Hamlet is a Shakespearian tragedy about Hamlet, the son of the recently deceased King of Denmark. The ghost of Hamlet's father informs him that he was actually killed by Hamlet's uncle, Claudius, who has married his mother, Gertrude, to become king. The play centers around Hamlet's ambiguous mental and emotional state of scheming, wavering, insanity and despair. In the end, Hamlet kills Claudius to avenge his father's death and most of the major characters are also killed.

Summary of Hamlet by William Shakespeare

Below is a list of Hamlet Cliff Notes and Hamlet SparkNotes. Not looking for a Hamlet summary? Search above for 5000 other chapter summaries, curated from popular sites like SparkNotes and Cliff Notes.

Hamlet Chapter Summaries (Free)

1SparkNotes

Review: The most popular website for book notes. SparkNotes was created by students for students, and their summaries are accessible and extremely well-written. Besides the usual plot overview, chapter summaries, and character analysis, SparkNotes differentiates itself with a section discussing themes, motifs, and symbols.

2BookRags

Review: Boasting the largest collection of book summaries, BookRags is the best option for titles you can't find elsewhere. They offer all of the basics (quotes, chapter summary, characters, historical context, literary criticism) but also walk through a few major topics that recur throughout the book, which can be particularly useful for writing essays.

3Cliffs Notes

Review: The original provider of professionally-written study guides, Cliffs Notes were available in print form before the Internet even existed. Their content is very comprehensive and includes an analysis of characters, detailed chapter by chapter summaries, critical essays, essay topics, and many other sections.

4Barron's Book Notes

Review: Barron's Book Notes is a trusted brand that excels in its literary analysis of elements like setting, themes, style, point of view, form, and structure, as well as its sample quizzes. They also have the requisite book summary and chapter breakdown. But beware the pop-up ads and outdated web design!

5GradeSaver

Review: You won't get any frills with GradeSaver -- just the content you expect. Their study guides include a full plot summary, themes and character analysis, study questions, and the e-text of the book. One hidden gem is their collection of literature essays, but you'll have to pay for it.

6Novel Guide

Review: This provider offers quality content and all of the sections you'd expect in a study guide, like quotes, chapter by chapter summary, theme analysis, author biography, and even metaphor analysis. However, the main downside is that the website is not well-formatted and the text can be difficult to read.

7BookWolf

Review: Very bare bones and an out-of-date web design. You'll find a character list, chapter summary, and author biography on this site, but it's not as comprehensive as other providers.

8JiffyNotes

Review: This is a good choice if you're looking for a quick read or refresher rather than an in-depth analysis. You'll get a short book summary and chapter breakdown, and while the colors are strange, at least the website loads quickly.

9Summary Central

Review: Use this website only if you're extremely pressed for time, like the morning of an exam. They offer a very short plot overview and a list of characters and quotes. However, you won't find much analysis or even a chapter summary.