HAMLET is set in Elsinore Castle in Denmark. The main story concerns how young Prince Hamlet struggles to make up his mind to avenge his father's murder. While Hamlet has been studying at Wittenberg University his uncle, Claudius, has murdered Hamlet's father, has succeeded him as King and within a month has married Queen Gertrude his mother. The Ghost of the old king has appeared on the ramparts of Elsinore Castle and urged his son to avenge his death by killing Claudius. But Hamlet is thwarted by his own weaknesses: contemplative and deeply thoughtful one minute and rash and impulsive the next. He delays and falls into a deep melancholy and apparent madness, uncertain and without rational facts and actual evidence of his uncle's guilt. But when a touring theatrical troupe arrives at the castle he has a plan to get the actors to recreate the events of the murder and to witness his uncle's reaction.

It is not just a story of revenge, but also explores the themes of indecisiveness, apparent madness, the complexity of action, the mystery of death and the symbolism of a nation as a diseased body.

Hamlet is the most famous play ever written and contains many quotes that have fallen into general English usage. Although "To be or not to be" is no doubt the most famous, others such as "Neither a lender or a borrower be "; "To thine own self be true "; That it should come to this! "; "In my mind's eye"; The play's the thing ... "; "Brevity is the soul of wit" along with many more invented words have become an integral part of our everyday language.


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