Internet Shakespeare Editions


The opening scenes: the Court

The stage direction* for Act 1, scene 2, reproduced here from the original (Quarto 2, 1604), describes a ceremonial entry, with the characters entering in the precise order that they hold in society. All--except Hamlet--are celebrating a marriage; he is mourning a death.

Under the show of outward ceremony, is there any sense of a disruption of order in the scene? Horatio has already commented that the appearance of the Ghost "bodes some strange eruption in our state" (1.1.69). How would Hamlet act on stage? Are there any indications in the text?


  1. The stage direction

    Florish. Enter Claudius, King of Denmarke, Gertrad the Queene,
    Counsaile: as Polonius, and his Sonne Laertes,
    Hamlet, Cum Alijs [with others].