Horatio and the watchmen bring Hamlet to see the ghost of his diseased father. Hamlet’s father’s ghost tells him that he was murdered by Claudius. He tells Hamlet that he needs to seek revenge on Claudius, and then disappears with the dawn of light.
Hamlet confronts Ophelia in her sewing room. He tells her that he never loved her. He says that she should be ordered to a nunnery, and he declares that he thinks all marriages should be banned.
A group of traveling actors come to Elsinore, and Hamlet comes up with an idea to try to prove that Claudius is guilty. Hamlet tells this group of actors to perform what he thinks is the way that Claudius killed his father. He thinks Claudius’ reaction will be proof of what he did.
They all battle. Hamlet was ahead at the beginning, but then Laertes sliced him with his blade that was tainted with poison. Then Hamlet stabbed Laertes and killed him. Hamlet's mother, Gertrude, drank the poisoned wine, so then she died. The wine was supposed to be for the winner of the battle. Then, before Hamlet died from the poison, he killed Claudius.
Hamlet goes to confront his mother about the situation with his father and Claudius. While speaking to his mother, he hears a noise behind the curtain and stabs through the curtain, assuming it is Claudius. Instead, it is Polonius. Hamlet has just killed Polonius accidentally. Because of this crime, Hamlet is sentenced to death by the King of England.
Hamlet holds the skull of a man he once knew. This reminds him of how important and fragile life can be, and how valuable life can be.