The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark
William Shakespeare, 1564-1616
Written c. 1600, dated post-1599 by reference to The Children of the Chapel Royal, but Gabriel Harveyís note, which mentions the play, also refers to Essex as alive, hence before February 1601.
Entered in Stationerís Register: July 26, 1602
First, "Bad," Quarto: 1603; Q2: 1604; First Folio: 1623
Actus Primus
Scúna Prima: The Battlements of Elsinore
 
l.
(Line numbers from Arden edition and from Hinman Facsimile)
1
14
Barnardo, Francisco Barnardo enters and challenges Francisco. He corrects him: "Nay, answer me." Barnardo tells Francisco to watch out for Horatio and Marcellus, who are going to join him.
2
15
19
Barnardo, Francisco, Marcellus, Horatio   Introductions. Francisco takes his leave.
3
20
25
Barnardo, Marcellus, Horatio   Barnardo starts to describe what they saw when the ghost appears. 
4
43
51
Barnardo, Marcellus, Horatio, Ghost   Marcellus asks Horatio to speak to the ghost, but when he tries to it walks away.
5
55
66
Barnardo, Marcellus, Horatio  Horatio tells the guards of how Hamlet defeated old Fortinbras in single combat and claimed lands from him. His son now has raised an army to win back the land his father lost and that is the reason for the precautions, the war preparations, and the guard they are walking. He fears the trouble in the land is what is causing the ghost to walk at night.
6
129
125
Barnardo, Marcellus, Horatio, Ghost   The Ghost returns and Horatio asks it to tell them if it is privy to its countryís fate. But the cock crows and the spirit leaves.
7
147
141
Barnardo, Marcellus, Horatio They resolve to tell Hamlet what they have seen.
Scena Secunda: The Court
1
1
175
Claudius, Gertrude, Hamlet, Polonius, Laertes, Ophelia, Lords Attendant   Laments for the late king, announcement of the royal marriage, and thanks to the Lords for their support. Claudius tells of Fortinbrasí demand for the return of the lands lost by his father to old Hamlet. 
2
26
204
Claudius, Gertrude, Hamlet, Polonius, Laertes, Voltemand, Cronelius, Courtiers   Claudius instructs his emmisaries to Norway, Fortinbrasí uncle. 
3
43
221
Claudius, Gertrude, Hamlet, Polonius, Laertes, Courtiers    Laertes gets his leave to return to France. Turning to Hamlet, Claudius and Gertrude urge him to end his mourning for his father. He is asked to stay at court and not return to Wittenberg. "I shall ... obey you Madam," he replies.
4
129
312
Hamlet   "Oh that this too too solid Flesh would melt, ..." Compares his father and his step-father and is shocked by his motherís marriage. 
5
160
343
Hamlet, Horatio, Marcellus, Barnardo   Hamlet greets his old friend, Horatio. Horatio and the guardsmen tell Hamlet of the ghost.
6
255
456
Hamlet   "All is not well: / I doubt some foule play:.." He looks forward to finding out what is wrong.
Scena Tertia: Departure of Laertes
1
1
460
Ophelia, Laertes   Warning about "Hamlet, and the trifling of his fauours,.." because he is not free to marry whom he will. She warns him not to show her the hard road to heaven and follow "the Primrose path of dalliance" himself.
2
52
516
Ophelia, Laertes, Polonius   Old saws from father to son.
3
88
553
Ophelia, Polonius   More warnings about Hamlet.
Scúna Quarta: The Battlements
(not numbered seperately in Folio)
1
1
603
Hamlet, Marcellus, Horatio   The King drinks toasts.  Hamlet regrets the custom.
2
38
622
Hamlet, Marcellus, Horatio, Ghost  The ghost appears and Hamlet follows him.
3
87
675
Marcellus, Horatio   The others follow after.
Scúna Quinta: Elsewhere on the Battlements
(not numbered seperately in Folio)
1
1
681
Hamlet, Ghost   The ghost tells Hamlet of his murder by Claudius. Tells him not to harm his mother, "leave her to heauen." Feeling morning near, he says "remember me."
2
92
777
Hamlet   He swears to do what he is told and remember his father.
3
113
797
Hamlet, Marcellus, Horatio   Hamlet swears the others to silence and asks them to say nothing if he begins to act peculiarly about the court. 
Actus Secundus
Scúna Prima: A Room at the Court
(not numbered in Folio)
1
1
888
Polonius, Reynaldo   Polonius gives Reynaldo money and notes for Laertes and advice on how to spy on him.
