Act 1 Scene 1 Hamlet Summary


Act 1 Scene 1 of Hamlet begins on the ramparts of the castle of Elsinore in Denmark. Two sentinels, Barnardo and Francisco, are on duty and they are discussing the appearance of a ghost that has been seen on two previous nights. As Barnardo and Francisco are discussing the ghost, Horatio, a friend of Prince Hamlet, arrives. The ghost then appears, and the sentinels decide to tell Hamlet about the sighting.

The scene then shifts to the court of King Claudius, where he is addressing the court and speaking about his recent marriage to Queen Gertrude, the mother of Hamlet. After the court leaves, Hamlet enters and is clearly upset by the recent events, particularly his mother's remarriage so soon after the death of his father. Horatio tells Hamlet about the sighting of the ghost, and Hamlet decides to join the sentinels on the ramparts that night to see for himself.

This scene sets up the central conflict of the play, as Hamlet is clearly disturbed by his father's death and the rapid remarriage of his mother. The appearance of the ghost further complicates matters and sets the stage for the tragic events that will unfold throughout the rest of the play.





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