Hamlet Plot Summary & Character Analysis Mind Map

Last updated on March 14, 2023 by

Between 1599 and 1601, William Shakespeare wrote Hamlet at a time when there is political uncertainty and fear. It is also considered one of the most powerful and influential theatre play in English history. Furthermore, it covers the revenge tragedy of the young Danish prince named Hamlet. He explores the concepts of fate versus free will in the midst of a situation that happened tragically. In this article, discover a hamlet summary that will be discussed act-by-act and will be shown using templates to help you envision each scene. 

Hamlet Book Review Guide

Character List Mind Map

character map of hamlet
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This section will cover the characters that exist in Hamlet. In the book, there are mainly five characters namely Hamlet, Claudius, Gertrude, Ophelia, and Polonius. Each character plays an important role that makes the play worth reading. In this Hamlet summary character map, you will see the roles of the characters and their significant contribution to the entire play.

Plot Summary Mindmap of Chapters

The play consists of five chapters and sub-chapters which are also known as scenes and acts. It’s important to learn about them to fully understand the play from beginning to end. The best way to analyze it is through a mindmap where the Hamlet summary acts and scenes are arranged in a way that is easy to understand.

Hamlet Act 1 Summary

hamlet summary act 1
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As prince Hamlet arrives in Denmark, he was shocked by the sudden death of his father and the actions of his mother, Gertrude. The queen married his uncle, Claudius a month after his father’s passing. Hamlet sees the ghost of his father, who tells him Claudius poisoned him and orders him to exact revenge.

Despite the ghost’s request, Hamlet decides to think it over and look for proof of the visitation. As he knows, the Devil can be a charming appearance and can easily mislead someone whose mind is agitated in deep sorrow. Hamlet pretends to be melancholy and insane in order to fool Claudius and other people in court. Pretending is made simple because it is what he really feels. Anyway, Horatio, Hamlet’s closest friend, also sees the ghost that evening.

In this Hamlet act 1 summary, the son of the king’s advisor Polonius, Laertes, was introduced. As they were preparing for school, Polonius and Laertes warned Ophelia to pledge to stop seeing hamlet as she has romantic feelings for him. 

Hamlet Act 2 Summary

Reynaldo, a spy sent by Polonius, travels to France to keep a watch on Laertes. Meanwhile, Ophelia informs Polonius that Hamlet went into her room, holding her wrists and staring crazily into her eyes. She also said that she has already cut off all ties with Hamlet. With that, Polonius decides to meet with the king to create a plan to intrude on Hamlet speaking to Ophelia. He is convinced that Hamlet is madly in love with Ophelia and that her rejection is what put him in this situation. Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, two of Hamlet’s classmates from high school, have been invited by Gertrude to investigate the origin of his insanity. However, Hamlet avoids their queries because he is suspicious of them.

Hamlet Act 3 Summary

hamlet summary act 3
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Hamlet act 3 summary covers Ophelia’s returning the gifts Hamlet gave her, Polonius and Claudius watch over them. Afterward, Hamlet asks a theater group to perform “The Murder of Gonzago” with some of the passages he wrote. He grumbles out loud about his anxieties on stage by himself. Besides, he thinks he must determine whether the ghost is actually his father or a spirit manipulating him into doing sin for no apparent cause. Given that the play features a king who murders his brother and marries his sister-in-law, Hamlet thinks that the performance the following night will force Claudius to admit guilt.

In her bedroom, Gertrude and Hamlet get into a heated argument. Hamlet stabs the intruder, who turns out to be Polonius, after hearing a commotion from behind the curtains. The ghost scolded hamlet for using harsh language to describe his mother. Gertrude, who is unable to see the ghost, starts to believe that Hamlet is insane. Off-stage, Hamlet carries Polonius’s body.

Hamlet Act 4 Summary

In Hamlet act 4 Summary, Claudius fears for his own life after Hamlet makes a play about killing Polonius. So he instructs Rosencrantz and Guildenstern to bring Hamlet to England. When Hamlet arrives, Claudius will deliver letters instructing the English king to execute him. Ophelia has reportedly gone insane since learning of her father’s passing. When Ophelia enters, she starts singing some bizarre songs and talks about her father’s passing. She also implies that her brother will have exact retribution. As soon as Laertes received the news, he is furious and allies Claudius to assassinate Hamlet as soon as possible. The two men consent to set up a duel. Claudius intends to give Hamlet a poisoned cup, and Laertes acquires a poisoned blade. Laertes’ rage is then strengthened when Gertrude enters with the bad news that Ophelia drowned.

Hamlet Act 5 Summary

hamlet summary act 5
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In Hamlet act 5 summary, is where you can see the tragic ending of the play. Two gravediggers converse while they work on digging Ophelia’s grave. In the grave of his sister, Laertes jumps and asks to be buried alive. With Laertes in a dispute, Hamlet reveals himself and declares that he loves Ophelia more than 40,000 brothers could. Claudius reminds Laertes of their murderous plan after Hamlet leaves.

Hamlet tells Horatio that before escaping on the pirate ship, he read Rosencrantz and Guildenstern’s letters, revised one of them to demand their beheading, and then switched the letters. A courtier named Osric interrupts to report on Laertes’s dispute. After the first point, Hamlet rejects Claudius’s offer of a poisoned drink, which Gertrude later sips. Laertes attacks Hamlet while he is defenseless. When they grapple, Hamlet uses his own poisoned blade to harm Laertes. Gertrude suddenly passes out and claims she has been poisoned. When Laertes reveals the scheme he and Claudius discussed, Hamlet uses the poisoned blade to stab Claudius, killing him. Laertes begs Hamlet’s pardon before passing away.

At this point, delegates from England arrive and announce that Rosencrantz and Guildenstern have passed away. Fortinbras, a Norwegian prince who was previously in the play led an army to Denmark and attacked Poland. The horrific sight of the entire royal family dead and splayed on the floor astounds Fortinbras. He makes a move to seize control of the empire. In order to fulfill Hamlet’s final wish, Horatio tells him the sad tale of Hamlet. He must be brought away in a manner appropriate for a fallen soldier, according to Fortinbras.

Book Summary with Mind Map

If you want to create a Hamlet summary more interactive and interesting to study, mind mapping can be of great help. It offers many benefits from adding images, customizing colors, making connections, and a lot more to make learning memorable. The process of mind-mapping a book summary will be easier with the help of a free mind-mapping tool named GitMind. This web-based program is commonly used for education allowing users to create mindmaps, flowcharts, and diagrams. Below are the easy steps to construct a mindmap Hamlet summary.

  • On your Chrome browser, access GitMind. Register for an account and immediately start editing the mind map.
  • Choose a suitable template for the book summary. Edit the map by changing the center branch to the title of the book. Replace the branches with themes, plot, characters, or anything significant analysis of the book.
book summary template selection
  • Customize the map by adding images, links, or comments. You can also personalize the background, style, and structure as you like. Once done, export the map to the file format of your choice. You can choose from images, pdf, word, txt, or GitMind files.
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If you prefer a desktop version, then you can get it from the download link below:



In this Hamlet summary, each act depicts significant tragedies between life and death. It has been a very influential piece in the English language. Moreover, there are many lessons and realizations that you can learn from it. We hope that this blog helps you to understand one of William Shakespeare’s well-known plays. And for more analysis and reviews, don’t forget to follow GitMind. You can also check out templates to easily visualize topics.

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Posted by: on to Tips and Resources. Last updated on March 14, 2023

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