2
74
968
Polonius, Ophelia   Ophelia tells her father how Hamlet appeared at her chamber, seeming mad.
Scena Secunda: A Chamber at the Court
1
1
1018
Claudius, Gertrude, Rosencrantz, Guildenstern, "Cum alias"   The King and Queen welcome Hamletís friends and ask them to find out what is bothering him.
2
40
1063
Claudius, Gertrude, Polonius, "Cum alias"   Polonius tells Claudius that the ambassadors to Norway are returned and that he is certain he has found the cause of Hamletís madness. The King wants to hear that, but Polonius reminds him to hear the ambassadors first. 
3
54
1078
Claudius, Gertrude, "Cum alias"   Claudius tells Gertrude that Polonius has found the cause of Hamletís madness, but Gertrude is certain it is "His Fathers death, and our oíre-hasty Marriage."
4
58
1081
Claudius, Gertrude, Polonius, Voltemand, Cornelius   They got Norway to rein in his nephew, but Fortinbras is now going to attack the Polock and wants permission to cross Denmarkís territory to do it. Claudius is pleased, but says he will think about it.
5
85
1112
Claudius, Gertrude, Polonius   The Councellor, after much introduction, which Gertrude calls for him to end, tells them Hamlet is mad for love of his daughter. He shows them a letter he wrote her. Claudius asks Gertrude what she thinks and she says "It may be very likely." Polonius suggests they eaves-drop on the lovers and Claudius says "We will try it." 
6
166
1203
Claudius, Gertrude, Polonius, Hamlet   They see Hamlet enter and Polonius stays to talk with him.
7
171
1208
Polonius, Hamlet   The Prince claims to know him for a fishmonger. He warns him against "conception," and Polonius notes "Still harping on my daughter." When Polonius asks what he is reading Hamlet tells him itís slanders against old men. "Though this be madness," Polonius observes, "Yet there is Method inít." Polonius leaves in exasperation as Rosencrantz and Guildenstern enter.
8
220
1265
Hamlet, Rosencrantz, Guildenstern   The friends arrive to entertain Hamlet. Hamlet calls Denmark a prison and tells of his bad dreams. He tells them he knows the King and Queen sent for them. "What a piece of work is Man," he says, but adds "Man delights not me." They tell him of the arrival of the players. When he asks why they have left the city Rosencrantz tells him of "the late Innouation": "an ayrie of Children," They hear the flourish of the players and Polonius returns.
9
376
1427
Hamlet, Rosencrantz, Guildenstern, Polonius   Hamlet mocks the old man to his friends. Polonius tells him of the actors and their skill "either for Tragedie, Comedie, Histories, Pastorall: Pastoricall-Comicall-Historicall-Pastorall : Tragicalll-Historicall : Tragicall-Comicall-Historicall-Pastorall," etc. 
10
417
1465
Hamlet, Rosencrantz, Guildenstern, Polonius, Players   Hamlet asks for a sample and the 1st Player does his Pyrrhus speech. Polonius is alarmed at how carried away the player seems. Hamlet tells Polonius to use them well, and Polonius exits.
11
530
1576
Hamlet, Rosencrantz, Guildenstern, 1st Player   Hamlet asks the 1st Player if they can do The Murder of Gonzago and add a few lines heís written. He sends him after Polonius, warning him not to mock him. (Note: The Gonzagas were the ruling house of Mantua, patrons of Monteverdi)
12
540
1584
Hamlet, Rosencrantz, Guildenstern   He welcomes them to Elsinore and takes his leave of them.
12
543
1588
Hamlet   "Oh what a Rogue and Pesant slaue am I?" Hamlet describes his plan to play something like the murder of his father for the King and watch his reaction. "The Playís the thing..."
Actus Tertius

(This and all following Act and Scene divisions absent in Folio)

Scúna Prima: A Passage at Elsinore
1
1
1645
Claudius, Gertrude, Polonius, Ophelia, Rosencrantz, Guildenstern   The spies are debriefed, but can tell the King and Queen little. They tell them that the players are performing for Hamlet that night and Polonius confirms that and says they are invited.
2
28
1677
Claudius, Gertrude, Polonius, Ophelia
3
43
1694
Claudius, Polonius, Ophelia (Queenís exit not noted in F) 
4
55
1777
Hamlet   "To be, or not to be....."
5
90
1743
Hamlet, Ophelia   "Get thee to a Nunnery."
6
152
1806
Ophelia   "Oh woe is me, / Tíhaue seene what I haue seene..."
