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The forces that Fortinbras had conscripted to march against Denmark will instead be sent against Poland, though they will pass through a portion of Denmark to get there.Polonius tells Claudius and Gertrude his theory regarding Hamlet's behavior, and speaks to Hamlet in a hall of the castle to try to uncover more information.The story of Shakespeare's Hamlet was derived from the legend of Amleth, preserved by 13th-century chronicler Saxo Grammaticus in his Gesta Danorum, as subsequently retold by the 16th-century scholar François de Belleforest.Shakespeare may also have drawn on an earlier Elizabethan play known today as the Ur-Hamlet, though some scholars believe he himself wrote the Ur-Hamlet, later revising it to create the version of Hamlet we now have.Claudius had murdered his own brother and seized the throne, also marrying his deceased brother's widow.Hamlet is Shakespeare's longest play, and is considered among the most powerful and influential works of world literature, with a story capable of "seemingly endless retelling and adaptation by others".

Each version includes lines and entire scenes missing from the others.Polonius's daughter, Ophelia, admits her interest in Hamlet, but both Polonius and Laertes warn her against seeking the prince's attention.That night on the rampart, the ghost appears to Hamlet, telling the prince that he was murdered by Claudius and demanding that Hamlet avenge him. The prince confides to Horatio and the sentries that from now on he plans to "put an antic disposition on," or act as though he has gone mad, and forces them to swear to keep his plans for revenge secret.The play's structure and depth of characterisation have inspired much critical scrutiny.One such example is the centuries-old debate about Hamlet's hesitation to kill his uncle, which some see as merely a plot device to prolong the action, but which others argue is a dramatisation of the complex philosophical and ethical issues that surround cold-blooded murder, calculated revenge, and thwarted desire.

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