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Hamlet Mass Market Paperback – Jul 1 2003
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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—an older daughter Susanna and twins, Judith and Hamnet. Hamnet, Shakespeare’s only son, died in childhood. The bulk of Shakespeare’s working life was spent in the theater world of London, where he established himself professionally by the early 1590s. He enjoyed success not only as a playwright and poet, but also as an actor and shareholder in an acting company. Although some think that sometime between 1610 and 1613 Shakespeare retired from the theater and returned home to Stratford, where he died in 1616, others believe that he may have continued to work in London until close to his death.
Barbara A. Mowat is Director of Research emerita at the Folger Shakespeare Library, Consulting Editor of Shakespeare Quarterly, and author of The Dramaturgy of Shakespeare’s Romances and of essays on Shakespeare’s plays and their editing.
Paul Werstine is Professor of English at the Graduate School and at King’s University College at Western University. He is a general editor of the New Variorum Shakespeare and author of Early Modern Playhouse Manuscripts and the Editing of Shakespeare and of many papers and articles on the printing and editing of Shakespeare’s plays.
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Top Customer Reviews
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.
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.Read more ›
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.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
Great quality, Folger Edition is perfect for students. The Modern Perspective essay is especially helpful for studying.Published 8 months ago by Gabby V
hamlet (by which I mean twilight zone the movie) is a pretty good book. How do I know? Because I read some of it. It is the story of a really racist guy. He is really racist. Read morePublished on April 26 2004 by Twilight Zone
When I started reading hamlet, I'll be completely honest, I thought it stunk! I never really enjoyed reading Shakespeare anyway, but with word usage aside, it wasn't' too shabby. Read morePublished on March 10 2004 by Justin Baas
After just finishing Hamlet, I realized that it wasn't as bad as I initially thought it would be. Shakespeare uses a unique blend of humor and tragedy to make for an interesting... Read morePublished on Feb. 26 2004 by Lauren Logel
I don't fully understand (and don't want to) the many messages that overanalytical critics contend lay beneath the text of "Hamlet", but I will say that I never fail to... Read morePublished on Feb. 16 2004 by Sierra Wilson