7
164
1818
Ophelia, Claudius, Polonius   The King resolves to send Hamlet to England.
Scúna Secunda: A Room in Elsinore
1
1
1848
Hamlet, Players   "Speake the Speech I pray you,..." Hamlet criticises bad acting he has seen.
2
46
1894
Hamlet, Polonius, Rosencrantz, Guildenstern   Hamlet asks if the King and Queen are going to hear the play and Polonius tells him they will. Hamlet tells Polonius to "Bid the Players make hast."
3
50
1899
Hamlet, Rosencrantz, Guildenstern   Hamlet tells Rosencrantz and Guildenstern to go help Polonius hasten the players.
4
52
1901
Hamlet, Horatio   Hamlet praises Horatioís honest friendship. He tells him his plan and asks him to "Giue [the King] needfull note" and confirm if he reacts to the play.
5
92
1942
Claudius, Gertrude, Hamlet, Polonius, Ophelia, Horatio, Rosencrantz, Guildenstern, Court   The Court arrives for the play.
6
137
1990
Claudius, Gertrude, Hamlet, Polonius, Ophelia, Horatio, Rosencrantz, Guildenstern, Court, Players in Dumbe Show   The Players perform the Dumb Show.
7
2003
Claudius, Gertrude, Hamlet, Polonius, Ophelia, Horatio, Rosencrantz, Guildenstern, Court   Ophelia asks what the dumb show means and Hamlet tells her it will be made clear when the players return.
8
147
2016
Claudius, Gertrude, Hamlet, Polonius, Ophelia, Horatio, Rosencrantz, Guildenstern, Court, Prologue   Play announced.
9
150
2023
Claudius, Gertrude, Hamlet, Polonius, Ophelia, Horatio, Rosencrantz, Guildenstern, Court, Player King, Player Queen   The play begins. The Player Queen swears her undying love to her husband. "If she should breake it now," Hamlet observes.
10
224
2097
Claudius, Gertrude, Hamlet, Polonius, Ophelia, Horatio, Rosencrantz, Guildenstern, Court, Player King   The "King" asleep, Hamlet asks Gertrude how she likes the play. She says "The Lady protests to much me thinkes." [Ďdothí in Q2 only]
11
239
2111
Claudius, Gertrude, Hamlet, Polonius, Ophelia, Horatio, Rosencrantz, Guildenstern, Court, Player King, Lucianus   The murder is enacted and the King reacts, breaking up the play.
12
265
2142
Hamlet, Horatio   Hamlet rejoices "get me a Fellowship in a crie of Players," and Horatio confirms "I did verie well note him."
13
289
2162
Hamlet, Horatio, Rosencrantz, Guildenstern   Hamlet calls for music and recorders. Ros and Guil arrive to tell him the King is "marvellous distemperíd" and the Queen has sent for him. 
14
336
2215
Hamlet, Horatio, Rosencrantz, Guildenstern, Musician with Recorder Hamlet takes the recorder and asks why R & G "go about to recouer the winde of mee. "Will you play upon this pipe?" he asks Guildenstern. "ĎTis as easy as lying." 
15
364
2244
Hamlet, Horatio, Rosencrantz, Guildenstern, Polonius   "The Queene would speak with you, and presently," Polonius tells him. Hamlet asks him about the clouds. 
16
378
2258
Hamlet, Horatio, Rosencrantz, Guildenstern   Hamlet tells the others to leave him.
17
379
2259
Hamlet   "ĎTis now the verie witching time of night,..."
Scúna Tertia: A Room in the Palace
1
1
2271
Claudius, Rosencrantz, Guildenstern   Claudius tells Rosencrantz and Guildenstern to take Hamlet to England.
2
27
2301
Claudius, Polonius   Polonius tells Claudius Hamlet is on his way to the Queenís chamber and promises to tell him "ere you go to bed" what he learns by listening to their conference.
3
36
2312
Claudius   "O, my offence is rank ..."
4
73
2349
Claudius, Hamlet   Hamlet finds the King praying and decides not to kill him until some better time.
5
97
2372
Claudius   "My words flye vp,..."
Scúna Quarta: Gertrudeís Chamber
1
1
2374
Gertrude, Polonius   Polonius encourages her to "lay home to him." He will spy on their conference. They hear Hamlet coming.
2
7
2383
Polonius (Hidden), Gertrude, Hamlet   Hamlet hears Polonius and kills him through the arras.
