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Hamlet [Mass Market Paperback]

William Shakespeare
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
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Book Description

July 1 2003 074347712X 978-0743477123
Each edition includes:

• Freshly edited text based on the best early printed version of the play
• Full explanatory notes conveniently placed on pages facing the text of the play
• Scene-by-scene plot summaries
• A key to famous lines and phrases
• An introduction to reading Shakespeare's language
• An essay by an outstanding scholar providing a modern perspective on the play
• Illustrations from the Folger Shakespeare Library's vast holdings of rare books

Essay by Michael Neill

The Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington, D.C., is home to the world's largest collection of Shakespeare's printed works, and a magnet for Shakespeare scholars from around the globe. In addition to exhibitions open to the public throughout the year, the Folger offers a full calendar of performances and programs. For more information, visit www.folger.edu.

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Product Description

About the Author

William Shakespeare was born in April 1564 in the town of Stratford-upon-Avon, on England’s Avon River. When he was eighteen, he married Anne Hathaway. The couple had three children—their older daughter Susanna and the twins, Judith and Hamnet. Hamnet, Shakespeare’s only son, died in childhood. The bulk of Shakespeare’s working life was spent, not in Stratford, but in the theater world of London, where he established himself professionally by the early 1590s. He enjoyed success not only as a playwright, but as an actor and shareholder in an acting company. Sometime between 1610 and 1613, Shakespeare is thought to have retired from the stage and returned home to Stratford, where he died in 1616.

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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars You will be absorbed into the story Sept. 9 2006
By bernie TOP 100 REVIEWER
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This really is "The Tragical History of Hamlet Prince of Denmark" and not only the Prince but his family. Not only his family but his friends. Not only his friends but all though that came before him and is told to those that came after him.

You can take time to scrutinize and pick apart many underlying themes or may of the phrases that now challenge Bible sayings in today's sound bites. But the real fun is in just reading the story and you will find that it is not as foreign as you may have thought.

A quick synopsis is that Old Hamlet conquered Old Fortinbras seizing his land. Now that Old Hamlet is dead, Young Fortinbras wants his land back and is willing to take it by force. Meanwhile back in Dänemark Young Hamlet who is excessively grieving for the loss of his father, gets a now insight from his fathers ghost. Looks like he was a victim of a "murder most foul"; it looks like his mother and uncle were in cahoots on the murder.

The story is about what each person felt and acted or did not act upon the situation.

You will find many movies and perverted imitations of the story but nothing will replace the original scripts that were intended to be watched.
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5.0 out of 5 stars To Buy or Not To Buy Should Not Be The Question Dec 23 2003
By JL1984
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Hamlet is without a doubt Shakespeare's finest work. Aside from being a true romantic and a captivating poet, Shakespeare could also pass as being a psychological genius. Though there are numerous characters in this play, (as in most of shakespeares works) Hamlet is the main focus of the play and it is seen that his internal struggles often overshadow many of the other subplots throughout the story (though in no way does it leave the reader oblivious to the other happenings in the story). The story is about the prince of Denmark whose father was killed by Hamlet's malicious Uncle Claudius who has seized control of the throne after his brother's death. Afterwards, Hamlet undergoes a series of internal conflicts and questions the validity of his father's ghost and is ultimately thought to be insane by those around him who witness his unorthodox actions and bizarre coments. After he is ordered sent away and returns, killing Rozencrantz and Guildenstern aboard the England-bound ship, Hamlet is pushed further into his own realm of "insanity" and soon after helps catapult one of the greatest climatic endings of Shakespeare's works. The final scene of this play is appropriate as it puts an end to the spiral downfall of Hamlet and those around him.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Chasing Shakespeare -- Finding Hamlet Dec 15 2003
Format:Mass Market Paperback
The sheer magnitude and dramatic measure of Shakespeare is never to be missed -- but it can be a challenge tackling the linguistics of sixteenth century English.
For those (like me) who need a leg up, the Durband (Editor) additions of Shakespeare's work are an invaluable help. For the ambitious reader, an additional resource in cracking the code of 16th century grammar comes in the form of Adamson, Hunter, Magnusson, Thomposon, & Wales's "Reading Shakespeare's Dramatic Language, A guide." Finally, an invaluable guild to understanding not only Shakespeare but also any dramatic structure comes from David Ball's "Backwards and Forwards, A Technical Manual for Reading Plays." With all these resources firmly in hand, I chased Shakespeare, and managed, in some sense, to tackle "Hamlet," the first Shakespeare play I had ever read . . .
So what's the play about -- other than ~3-4 hours of live performance? This question actually decomposes into 3 questions: what's does the play "mean," what's its "theme," and what's the play "about?"
I've actually no idea what it "means," and I'm not sure I understand what is meant by 'what does it mean?' so I'll let that go . . .
A better question: what are it's themes? That's easy: revenge, parental fealty, trust.
Most helpful is the last question: what's the play about? I've read that constraints on the answer to this question are: it should be short, 1-2 sentences, and if you were telling it to someone who knows little about the play, it should 'draw the person in: make them want to know more,' so here goes:
Hamlet is a play about a son who pretends to lose his mind while attempting to avenge the perfect murder of his father, and he loses his own life in the process.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Was Hamlet Mad? Dec 13 2003
By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
His interactions with the other characters in the play, and his ability know in advance the corrupt plans of so many of his enemies at Elsinore, demonstrate Hamlet's sensible thoughts that would not go through his mind had he gone mad. There are also considerable distinctions between the actions of Hamlet in his "mad" state of mind and the few other characters that undoubtedly lost sanity. Hamlet is a smart, scholarly man, and faking a mental disability could certainly a part of his plot to revenge his father's death, which was a command of his father. Hamlet gives a warning to Horatio and others that he might act strangely at times, which would put whatever "mad" tendencies other may he displays into perspective. He unmistakably informs his mother, the queen Gertrude, that she was not to reveal to Claudius that he was "not in madness, but mad in craft" (3:4:9). She is not convinced that her son is okay, however he is clear in his point. A mad man would certainly not care about the other's thoughts and opinions of him. Horatio would probably have notice if his friend was acting out of the ordinary without a reason, and brought it to someone's attention, had it been serious enough. The first time the king and queen become aware of his "madness" is when Polonius announces it to them and tells them of Hamlets love for his daughter, Ophelia. Your noble son is mad: Mad call I it; for, to define true madness, What is't but to be nothing else but mad? But let that go...At such a time I'll loose my daughter to him..."(2:2:99).
If any of Hamlet's 'madness' is based on his talk of ghosts, the accusation is a blunder. Hamlet did not do a bad thing by frightening his uncle, but it certainly did make an impact.
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