Newly minted King Claudius is holding court at Elsinore. He’s got all kinds of announcements: he thanks all of his supporters in this trying time; he sends ambassadors to Norway to avert an attack by their prince, Fortinbras; he sends Laertes, a young courtier, back to France; and he denies Hamlet permission to go back to school in Wittenberg. Claudius thinks Hamlet is far too mopey about his father’s death and should move on with his life. After all, there’s much to celebrate, like Claudius’s marriage to Hamlet’s mother, Gertrude. After everyone departs, Hamlet talks to himself, bemoaning the sad and rotten state of the world and his place in it. Then Horatio, Bernardo, and Marcellus arrive to bring news of the ghost. Intrigued, Hamlet decides to join them on guard tonight, in the hopes of seeing the ghost for himself.