Denmark is under threat of invasion from young Fortinbras, who seeks to regain lands lost to Hamlet’s father by Fortinbras’s father.
Claudius sends word to the King of Norway (Fortinbras’s uncle) to curb Fortinbras’s aggression.
In the meantime, Hamlet feigns madness with his family and friends, including his beloved, Ophelia, sister to Laertes and daughter to Polonius.
Both Polonius and Laertes warn Ophelia against Hamlet’s amorous advances.
Another possible climax comes at the end of Act IV, scene iv, when Hamlet resolves to commit himself fully to violent revenge.
falling action · Hamlet is sent to England to be killed; Hamlet returns to Denmark and confronts Laertes at Ophelia’s funeral; the fencing match; the deaths of the royal family setting (time) · The late medieval period, though the play’s chronological setting is notoriously imprecise settings (place) · Denmark foreshadowing · The ghost, which is taken to foreshadow an ominous future for Denmark tone · Dark, ironic, melancholy, passionate, contemplative, desperate, violent themes · The impossibility of certainty; the complexity of action; the mystery of death; the nation as a diseased body motifs · Incest and incestuous desire; ears and hearing; death and suicide; darkness and the supernatural; misogyny symbols · The ghost (the spiritual consequences of death); Yorick’s skull (the physical consequences of death) A rationalist, by definition, is logical.
Moreover, Hamlet struggles with his doubts about whether he can trust the ghost and whether killing Claudius is the appropriate thing to do.
On a dark winter night, a ghost walks the ramparts of Elsinore Castle in Denmark.
Discovered first by a pair of watchmen, then by the scholar Horatio, the ghost resembles the recently deceased King Hamlet, whose brother Claudius has inherited the throne and married the king’s widow, Queen Gertrude.
Prince Hamlet has been summoned home to Denmark to attend his father's funeral.
One night, a Ghost reveals itself to Hamlet, claiming to be the ghost of Hamlet's father, the former king.
In the case of an ingenue like Ophelia, a very young and lovely woman, Shakespeare would have been writing for a boy.