Hamlet: Novel Summary: Act 1, Scene 2

Claudius, the new king of Denmark, thanks his subjects for their support through the death of his brother Hamlet and marriage to Hamlets wife.  He then sends his ambassadors, Cornelius and Voltemand, to prevent a threatened attack from Fortinbras in Norway, who seeks to avenge his father.  Claudius then turns to Laertes who has come to request permission to return to France.  Laertes father, Polonius, gives his consent and so Claudius grants his request.  Next, the focus turns to Prince Hamlet.  Hamlet expresses extreme grief and is told by Claudius that his focus on his sorrow is both stubborn and unmanly.  Further, he denies Hamlets desire to return to school in Wittenburg.  The Queen also voices her desire that Hamlet remain with them.  Hamlet consents to stay and is left alone.  In his solitude, Hamlet laments the death of his father and the remarriage of his mother in less than a month from that day.  Hamlet feels that the marriage between his mother and uncle is incestuous and that nothing good will come of their union.  Barnardo, Horatio, and Marcellus enter here and converse with the prince.  Horatio agrees that the marriage and funeral occurred in rapid succession.  He then tells Hamlet that he believes he has seen the ghost of the dead king.  The other two men corroborate his story.  They tell Hamlet that the form looked sorrowful, pale, and refused to speak.  Hamlet tells the three men to keep their vision a secret and plans to join them for the watch that night.