Shakespeare Hamlet, free English readers, D.Education
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D. Education Projects – Shakespeare – Hamlet
Hamlet By ShakespeareHamlet’s sorrow — Gertrude was the Queen of Denmark. Two months after the death of the King of Denmark, she married Claudius, his brother. She did not know that Claudius was evil. People believed that he had killed his brother so that he himself might become king – instead of Hamlet. Hamlet was the son of Gertrude and the king who had just died. Hamlet loved his dead father and was very sad at his death. His mother’s marriage made Hamlet even more unhappy. He became tired of the world; he had no more pleasure in the things he used to do. He stopped wanting to read, to play, and to do all the things that young men love to do. «Why has my mother so soon forgotten my father?» he thought. «He was such a good husband to her, and so good a father to me. Claudius said to Hamlet: «Now, Hamlet, you are like a son to me. Why are you so unhappy?» «Try not to think so much about your dead father,» said Hamlet’s mother. «You know that everything that lives must die some time. Why do you still seem to be sad» «I am not just pretending to be sad,» said Hamlet I wear my black clothes because I really am sad at my father’s death.» Neither Hamlet’s mother nor Claudius could do anything to make Hamlet happier. He would not take off his black clothes and he would not laugh. He felt angry that his mother should marry a man as evil as his uncle. — Horatio speaks — Horatio, Hamlet’s friend, came to him and told him a strange story. Horatio said, «The spirit of your father was seen on the walls of the castle in the middle of the night. It has visited the castle on two or three nights and the guards have been very frightened. I saw it: it was dressed like the old king before a battle. I tried to speak to it, but it didn’t answer.» «Did you see its face?» said Hamlet. «Yes, we did,» Horatio answered. «It seemed sad rather than angry.» «I shall watch tonight,» said Hamlet. «Perhaps it will come again. I’ll speak to it. I’ll come to you on the walls between eleven and twelve. Say nothing about this.» Horatio went away “My father’s ghost” Hamlet thought. «Something is wrong. Evil can’t be hidden. When night comes, I shall know.» — The ghost
— When night came, Hamlet joined the soldiers who were guarding the walls. Suddenly Horatio cried out. The ghost had appeared again! When he saw his father’s ghost, Hamlet soon forgot his fear and spoke bravely to it. «Whether you are something good or something bad, I’ll speak to you. You appear to be so much like my father that I shall call you by your name – Hamlet, King, Father! Tell me why you have come and what we should do to help you.» The ghost held up its hand and pointed away from the soldiers. «It wants to speak to you alone,» cried Horatio. «Don’t go with it; it may lead you into the sea or take you to the top of a high cliff.» Hamlet was not afraid. He followed the ghost. As soon as Hamlet and the ghost were alone, the ghost spoke. «I am the ghost of your father. I must walk in the night until the wrongs done while I was alive are set right. Listen! Claudius murdered me, your father. When I was sleeping he poured poisonous liquid into my ears and caused my death. He murdered me, his brother, and then he took my crown and my queen. And this man, Claudius, is now King of Denmark! Evil must be paid for! He must die. Deal with him. But do not hurt your mother.» «I promise. I’ll forget everything I have learned from books,» said Hamlet. «I shall remember only my promise to you!» When Hamlet’s friends ran up to him, they asked him to tell them what the ghost had said. But Hamlet did not tell even his best friend what had happened. «Promise me that you will never tell anyone what you have seen tonight,» he said. «And, if I seem to act strangely, don’t tell anyone the cause Hamlet did not want Claudius to think that anything was wrong. So he pretended to be mad. He even pretended to Ophelia, the beautiful lady whom he loved, that he was mad. — The actors
Claudius, who trusted no one, sent for two young men who had been Hamlet’s friends when they were all children. Claudius wanted them to try to find out the Hamlet’s strange ways. When Hamlet saw them, he wondered why they had come to visit him. «Why did you come here?» he asked. «Were you ordered to come, or did you come freely?» «We were sent for.» «I’ll tell you why you were sent for,» said Hamlet. «I have lately lost all my joy in the beauty of the earth and sky. Man is a wonderful thing – so wise, so beautiful; but man does not please me now, nor woman. «Perhaps these players may please you. They are coming to act a play in the castle.» Soon the actors arrived, and Hamlet was very pleased to see them. He asked one of the actors to say a few lines to him, telling about the death of an old king. The actor told how the old king was killed and his city was burned. Then he spoke about the sad queen, who ran about the castle with a cloth on her head instead of a crown. The actor told the story so well that he even had tears in his eyes. When Hamlet saw the actor weeping, he felt very angry with himself. «This actor can