As Hamlet goes to meet his mother in her chambers, Polonius conceals himself behind a tapestry to listen in on their conversation.
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At Polonius’s suggestion, he and Claudius eavesdrop on a conversation between Hamlet and Ophelia to ascertain whether it is love that has altered Hamlet’s mental state.
When this encounter proves inconclusive, Claudius decides to send Hamlet on a trip to England, and Polonius suggests that he attempt to eavesdrop yet again—this time on a conversation between Hamlet and his mother, Queen Gertrude.
The ghost tells him that the murderer was none other than Claudius, the king’s brother and Hamlet’s uncle.
Disgusted by the thought that Claudius murdered his own brother before stealing his wife and his throne, Hamlet vows revenge.
After the play, Hamlet spies Claudius at prayer and realizes that this would be the perfect time to enact his revenge and kill him.
However, he reasons that it would be too lenient to allow Claudius to go to heaven cleansed of his sins and decides that he should wait to act.Ophelia’s father, Polonius, and her brother, Laertes, warn her to stay away from Hamlet, though Polonius believes that Hamlet’s recent madness must stem from his love for Ophelia.Wanting to uncover the cause of Hamlet’s strange behavior, King Claudius and Queen Gertrude summon Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, Hamlet’s old school friends, to court.The Ghost claims that the old king was murdered by Hamlet's uncle, Claudius, who has since married Hamlet's mother and assumed the throne.The play opens on a dark night at Elsinore Castle in Denmark.Ophelia is driven mad by the loss of her father and ultimately drowns after falling into a brook.