3
26
2406
Gertrude, Hamlet   He asks, "is it the King?" He rages at his mother for her unfaithfulness to his father and for complicity in his murder. He compares Claudiusí and his fatherís portraits.
4
104
2482
Gertrude, Hamlet, Ghost   The ghost comes "to whet thy almost blunted purpose" and tells him to speak to Gertrude who stands amazed at their conversation.
5
139
2520
Gertrude, Hamlet   He tells her to avoid the Kingís bed and leaves with Poloniusí body.
Actus Quartus
Scúna Prima: Gertrudeís Chamber
1
1
2586
Claudius, Gertrude, Rosencrantz, Guildenstern (R & G not in the Folio) Claudius asks where Hamlet is and, in Q2, sends Rosencrantz and Guildenstern away.
2
5
2591
Claudius, Gertrude   She tells him of Hamletís madness and of his killing Polonius. "It had bin so with vs had we beene there," Claudius observes. She tells him heís gone to "draw apart the body."
3
33
2620
Claudius, Gertrude, Rosencrantz, Guildenstern   Claudius sends the dynamic duo to find him.
4
38
2626
Claudius, Gertrude   Claudius resolves to call a meeting of their "wisest friends" to explain what has happened. "Oh come away," Claudius says, "My soule is full of discord and dismay."
Scúna Secunda: A Passage in the Palace
1
1
2629
Hamlet   Hamlet hides Poloniusí body.
2
4
2635
Hamlet, Rosencrantz, Guildenstern   They ask him to come to the King. He goes with them.
Scúna Tertia: Another Room in the Palace
1
1
2661
Claudius, Attendants (in Q only)   Claudius observes that Hamlet is too popular with the people for him to act directly against him. 
2
2671
Claudius, Rosencrantz, Attendants   Rosencrantz tell him Hamlet wonít tell them where the body is. They bring in Hamlet.
3
16
2681
Claudius, Hamlet, Rosencrantz, Guildensterns (Guards in Q), and Attendants (in Q)   "Whereís Polonius?" "At supper." Claudius sends some attendants to get the body. "He will stay till you come," Hamlet tells them.
4
40
2701
Claudius, Hamlet, Rosencrantz, Guildenstern, Guards   Claudius tells Hamlet he is sending him to England.
5
57
2718
Claudius, Rosencrantz, Guildenstern (or Guards)   Claudius tells them to stay with Hamlet and see he is on the ship that night.
6
56
2721
Claudius   He plans to have Hamlet killed by the English king. 
Scúna Quarta: A Remote Spot on the Coast
1
1
2734
Fortinbras, Captain, Army   Fortinbras tells the Captain to convey his intentions to the Danish king.
    (Following ommitted in Folio)
2
9
Hamlet, Rosencrantz, Guildenstern, Captain   The Captain tells them about the futility of the campaign. 
3
30
Hamlet, Rosencrantz, Guildenstern   Hamlet sends his companions ahead.
4
32
Hamlet   "How all occaisons do inform against me...."
Scúna Quinta: A Chamber in the Palace
1
1
2744
Gertrude, Horatio, Gentleman (in Q)   The Queen refuses to see Ophelia, whom Horatio, or the Gentleman, says is "importunate, indeed distract." She relents and says to let her in, sending the Gentleman in Q.
2
16
2762
Gertrude, Horatio   The queen expresses her fear and guilt.
3
21
2766
Gertrude, Horatio, Ophelia   Ophelia enters singing. Claudius enters, not singing.
4
37
2776
Gertrude, Horatio, Ophelia, Claudius   The King asks "How do ye?" and Ophelia tells him about The Owl and the Bakerís daughter. "Goodnight Ladies: Goodnight sweet Ladies..."
5
74
2810
Gertrude, Horatio, Claudius   "Follow her close", Horatio exits
6
76
2813
Gertrude, Claudius   "When sorrows come..." He tells her Laertes is come from France.
7
98
2834
Gertrude, Claudius, Messenger   The Messenger warns the king to flee. He stays his ground.
8
112
2851
Gertrude, Claudius, Messenger, Laertes, Followers   Laertes arrives and tells his followers to wait outside.
9
115
2858
Gertrude, Claudius, Laertes   Claudius begins to calm Laertes, assuring him he had nothing to do with Poloniusí death.
10
155
2904
Gertrude, Claudius, Laertes, Ophelia   Second mad scene. Ophelia distributes flowers. 
11
199
2951
Gertrude, Claudius, Laertes   Claudius promises to form a committee to look into it.
