What are the circumstances preventing Hamlet from retaliatory?


The focus of William Shakespeare's tragedy "Hamlet", which premiered in 1602, is the young Prince of Denmark, who is called to avenge the murder of his father. The story dates from the early Middle Ages, but the drama takes place at the castle in Elsinore at a time that roughly coincides with the time it was written. With the help of intrigues, Claudius, the murderer and illegitimate successor of Hamlet's father, tries to save the throne and his honor. In vain, for he dies at Hamlet's hand; At the end of the intrigues and fighting, the entire Danish ruling family is wiped out and Denmark falls to the King of Norway.

1st act

At night, a ghost resembling the deceased king appears to the guards at Elsinore Castle. The guards initiate Horatio, a friend of Hamlet, who tries in vain to approach the ghost. It is decided to inform Hamlet.

After the death of his brother, King Claudius succeeded him in office and also married his wife Gertrude. Since Denmark is threatened with armed attacks by the young Fortinbras of Norway, Claudius sends two envoys to Norway.

Laertes, the son of the chief chamberlain, Polonius, is released to Paris, while Hamlet does not return to study in Wittenberg, but is supposed to stay and recognize Claudius as his father. Hamlet complies with the wish.

With himself alone, Hamlet laments the denial of an appropriate period of mourning for his father and his mother's quick marriage to Claudius. Horatio comes and reports about the spirit. Hamlet wants to meet him.

Laertes says goodbye to his sister Ophelia. He and his father Polonius urge Ophelia not to give in on soliciting Hamlet and reject him. Ophelia promises this.

During the night Hamlet learns from his father's ghost that he was not killed by a snake bite, but was poisoned by Claudius. He calls on Hamlet to avenge his death, but to spare his mother in the process.

2nd act

Claudius instructs Hamlet's childhood friends Rosenkranz and Güldenstern to investigate the reasons for his depression and to cheer him up. Hamlet sees through Rosenkranz and Güldenstern, but takes up their suggestion to attend the performance of a traveling theater group. Hamlet proposes a piece entitled ›The Murder of Gonzago‹ to which he wants to add a few more verses himself, and which should be played in the presence of the royal couple. He wants to expose Claudius as a murderer.

Polonius interprets Hamlet's strangely confused behavior during an encounter with Ophelia as a reaction to Ophelia's dismissive behavior. Polonius agrees with Claudius to arrange a meeting between Hamlet and Ophelia and to secretly observe them. With this, Polonius wants to prove that Hamlet's mental illness is the result of rejected love.

Claudius learns from the ambassadors that the danger from Norway has been averted for the time being.

3rd act

In the overheard encounter with Ophelia, Hamlet shows himself thoughtful and confused. While Claudius suspects other causes, Polonius sticks to his theory of unheard of love. A conversation between mother Gertrude and Hamlet in the evening should finally bring clarity about Hamlet's condition.

Hamlet lets Horatio know his plans, and the play takes place according to Hamlet's instructions. Clear parallels to the actual events worry King Claudius and he leaves the performance prematurely upset. With this, Hamlet finds his suspicions confirmed, but he nevertheless agrees to the interview with his mother.

Claudius prepares to send Hamlet to England, then reveals his guilt in prayer. Hamlet finds Claudius praying, hesitates and does not want to kill him like that.

Hamlet relentlessly demonstrates her complicity to his mother. She asks him to stop several times, and when she calls for help, Polonius moves behind the curtain. Hamlet stabs him without knowing who he is killing.

4th act

Claudius now fears that he will be held accountable for the death of Polonius. He sees his last salvation in getting rid of Hamlets. He decides to have Hamlet killed in England.

At the beginning of the journey, Hamlet meets the Norwegian Fortinbras's troops, who are marching against Poland. The encounter encourages him to finally consider his own campaign against Claudius without hesitation.

The death of her father and the disappointed love drove Ophelia crazy. Laertes, returning from France, only seeks revenge on Hamlet, who has the death of his father and the misfortune of his sister on his conscience.

Hamlet surprisingly returns to Denmark. Horatio learns that the ship fell into the hands of pirates on the way to England and that Hamlet himself was released in exchange for a ransom promise.

When Claudius hears of Hamlet's return, he suggests that the combative Laertes to duel with Hamlet. Laertes ‘sharpened blade is said to be soaked with poison. To make sure that Hamlet dies, they want to give him poisoned wine during a break in the fight. When Gertrud enters the room with the news of Ophelia's death, grief and anger become overwhelming in Laertes.

5th act

Ophelia is supposed to have a Christian burial, but because of the unexplained circumstances of her death, the priest refuses to bless her at the grave. Furious, Laertes leaps into the open tomb while cursing Hamlet. Hamlet jumps after it and a fight ensues. Claudius orders the two to separate. Hamlet tries in vain to assure Laertes of his love for him and for Ophelia.

With a letter from Claudius to the King of England, which was in the luggage of Rosenkranz and Güldenstern, Hamlet can prove to Horatio that he should be beheaded when he arrived in England. The courtier Osrick brings Hamlet Laeertes ‘challenge to a duel, which Hamlet accepts despite a bad premonition.

In the presence of the royal couple and the court, Hamlet and Laertes fight. Meanwhile, the Queen ignorantly drinks the poisoned wine intended for Hamlet. After Hamlet has been wounded by the poisoned sword point, the weapons are exchanged in the crowd. Now Laertes is hit and wounded. Before he dies, he unmasked Claudius ‘intrigue against Hamlet, to whom in the end he and the queen also fell victim. Hamlet then stabs the king to death. The dying Hamlet and Laertes are reconciled, and Horatio also wants to follow his friend into death, but the latter prevents him from being able to report to posterity.

Dying, Hamlet bequeaths the throne to Fortinbras, a Norwegian returning from Poland. He has Hamlet buried in an honorable manner.

It would be presumptuous to want to evaluate this highly complex drama and masterpiece of world literature in a few concluding sentences. Each of the characters offers innumerable approaches to interpretation, as does the tense plot that is typical of a drama. In particular, the suffering that Hamlet goes through, his fears and doubts, and the consequences that result for him, widen the reader's view, forcing him to grapple with his own existence, not only on the basis of the most famous quote from the play: "To be or not to be, that is the question."