You are here:
Act 1 Scene 2
Claudius ...We pray you throw to earth / This unprevailing woe, and think of us / As of a father.
Claudius thinks Hamlet is grieving excessively for his dead father - here, he's urging Hamlet to cease his melancholy.
Here's what Dr Nick Walton of the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust says about this photo at BBC Hamlet:'Pictured above is Hamlet talking with Claudius and Gertrude during the opening scene. There's a stark contrast in the white costumes of the king and queen compared to Hamlet dressed in sombre black. Hamlet remained aloof, though there was a sense of celebration with Claudius and Gertrude sipping champagne, the new king puffing upon a cigar. Jane Lapotaire, playing Gertrude, was very keen to find out what was haunting her son. She would move around the stage in order to get a better view of him and at times audiences saw her trying to bring Hamlet and Claudius together.'
Left to right:Gertrude - Jane LapotaireHamlet - Kenneth BranaghClaudius - John Shrapnel
Photo by Reg Wilson © RSC
Gertrude Let not thy mother lose her prayers, Hamlet. I pray thee stay with us. Go not to Wittenberg.Hamlet I shall in all my best obey you, madam.
Gertrude wants to keep her son Hamlet near her in Elsinore.
Gertrude - Jane LapotaireHamlet - Kenneth Branagh
Act 1 Scene 4
Hamlet Whither wilt thou lead me? Speak. I'll go no further
Hamlet urges the Ghost of Old Hamlet to speak to him. At the end of this production, the Ghost waits with open arms at the back of the stage, ready to welcome his son.
Ghost - Clifford RoseHamlet - Kenneth Branagh
Ghost ...But know, thou noble youth, / The serpent that did sting thy father's life / Now wears his crown.
The ghost tells Hamlet how Old Hamlet was murdered.
Act 1 Scene 3
Laertes Perhaps he loves you now, And now no soil nor cautel doth besmirchThe virtue of his will; but you must fear,His greatness weigh'd, his will is not his own;For he himself is subject to his birth.
Alone in Polonius's household, Laertes says goodbye to his sister Ophelia as he leaves for France. He warns her not to fall in love with Hamlet who he thinks won't be able to love her back because of his position of responsibility.In this production, this scene takes place in Ophelia's room which contains this huge wardrobe. Later, Claudius and Polonius hide inside the wardrobe to spy on Ophelia and Hamlet.
Ophelia - Joanne PearceLaertes - Richard Bonneville
Act 2 Scene 2
Hamlet I know the good King and Queen have sent for you.
Rosencrantz and Guildenstern have been invited to the castle by Claudius and Gertrude in the hope they can cheer Hamlet out of his depression and find out what is troubling him. Hamlet is suspicious of their visit and guesses that they have been sent for.
Left to right:Rosencrantz - Michael GouldGuildenstern - Angus WrightHamlet - Kenneth Branagh
Photo by Reg Wilson © RSC
Act 3 Scene 1
Hamlet Who would these fardels bear, To grunt and sweat under a weary life, But that the dread of something after death...
In this famous soliloquy, Hamlet reflects that the sufferings of life are so great that no-one would willingly suffer them if it wasn't for the fear of the unknown after death.
Hamlet - Kenneth Brannagh
Hamlet I did love you once.Ophelia Indeed, my lord, you made me believe so.Hamlet You should not have believed me. For virtue cannot so inoculate our old stock but we shall relish of it. I loved you not.
Hamlet (Kenneth Branagh) torments Opehlia (Joane Pearce).
First Player Unequal match'd, Pyrrhus at Priam drives, in rage strikes wide; But with the whiff and wind of his fell sword / Th' unnerved father falls...
The Players arrive and deliver a few examples in front of Hamlet, Polonius, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern.
First Player - Jonathan Newth
Act 3 Scene 2
Player King 'Tis deeply sworn. Sweet, leave me here awhile. My spirits grow dull, and fain I would beguile / The tedious day with sleepPlayer Queen Sleep rock thy brain, And never come mischance between us twain!
The court watch the players enact The Mouse Trap. Hamlet leans over, hoping to see a reaction in Claudius to prove his guilt.
Ophelia - Joanne PearceHamlet - Kenneth BranaghClaudius - John ShrapnelGertrude - Jane LapotairePlayer King - Jonathan NewthPlayer Queen - Sian Radinger
Act 3 Scene 4
Hamlet You are the Queen, your husband's brother's wife, And, would it were not so, you are my mother.
Hamlet (Kenneth Branagh) visits his mother Gertrude (Jane Lapotaire) in her chamber ('closet').
Ghost O, step between her and her fighting soul! Conceit in weakest bodies strongest works.
After Hamlet kills Polonius, the Ghost of Hamlet's father appears and speaks to Hamlet. The Ghost is invisible to Gertrude.
Ghost - Clifford RoseHamlet - Kenneth BranaghGertrude - Jame Lapotaire
Act 4 Scene 5
Ophelia [sings] He is dead and gone, lady. He is dead and gone. At his head a grass-green turf, At his heels a stone.
Ophelia has lost her mind through grief following her father's death.
Gertrude - Jane LapotaireClaudius - John ShrapnelOphelia - Joanne PearceLaertes - Richard Bonneville
Act 5 Scene 2
Horatio Now cracks a noble heart. Good night, sweet Prince, And flights of angels sing thee to thy rest!
Hamlet dies in Horatio's arms.
Hamlet - Kenneth BranaghHoratio - Rob Edwards
0844 800 1110
Sign up to email updates for the latest RSC news:
Already an RSC Member or Supporter? Sign in here.