In the play, a ghost in the form of Hamlet's father calls for Hamlet to avenge his murder at the hands of his brother, Claudius, who is now the king of Denmark. The play then focuses on Hamlet's search for the truth as he decides whether or not to take revenge on Claudius. To this end, Hamlet stages a play mirroring the manner in which Claudius supposedly murdered Hamlet's father, believing Claudius' reaction will betray his guilt. As Hamlet exclaims, "The play's the thing in which I'll catch the conscience of the king!"
Hamlet's story was mirrored in 2266 when the Karidian Company of Players performer Hamlet aboard the USS Enterprise. During the performance, Lenore Karidian accidentally kills her own father, Anton Karidian, after the latter is revealed to be the infamous Kodos the Executioner. With her dead father in her arms, the insane Lenore paraphrased Hamlet, stating "There's no time to sleep. The play. The play. The play's the thing, wherein we'll catch the conscience of the king." (TOS: "The Conscience of the King")
- The actor who played Hamlet