Hamlet Chapter Abstracts for Teachers

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Chapter Abstracts

Act 1, Scene 1

• It is a cold night outside a castle in Elsinore, Denmark.

• Men are standing on watch and talking about seeing a "thing."

• One of them has brought Horatio, Prince Hamlet's friend, to witness the "thing."

• The "thing" is a ghost that walks at night.

• Horatio says the ghost looks like Denmark's last king (Hamlet's father) who recently died.

• They try to speak to the ghost. It looks like it will respond, but the cock crows and the ghost disappears.

• Horatio decides to tell Hamlet about the ghost.

Act 1, Scene 2

• Inside the castle, King Claudius gives a speech, describing the situation: his brother died, he took his brother's throne, and married his brother's widow, Gertrude.

• The country is also in an ongoing struggle with Norway, and Fortinbras, the prince of Norway, is making threats.

• Laertes, son of Claudius's counselor Polonius, returned to Denmark for Claudius's coronation, and...

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