Exposition: The King of Denmark, Hamlet, has just died. Soldiers tell Hamlet they saw a ghost. Hamlet sees and follows the ghost, only to find out it was his father, and that he was poisoned. Quote: "After midnight, for two nights running, these two guards, Marcellus and Barnardo, saw a figure that looked very much like your father, in full armor from head to toe." (Shakespeare 1.2.196-200).
That wasn't Claudius? Oops. Moving on...
Conflict: Hamlet, knowing now that his father was murdered by his Uncle, wants to seek revenge. However, first he must verify the Ghost's authenticity, as it could be the devil. Quote: "You should know, my noble son, the real snake that stung your father is now wearing his crown" (Shakespeare 1.4.38-40).
You killed Ophelia and Polonius! I Challenge you!
I suffer from mental illness. Therefore I'm innocent.
Rising Action: Polonius, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, and Ophelia all spy or help to spy on Hamlet in various ways. Hamlet wants to find out whether his Uncle is guilty, so he gets an acting troupe to perform a recreation of the way Claudius killed King Hamlet. Quote: "When he's there next time, I'll send my daughter to see him. (to CLAUDIUS) You and I will hid behind the arras and watch what happens" (Shakespeare 2.2.154-155).
The Climax: Claudius leaves the play. Hamlet overhears Claudius praying for forgiveness, and is ready to kill him. As a result, Hamlet stabs Polonius thinking it is Claudius. Quotes: "I could do it easily now. He's praying now. And now I'll do it. (He draws out his sword) And there he goes, off to heaven" (Shakespeare 3.3.74-75). "You low-life, nosy, busybody fool, goodbye. I thought you were somebody more important" (Shakespeare 3.4.33).
Falling Action: Hamlet is banished to England for killing Polonius. Claudius includes a letter which asks England to kill Hamlet. Hamlet finds the letter, and switches it. Hamlet escapes back to Denmark. Ophelia drowned herself. Laertes challenges Hamlet to fence. Quote: "Hamlet, I care for you just as much as I grieve for Polonius. For your own protection, I must send you to England at once. So get ready to leave" (Shakespeare 4.3.40-44).
Denouement/Catastrophe: At the match, Laertes poisons his sword, and cuts Hamlet. Hamlet gets hold of the poisoned sword and cuts Laertes. Queen Gertrude drank from a cup Claudius poisoned. Before Hamlet dies, he stabs Claudius and forces him to drink the poison. Quote: "The treacherous weapon is right in your hand, sharp and dipped in poison. The foul plan backfired on me. Here I lie and will never get up again. Your mother's been poisoned. I can't speak anymore. The king, the king's to blame" (Shakespeare 5.2.309-316).