to a fencing match by Laertes who blames Hamlet for his sister's (Ophelia) and father's (Polonius) death.
  • At the match, Laertes poisons the tip of his sword. Claudius poisons a cup, which Gertrude drinks; she dies. Laertes' poisoned sword kills Hamlet, Laertes, and Claudius. In the end, only Horatio is left standing to tell the story.
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