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), is a tragedy written by William Shakespeare sometime between 15.
Shakespeare may also have drawn on an earlier Elizabethan play known today as the Ur-Hamlet, though some scholars believe Shakespeare wrote the Ur-Hamlet, later revising it to create the version of Hamlet we now have.
He almost certainly wrote his version of the title role for his fellow actor, Richard Burbage, the leading tragedian of Shakespeare's time.
Soon thereafter, Ophelia rushes to her father, telling him that Hamlet arrived at her door the prior night half-undressed and behaving erratically.
Polonius blames love for Hamlet's madness and resolves to inform Claudius and Gertrude.
Claudius also scolds Hamlet for continuing to grieve over his father and forbids him to return to his schooling in Wittenberg.
After the court exits, Hamlet despairs of his father's death and his mother's hasty remarriage.
As he enters to do so, the king and queen finish welcoming Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, two student acquaintances of Hamlet, to Elsinore.
The royal couple has requested that the students investigate the cause of Hamlet's mood and behaviour.
As the court gathers the next day, while King Claudius and Queen Gertrude discuss affairs of state with their elderly adviser Polonius, Hamlet looks on glumly.
During the court, Claudius grants permission for Polonius's son Laertes to return to school in France and sends envoys to inform the King of Norway about Fortinbras.