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Word Count: 3,381
The Text Summary Act I Scene I - It is midnight and bitter cold On a platform a level space on the battlements outside the castle at Elsinore in Denmark a sentry Francisco is being relieved by another Bernardo Later Marcellus and Horatio join Bernardo Horatio is there at Marcelluss request but doubts the sentries story that on two previous nights they have seen a ghost But the ghost reappears and Horatio seeing its resemblance to the dead king Hamlet asks it to speak Instead it stalks away Horatio interprets the ghosts appearance as an omen that strange is about to happen in Denmark He tells the sentries that Fortinbras a young hot-headed Norwegian has gathered an army and intends to march on Denmark to take back the lands which his father King Fortinbras lost to King Hamlet The ghost then reappears Again Horatio faces it and asks it to speak Before it can a rooster crows signaling the dawn and the ghost retreats once more Horatio and the others agree that Prince Hamlet must be told of the nights happenings Act II Scene II - King Claudius is transacting state business Claudius brother of the dead king Hamlet has succeeded him to the throne He has married the widow Queen Gertrude prince Hamlets mother In an attempt to avoid combat with Fortinbras Claudius is sending messengers Cornelius and Voltimand to the elderly king of Norway He wants to inform him of his headstrong nephews Fortinbras intention to wage war against Denmark Next Laertes son of Claudiuss trusted elderly counselor Polonius asks permission to return to France now that Claudiuss coronation is over Having granted Laertess request Claudius turns to Hamlet his nephew and now his stepson Claudius says that he and the queen are troubled to see Hamlet still grieving over his fathers death He asks Hamlet to accept him as his new father and assures Hamlet that he will be the successor to
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