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"Something is rotten in the state of Denmark." Hamlet is Shakespeare's most popular & most bewildering play. It tags along in the form of a revenge tragedy, in which the hero, Hamlet, seeks retribution against his father's murderer, his uncle Claudius, now the king of Denmark. Nonetheless, much of its enthrallment lies in its doubts chief among them: does Hamlet go mad, or merely acting crazy? HAMLET: To be, or not to be, --that is the question: -- Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune Or to take arms against a sea of troubles, And by opposing end them?--To die, --to sleep, -- No more; and by a sleep to say we end The heartache, and the thousand natural shocks That flesh is heir to, --'tis a consummation Devoutly to be wish'd. To die, --to sleep;-- To sleep perchance to dream: --ay, there's the rub; For in that sleep of death what dreams may come, When we have shuffled off this mortal coil, Must give us pause: there's the respect That makes calamity of so long life; For who would bear the whips and scorns of time, The oppressor's wrong, the proud man's contumely, The pangs of despis'd love, the law's delay, The insolence of office, and the spurns That patient merit of the unworthy takes, When he himself might his quietus make With a bare bodkin? who would these fardels bear, To grunt and sweat under a weary life, But that the dread of something after death, -- The undiscover'd country, from whose bourn No traveller returns, --puzzles the will, And makes us rather bear those ills we have Than fly to others that we know not of? Thus conscience does make cowards of us all; And thus the native hue of resolution Is sicklied o'er with the pale cast of thought; And enterprises of great pith and moment, With this regard, their currents turn awry, And lose the name of action.--Soft you now The fair Ophelia --Nymph, in thy orisons Be all my sins remember'd. Characters Claudius, King of Denmark Hamlet, son to the late & nephew to the present King Polonius, Lord Chamberlain Horatio, friend to Hamlet Laertes, son to Polonius Voltemand, courtier Cornelius, courtier Rosencrantz, courtier Guildenstern, courtier Osric, courtier Marcellus, officer Bernardo, officer Francisco, soldier Reynaldo, servant to Polonius Two Clowns, gravediggers Fortinbras, Prince of Norway A Norwegian Captain English ambassadors Gertrude, Queen of Denmark, mother to Hamlet Ophelia, daughter to Polonius Ghost of Hamlet's Father.