Hamlet

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Hamlet

William Shakespeare (1564-1616) was born in Stratford-upon-Avon, England. He was the son of John and Mary Shakespeare. William attended his town's local grammar school at age six and graduated ten years later. When he was eighteen, he married a woman named Anne Hathaway who gave birth to twins, Hamnet and Judith. Hamnet drowned a few years later. It is said that William named his famous play Hamlet after his son and included a drowning scene in his honor. After the loss of his son, William left his family behind and headed for London to write plays. He was a poet and playwright. He wrote many famous plays, including Macbeth, Hamlet, and Romeo and Juliet. His stories were very popular with the English people because some of them were about English kings, like Henry IV. One of the characters from Henry IV was Falstaff, a drunk and crude knight. People liked him so much that William wrote another play using Falstaff, entitled The Merry Wives of Windsor. Shakespeare lived during the Renaissance period, and was one of the most influential playwrights of his time.

Hamlet is set in medieval times and relates the story of Hamlet, who is the son of the dead King of Denmark, which appears as a ghost. The ghost appears at midnight and hints to Hamlet and his two friends Horatio and Marcellus about his murder. Hamlet’s mother, Gertrude, quickly marries Hamlet’s Uncle Claudius barely before the King’s body is even cold. Hamlet finds out that Claudius poisoned his father while he was sleeping to gain control of the throne. Hamlet confronts his mother about knowing about the murder of his father, and her affair with Claudius. Claudius attempts to kill Hamlet on a “vacation” voyage to England, by getting Rosncrantz and Guildenstern, Hamlet’s boyhood friends to carry a letter to the King of England to chop off Hamlet’s head. Hamlet intercepts the letter, and sends a letter to the King of England, telling him to immediately cut off the heads of the messengers. Hamlet then plots to kill Claudius because “He… killed my king and whored my mother.” Laertes is allowed a duel against Hamlet to revenge his father, Polonius’, murder. Halfway into the duel, Claudius toasts the duelers, and drops a poison-coated pearl into the wine as an inducement for Hamlet to finish the drink. However, Gertrude decides to drink it he...

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