(Greek) Tragedy Play Structure- Hamlet



The Exposition/ Prologue

Setting: Castle of Elsinore, Denmark

Main characters introduced: Claudius, Gertrude, Ghost, Hamlet, Horatio, Laertes, Ophelia, Polonius, 

Minor characters introduced: Bernardo,  Francisco, Guildernstern, Marcellus, Rosencrantz, 

Characters mentioned: Fortinbras

Conflict: The Ghost of the deceased king appears and demands Hamlet takes action to avenge his death, as we learn that Claudius murdered his brother to inherit the throne and subsequently married his widow.


Rising Action

Hamlet's 'madness' begins

The relationship between Hamlet and Ophelia becomes complicated

- The audience are unaware if Hamlet's madness is genuine or false

- Polonius orders Ophelia to reject him

- Closet scene

He decides to prove Claudius' guilt with a play within a play ('mousetrap')

Deception is seemingly widespread in Claudius' court

- Reynaldo used to spy on Laertes

- Claudius uses friends of Hamlet to find out information about him

- Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are interchangable which highlights the duplicity in the court


The Climax

Claudius and Polonius spy on Hamlet

Hamlet contemplates suicide

- 'To be or not to be' soliloquy 

Ophelia is used as an outlet for Hamlet's anger

- 'Get thee to a nunnery'

'Mousetrap' play…


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