Scúna Sexta: A Chamber in the Palace
1
1
2972
Horatio, Servant   The sailors are announced. Horatio tells the servant to let them in.
2
4
2975
Horatio   He wonders who but Hamlet could be writing to him.
3
6
2978
Horatio, Sailors   Hamletís letter. The escape from the pirates.
Scúna Septa: Another Part of the Palace
1
1
3006
Claudius, Laertes   Claudius convinces Laertes that it is Hamlet who killed his father and drove his sister mad. 
2
36
3045
Claudius, Laertes, Messenger   Letters from Lord Hamlet, to Claudius and to Gertrude. Claudius tells Laertes he will hear the letters, too.
3
42
3053
Claudius, Laertes   Hamletís letter to Claudius. They plot to get Laertes into a duel and kill him. Laertes offers to poison his sword to make it certain. Claudius further suggests the poisoned drink.
4
162
3153
Claudius, Laertes, Gertrude   Opheliaís death described. Laertes fights back his tears and exits.
5
190
3184
Claudius, Gertrude   "Letís follow, Gertrude."
   
Actus Quintus
   
Scúna Prima: Graveyard
1
1
3189
Two Clownes   Debate the propriety of burying a suicide and what constitutes killing oneself. "...If this had not been a Gentlewoman, she would have been buried out of Christian Buriall." The riddle of the stronger builder - the gallows maker. But who builds even more strongly? the first clowne asks. The second clowne is stumped.
2
65
3245
Gravediggers, Hamlet, Horatio   Hamlet and Horatio listen in from afar to hear the punchline - "a Grave-maker." The Gravedigger sends his assistant for a drink.
3
61
3251
Hamlet, Horatio, 1st Gravedigger   He sings as he tosses out a skull. Hamlet philosophizes on the skulls. Hamlet asks the gravedigger whose grave it is and gets the runaround. Hamlet asks the man how long heís been a gravedigger and how long a man will lie in the earth ere he rot. The gravedigger identifies Yorickís skull. Hamlet recalls him and reflects on mortality.
4
211
3405
Hamlet, Horatio, Priest, Claudius, Gertrude, Laertes, Court   Hamlet and Horatio look on and, when Hamlet realizes the funeral is Opheliaís, confronts Laertes. They fight and are parted. 
5
288
3493
Horatio, Priest, Claudius, Gertrude, Laertes, Court   Claudius sends Horatio to look after Hamlet.
6
289
3494
Priest, Claudius, Gertrude, Laertes, Court   "Strengthen your patience in our last night's speech," Claudius advises Laertes.
   
Scúna Secunda: A Hall in the Palace
1
1
3499
Hamlet, Horatio   "Thereís a divinity that shapes our end," Hamlet observes, as he describes finding and altering the death command. "The interumís mine," and he plans to accomplish what he must before word gets back from England.
2
81
3587
Hamlet, Horatio, Osric   Osric welcomes Hamlet back from England. He describes the wager the king has made with Laertes and Hamlet accepts the challenge.
3
181
Hamlet, Horatio (Not in Folio)  They mock Osric.
4
192
Hamlet, Horatio, Lord (Not in Folio)   The Lord asks if Hamlet is ready for the duel and says that the King and Queen are coming. 
5
205
3647
Hamlet, Horatio   Hamlet assures Horatio that he will win at the odds. "...the readiness is all."
6
221
3674
Hamlet, Horatio, Claudius, Gertrude, Laertes, Osric, Court   The duel is fought. The Queen drinks the poison by mistake. Hamlet is wounded and, when the Queen swoons, calls for the doors to be locked. Osric presumably goes to do it, as he returns later.
7
319
3793
Gertrude (dead), Hamlet, Horatio, Claudius, Laertes, Court   Laertes reveals the plot and Hamlet kills Claudius. Laertes dies. Hamlet asks Horatio to refrain from killing himself so that he can tell the world what happened.
8
354
3838
Claudius, Gertrude, Laertes (deceased), Hamlet, Horatio, Osric, Court Osric returns with the news that Fortinbras is arrived. Hamlet gives Fortinbras his vote for King and dies.
9
367
3852
Hamlet, Claudius, Gertrude, Laertes (all deceased), Horatio, Osric, Court, Fortinbras, English Ambassador, Attendants   "His quarry cries on hauocke," says Fortinbras. The English Ambassador regrets there is no one there to receive his news that the Kingís command has been carried out and Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are dead. Horatio promises to tell all. Fortinbras has Hamlet carried "to the stage."