weep for a queen he never knew,» thought Hamlet. «But I have done nothing at all about my father’s death.» Suddenly he thought of a plan. «I’ll ask the actors to act a story which is like the death of my father. I’ll ask Claudius to see the play and see what he himself did. This may prove to me that Claudius killed my father. Then I shall be completely certain that the ghost spoke the truth.» — The play — That evening Hamlet met Horatio. He said to his old friend, «Watch Claudius carefully during the play Watch his face.» When the actors were ready to begin the play, Hamlet sat next to Ophelia. Claudius, who knew nothing of Hamlet’s plan, was there with the queen and all their friends. The play began. The queen in the play told the king how much she loved him. She promised never to marry a second husband if the king died before her. «Only women who kill their husbands marry again,» she said. The king in the play fell asleep in his garden and was killed by his brother’s son. Claudius stood up. He could bear no more of the play. It was so much like the way in which he had killed his own brother. «What is it, my lord?» asked the queen. «What is the matter?» Polonius cried, «Stop the play!» «light! Light!» shouted the king. «Away! All go away!» Hamlet was sure now that the ghost had spoken the truth. He was now certain that his uncle had killed his father. All that remained for him to do was to carry out the ghost’s command. — Hamlet’s mother — The queen sent a servant to Hamlet asking him to go to her room. While he was on his way to his mother’s room, he saw Claudius kneeling and praying. It seemed to him that Claudius was telling God about the evil that he had done. «I can kill him now,» thought Hamlet, «but if I kill him while he is praying, he’ll go to heaven. I must choose another time to kill him – when he is angry or asleep.» Ophelia’s father, Polonius, was hiding behind a curtain in the queen’s room. He had promised Claudius that he would hide and listen to everything Hamlet said. The queen knew that Polonius was there. Hamlet went into the queen’s room. «What’s the matter, mother?» he asked. «You have made your father very angry.» «My father! Claudius is not my father. You have done a great wrong to my father.» «Have you forgotten who I am?» said the queen. «No! You are the queen, wife of your husband’s brother, and you are my mother. I wish you were not! No, do not move. Sit down, while I tell you all about yourself.» «What! Do you want to kill me?» she cried. Then she shouted, «Help! Help!» — The death of Polonius — When he heard the queen’s cry, Polonius shouted from behind the curtain, «Help! Help!» «What is it? A rat?» cried Hamlet. He drew his sword and struck through the curtain. He thought that Claudius was hiding there, and he hoped that he had killed him. Then he drew back the curtain and saw that he had killed Polonius. «Oh! What have you done?» cried the queen. «What I have done,» said Hamlet, «is almost as bad a thing as killing a king and marrying his brother.» «How dare you speak to me like that?» «How could you forget about my father so quickly and be happy with my uncle? What made you marry him? You can’t call it love, because at your age the blood is cold. What was it that made you blind?» «Oh, Hamlet, say no more!» the queen cried. «How can you live with such a man – a man not worth the twentieth part of your first husband?» «Say no more! No more!» — The ghost again — As Hamlet became more and more angry, the ghost appeared before him. «Oh!» Hamlet cried. «Have you come to tell me that, in my anger, I have forgotten to do what I have promised?» «He’s mad,» the queen said to herself. «Do not forget your promise,» said the ghost. «But see how afraid your mother is. Speak to her, Hamlet. Help her.» «What’s the matter, mother?» said Hamlet. «What’s the matter with you?» cried the queen «You look at nothing, and speak to it. Oh, my son, what are you looking at?» «At him! At him!» «Who are you speaking to?» «Can’t you see anything there? Can’t you hear anything?» cried Hamlet. «Nothing at all.» «Look there! See how he moves away. It’s my father.» «There is no ghost. You see it because you are mad,» his mother replied. «I am not mad. My father’s ghost has come here because of what you have done. Pray to God to forgive you. Don’t go back to the king and don’t behave as his wife any more. «You are mad!» «I’m not mad; but you may let Claudius think I’m mad, and don’t tell him what I have said to you. Promise me that. Good night.» — To England — Claudius knew that something was wrong when he saw Hamlet’s mother. «How is Hamlet?» he asked. «He’s as mad as the sea and the wind when they fight each other,» cried the queen. «When he heard something move behind the curtain in my room, he cried in his mad anger, ‘A rat! A rat!’ and killed Polonius.» Claudius said, «The mad young prince is dangerous. We must send him away to England.» He sent for Hamlet and said, «I am sending you to England so that you may be safe. The people of Denmark may try to kill you when they hear how Polonius died. Get ready quickly; the ship is waiting.» Claudius did not tell Hamlet that he had written a letter to the King of England. He sent this letter with Hamlet’s