The play opens shortly after midnight on the battlements of Elsinore Castle in Denmark. Three guards—Barnardo, Francisco, and Marcellus—have asked Prince Hamlet's friend Horatio to stand watch with them; they report that a Ghost in the shape of Prince Hamlet's father, the late King Hamlet, walks the battlements at night. The Ghost appears twice, but does not speak. Horatio speculates that the Ghost's appearance is a bad omen for Denmark's future. He also reveals that Denmark is preparing for war: King Fortinbras of Norway was killed by King Hamlet in single combat, and now his son, Prince Fortinbras, is threatening to invade in order to regain territories subsequently taken by Denmark. The next day, the current King of Denmark, the...

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More Quick Facts

  • Hamlet (Play)
  • Author

    • Shakespeare, William (English playwright)
  • Published

    • January 01, 1603
  • Genre

    • Play
  • Language

    • English
  • Major Characters

    • Barnardo (Hamlet) (Fictional character)

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