A line-by-line translation

Hamlet

Hamlet Translation Table of Contents

Now you can read Hamlet alongside a modern translation that anyone can understand. Use the translation to enrich your understanding of Shakespeare's original and avoid getting bogged down in archaic language.

Act 1, Scene 1

Watchmen discuss strange happenings. They see the ghost of the murdered king, and decide to tell Hamlet.

Act 1, Scene 2

Claudius and Gertrude ask Hamlet to stay in Denmark, and question why he seems so upset. Hamlet hears about the ghost.

Act 1, Scene 3

Before Laertes sets sail, he and his father Polonius warn Ophelia against starting a relationship with Hamlet.

Act 1, Scene 4

Hamlet stays out on guard. The ghost comes and beckons Hamlet away from his friends.

Act 1, Scene 5

Old Hamlet's ghost tells Hamlet what happened to him. Hamlet promises revenge, and swears his friends to secrecy.

Act 2, Scene 1

Polonius sends Reynaldo to spy on Laertes to see if he has any vices. Ophelia reports that Hamlet is behaving strangely.

Act 2, Scene 2

Members of the court try to understand Hamlet's mood. The actors arrive. Hamlet plots a device to test Claudius' guilt.

Act 3, Scene 1

Claudius and Polonius send Ophelia to Hamlet, and overhear them talk. Hamlet seems to scorn her.

Act 3, Scene 2

Hamlet has the actors perform "The Mousetrap," a play that reflects Claudius' crimes. Claudius leaves in a rage.

Act 3, Scene 3

Claudius plots to get Hamlet out of Denmark. Polonius plans to eavesdrop on Hamlet's conversation with Gertrude.

Act 3, Scene 4

Hamlet kills Polonius, and urges Gertrude to repent. Old Hamlet's ghost comes back and spurs on Hamlet's vengeance.

Act 4, Scene 1

Claudius asks Gertrude where Hamlet is. She tells him that Hamlet has killed Polonius.

Act 4, Scene 2

Gentlemen ask Hamlet where he has put Polonius' body. Hamlet replies in a way they cannot understand.

Act 4, Scene 3

Claudius asks Hamlet where Polonius' body is. Claudius tells Hamlet that he is being sent to England.

Act 4, Scene 4

Hamlet comes across the army of Fortinbras as he marches to attack Poland. Hamlet questions the point of the war.

Act 4, Scene 5

Ophelia has gone insane. Having raised a rebellious army, Laertes demands to know how his father died.

Act 4, Scene 6

A servant gives Horatio a letter from Hamlet about the attack on his ship, which prevented him from reaching England.

Act 4, Scene 7

Hamlet returns to Denmark. Laertes and Claudius plan to kill Hamlet in a duel. Gertrude announces Ophelia's death.

Act 5, Scene 1

Hamlet discusses mortality with a gravedigger. Ophelia is buried. Hamlet and Laertes fight over her grave.

Act 5, Scene 2

Hamlet and Laertes duel, fatally wound each other, and reconcile before death. Gertrude dies. Hamlet kills Claudius.
Ben florman
About the Translator: Ben Florman

Ben is a co-founder of LitCharts. He holds a BA in English Literature from Harvard University, where as an undergraduate he won the Winthrop Sargent prize for best undergraduate paper on a topic related to Shakespeare.