Prince Hamlet has not succeeded his father as King of Denmark. The throne is occupied by his uncle Claudius, who has promptly married Hamlet's mother upon her husband's death. At midnight, the old King's ghost appears to his son on the battlements of Elsinore to tell him of the manner of his death - poisoned by his own brother - and to demand revenge.
No play tells us more about Shakespeare's views on acting and the role of theatre in society as a way of mirroring the truth. Packed with references to the Globe, 'Heavens', the groundlings and even the performance of Julius Caesar in the previous year, Shakespeare seems to have ben inspired by his new theatre when he first staged Hamlet in 1600.