There are six subplots to the play Hamlet. These plots include Fortinbras Incursion, Ophelia’s Story, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern’s story, Polonius’ espial on Hamlet, the Play Within the Play, and Hamlet’s banishment to England. These subplots are all stories within the play that each have their own tragic endings. All six subplots have to do with the main character of the play, Hamlet, and his need to know the truth about his father’s death. The first of the six subplots is Fortinbras Incursion. This is about Fortinbras story and the role he plays.
Fortinbras father was killed in battle by King Hamlet, which forfeited certain lands to King Hamlet. Fortinbras seeks out revenge for his father’s death and wants to take control of the lands again. An emissary then heads to Norway to talk to the King of Norway, Fortinbras uncle, out of attacking Denmark. The king of Norway makes peace with Denmark but warns them that Foritnbras will be going through Denmark to Poland. In the end of the play, Fortinbras is coming back through Denmark and comes across the slaughtered land where Hamlet asks him to be king of Denmark.
The second subplot of Hamlet is Ophelia’s story. Hamlet and Ophelia have a love for each other that is destroyed when Hamlet pretends to be insane. This affects Ophelia on a deep level when Hamlet rejects Ophelia. Ophelia then goes insane from this which causes her to commit suicide. Ophelia’s death is caused by Hamlet’s need to know the truth about his father’s death. The third subplot of the play Hamlet is Rosencrantz and Guildenstern’s story. They are old childhood friends of Hamlet that become concerned from the rumours being spread about Hamlet.
However when they talk to King Claudius they become more concerned with impressing the king then their own friends well-being and agree to spy on him. Hamlet finds out their true intentions and switches the order for his death with theirs. Hamlet thinks they deserve the hand fate dealt them. The fourth subplot of Hamlet is Polonius’ Espial on Hamlet. Polonius, a good father gone bad uses his own daughter Ophelia as a tool to spy on Hamlet for the King. He gets Ophelia and Hamlet to meet by accident to determine if Hamlet’s irrational behavior is a result of “the affliction of love”.
Polonius then hides behind an arras in Queen Gertrude’s room to spy on Hamlet and Gertrude’s discussion. He pays for his deceit to Hamlet when Hamlet strikes with his sword the arras and kills Polonius. The fifth subplot of Hamlet is the Play within the Play. Hamlet switches lines in the play “The murder of Gonzaga” to match what he thinks is how his father died. He will watch to see Claudius’ reaction to the play for more evidence against him as his father’s murderer. If Claudius has no reaction then Hamlet will know that the ghost was deceiving him.
This play is used to assure Hamlet that Claudius should be punished for his actions. The sixth and last subplot of Hamlet is Hamlet’s banishment to England. Claudius orders that the King of England kills Hamlet as soon as he steps on English soil. Hamlet soon figures out and swaps his name for Rosencrantz and Guildenstern’s. Hamlet then escapes while pirates attack England and makes his way back to Denmark. This initiates the final scene of the play where Hamlet avenges his father’s death and meets his own tragic end.
All six subplots are key stories within the play that play a role in Hamlet’s death. King Claudius is murdered by Hamlet, who has escaped death by murdering his own friends. Gertrude is accidentally murdered by her husband’s plan to kill her son. Laertes dies avenging the deaths of his father and sister, whose deaths were caused by Hamlet in one way or another. Hamlet finally falls by Laertes sword, and names Fortinbras King. Each subplot played a part in murdering, or fueling others to murder someone in the end. These six subplots make the play Hamlet the masterpiece that it is.