The ghost of the King of Denmark tells his son Hamlet to get revenge for his murder by killing the new king, Hamlet's uncle. Hamlet pretends madness, thinks about life and death, and seeks revenge. His uncle, fearing for his life, also plans strategies to kill Hamlet.
"Hamlet" is a work of great complexity and as such has drawn many different critical interpretations. Hamlet has been seen as a victim of circumstance, as an impractical idealist, as an opportunist, as the sufferer of a great melancholy, and as a man blinded by his own desire for revenge. Through the great discussion with which Hamlet gets his revenge, Shakespeare brilliantly dramatizes the complex philosophical and ethical issues that are at stake with such a violent action. The depth of characterization and literary craft that is exhibited in the work has elevated "Hamlet," to a legendary status, one of the most influential works in all of English literature.