two «friends», and they knew that in it he asked the king to kill Hamlet as soon as he reached England. — Hamlet’s escape — When he was at sea, Hamlet began to feel certain that Claudius had planned some evil. He did not trust his two «friends». One night he got up and looked for the letter that his friends were carrying. He opened the letter and read that Claudius had asked the King of England to kill him. He changed the names in the letter so that it asked the King of England to kill his two «friends». The next day, Hamlet’s ship met some pirates, who attacked the ship to take its goods. During the battle Hamlet jumped on the pirates’ ship to fight. While he was there, his own ship sailed away. The pirates were kind to Hamlet when they found out that he was a prince. They made him promise to do something for them later in return for his freedom. They put him safely on shore in Denmark. — Ophelia’s grave — When Hamlet returned home the next day, he saw two old men digging a grave. «Whose grave is this?» he asked. But the old men did not say that it was Ophelia’s grave. Ophelia had begun to grow mad when Hamlet killed Polonius, her father. She could hardly believe that the man she loved had done such a thing. She began to gather flowers and give them to the people at the court. One day she wanted to get some flowers from the branch of a tree over a stream. While she was climbing on the branch, it suddenly broke, and Ophelia fell. Her dress, heavy with water, pulled her down to the bottom, and she died. While Hamlet was at the grave, the king and queen and their servants came, carrying the body of Ophelia. Laertes, her brother, was with them. Hamlet saw Laertes standing near the grave and talking about Ophelia. Then he saw the queen throw some flowers on the grave. «Sweet flowers to a sweet lady,» said the queen. «I hoped that you would be my Hamlet’s wife. I wanted to throw flowers on your marriage-bed, not on your grave.» Suddenly Laertes cried, «Don’t throw any more earth into the grave. Let me hold her once more in my arms!» Then he jumped wildly into Ophelia’s grave. Hamlet ran forward and jumped into the grave beside Laertes. «I loved Ophelia more than forty thousand brothers could love her,» he shouted. At once Laertes began to fight Hamlet. The servants who were standing near the grave stopped the two angry men. They pulled them out of the grave. Hamlet could not understand why Laertes was so angry with him. He did not know that Claudius wanted Laertes to kill Hamlet, and so he had told Laertes lies about the way Polonius, his father, was killed. — Hamlet’s death is planned — After Hamlet had left Ophelia’s grave, Claudius spoke again to Laertes about their plan to kill Hamlet. They planned to arrange a duel with swords between Laertes and Hamlet. The swords that were used in such duels were not dangerous: they had something on the end which covered their points. Claudius told Laertes to use a sword without anything on the end. This sword would be very dangerous and could kill a man. Laertes wanted to make certain that he would kill Hamlet, so they also planned to put some poison on the point of his sword. Claudius promised to give Hamlet some poison to drink if Laertes did not wound him. — The duel — Laertes entered the big hall of the castle with the king and queen and their servants. Hamlet tried to act like a friend. «Come,» he said, «let us have a friendly fight.» At first Hamlet seemed to be winning. Claudius offered him the cup of poison, but Hamlet did not drink it «‘I’ll drink it later,» he said. But the queen wanted to show Hamlet how happy she was to see him winning. So she picked up the cup of poison and drank it. Soon Laertes wounded Hamlet with his poisoned sword. In the fight which followed, Hamlet and Laertes dropped their swords and, by mistake, Hamlet picked up Laertes’ sword. Then he wounded Laertes with the poisoned sword. Suddenly the queen fell to the floor. «The queen!» Hamlet cried. «What’s the matter?» «She feels sick at the sight of the blood running from your wound,» said Claudius. But before she died, the queen cried, «The drink, the drink. It’s poison!» — Hamlet dies — «Shut all the doors!» cried Hamlet. Laertes fell, wounded and poisoned. «Nothing can save you, Hamlet,» he cried. «I have wounded you with a poisoned sword. I have been wounded with it too. Your mother has drunk a cup of poison. The king has caused all this to happen.» Hamlet looked at the sword in his hand. «Poisoned and sharp!» he said. He ran towards Claudius. «Here is the best place for a poisoned sword,» he cried, as he drove the point into the king’s heart. Then he watched Claudius fall and die. «It is right that the king should die,» cried the dying Laertes. «He mixed the poison which has killed him. Forgive me, Hamlet. It was not you who caused my father’s death and mine.» Hamlet knew that he was dying. He turned to his oldest friend, Horatio. «Horatio,» he said. «I am dying Tell the world what has happened.» «There is still some poison left in this cup,» cried Horatio. «I shall die, too.» «Don’t drink it, if you ever loved me,» Hamlet cried «You must live and tell my story to the world. Then people will know the truth. – The rest is silence.»