The ghost of the former King of Denmark relays to his son, Prince Hamlet, that his brother, Claudius, killed him by pouring poison in his ear. Hamlet vows to avenge his death, and pretends to be mad.
"But know, thou noble youth, The serpent that did sting thy father’s life Now wears his crown. "
To test Claudius's guilt, Hamlet uses a play which depicts a King being killed with poison in the ear. Claudius seems to be conscience-stricken, and leaves the room.
"Thus conscience does make cowards of us all"
Convinced now that Claudius is a villain, Hamlet resolves to kill him while he prays for forgiveness. But, as Hamlet observes, he becomes reluctant to kill Claudius.
Hamlet kills Polonius who was spying on Hamlet and Gertrude. Hamlet asks his mother to forsake Claudius and to not reveal his madness as an act.
Repent what's past, avoid what is to come, And do not spread the compost on the weeds To make them ranker.
Rosencrantz and Guildenstern hold their course for England.
Caudius sends Hamlet to England as punishment, secretly aranging for his death. However, upon discovering this plot, Hamlet discovers the plot and sends Rosencrantz and Guildenstern's death. Back home, Ophelia drowns herself over her grief and distress.
Laertes vows to avenge his father and sister's deaths. Laertes and Claudius plot to kill Hamlet during a duel.
As make your bouts more violent to that end, And that he calls for drink, I’ll have prepared him A chalice for the nonce, whereon but sipping, If he by chance escape your venomed stuck,