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on July 24, 2003
This edition of Hamlet will allow you to read the text more closely and with more understanding than any other I have seen. With all the added notes and helps you will not only understand the language of Shakespeare more clearly, you will also be able to come to your own informed opinions on this great work.
The richness of great works is their layering and their openness to multiple interpretations. And yet, misreading and misunderstanding the language is more often the source of missing the point of the passage rather than adding to a richer understanding. There are certainly creative misreadings, but those are made from deep understanding rather than superficial mistaken interpretation.
This edition has extensive notes with the text and when a topic requires longer treatment the notation LN is used for Longer Note. You turn to the back and find the Longer Note by Act - Scene - Line Number and get a great deal of useful discussion about that aspect of the play.
There is also a 159 page introduction with context setting essays on the issues around the date of the play, its publication, the various texts and the debates over the merits and deficiencies of the First and Second Quarto and the First Folio, plus editorial problems, and a critical introduction.
All in all, this great play deserves to be read closely and returns riches for all the effort you can afford to put into reading it. This edition is very fine and assists you in mining treasures from this magnificent work.
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TOP 50 REVIEWERon November 11, 2013
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. The tragedy started in the previous generation. Will it end with Hamlet?

Many people are interested in dissecting underlying themes and read more into the characters actions than was probably intended. Many of phrases from Hamlet now challenge Bible for those popular quotes that no one remembers where they came from. The real fun is in just reading the story and as you find that it is not as foreign as you may have thought; you see many characters like these around you today.

A synopsis, Old Hamlet conquered Old Fortinbras seizing Fortinbras' 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 Prince Hamlet who is excessively grieving the loss of his father, the king, gets an interesting insight from his father's ghost. Looks like Old Hamlet was a victim of a "murder most foul"; it appears his mother and uncle were in cahoots on the murder. On top of that they even get married before the funeral meats are cold.

The story is about Hamlet's vacillating as to what to do about his father's murder. However he does surprise many with his persistence and insight.

You will find many great movie presentations and imitations of the story; this is an intriguing read but was really meant to be watched.

William Shakespeare's Hamlet (Two-Disc Special Edition)
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on February 23, 2012
In these two Arden Hamlet books, Thompson and Taylor feast the reader on the authentic meat of the texts, in a format fully accessible to the modern reader; this second, companion edition provides the second course and the dessert, a delicious feast that duly celebrates this tragic masterpiece.
The second text in the Arden Shakespeare series gives us a direct look at the two other texts of Hamlet, the so-called bad quarto of 1603 and the version of the play from the First Folio of 1623. This complements the first book in this series and together these two Arden Hamlet books provide the general reader with the three extant texts of Shakespeare's masterpiece, a wonderful opportunity to see first-hand, in modernized and scholarly versions the sources for the play.
Thompson and Taylor, in this text, provide a 37 page introduction that puts these texts in their relational context to the Second Quarto text of 1604-5, showcased in the companion volume. This introduction does a great service by documenting the history of productions of the 1603 (bad) Quarto. As Thompson and Taylor inform us, this 1603 text may give us a view (however imperfect) of a version of the play as it was set on stage by Shakespeare in his day. This 1603 Hamlet uses different spellings for the names of several characters or gives them different names entirely, adds new scenes, changes the order of events (most famously by moving the "To be or not to be" soliloquy), and sheds many of the poetic flourishes of the more complete versions. In doing so, it does give a very stage-worthy version of the play, often referred to a more muscular, direct and demotic Hamlet.
The 1603 text does introduce some infelicities of language that do jar our sensibilities, indoctrinated to "purer" or more "refined" versions of the play, but this play does preserve in fairly good measure the bulk of the play as we have come to know it. Indeed, as the introduction outlines, even those daring directors who have staged this Hamlet sometimes "corrected" the jarring passages with the approved versions. Yet some productions put this version on stage, warts and all, and so provided another view of this great play, perhaps akin to what Glenn Gould did with the Brahms Piano Concerto No. 1 with Leonard Bernstein and the New York Philharmonic on 6 April 1962. Such a production, as with Gould's interpretation of Brahms, gives the viewer (reader) a different perspective on this well known pillar of literature, and such creative efforts help liberate our imaginations.
This Arden Hamlet ends with the magisterial version of the play from the First Folio. This is the play much as we have come to know it, as preserved by Shakespeare's friends and coworkers after his death. The great thing about this presentation of the texts by Thompson and Taylor is that they do give us the text as we have it, including the odd word or phrase that appears unwarranted or unusual, but may also often work. The detailed notes always make the connection to alternate words or phrases, usually drawn from the good quarto version of the play that editors have often selected to replace the seeming foul words.
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on February 5, 2012
This excellent book provides an astutely edited, fully annotated version of the "good Quarto" of Hamlet, the Mona Lisa of literature; this version is the closest extant text of Hamlet to the "foul papers", a phrase applied to the original hand written text by Shakespeare. A companion text carries edited and annotated versions of the other two Hamlet texts, the "bad Quarto" and the text that appeared in the First Folio.
The scholarship of Thompson and Taylor in this Arden edition is first class, the introduction that runs for 137 pages, and the appendices that follow clarify the history behind the texts of Hamlet, as well as sampling some of the rich insights into this, the most written about text in the world - with more than one book or article on Hamlet appearing for each day of any given year. Thompson and Taylor help elucidate the way the text of Hamlet must draw upon, one of these three sources, but that when an editor chooses to draw from one or the other texts, to compile the version he or she sees fit to produce, they must be guided by nothing better or worse than their own literary or scholarly instincts.
This book teaches us the method of Shakespearean text production, and gives us a look at the text that is most likely the text nearest to the version Shakespeare himself would have wanted, a delicious offering indeed. To the lover of literature and admirer of Shakespeare this text is well worth securing.
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on June 2, 2004
I love William Shakespeare: he is my favorite writer. Hamlet was the first play that I read, and it instantly became my favorite. My grandmother is a retired English professor, and so she likes to keep a collection of all the famous works. Arden was the series of choice, and therefore 1/2 of a bookshelf is dedicated just to it. I thought that the footnotes were extremely helpful in the Arden Edition of Hamlet, and that the way the page was set up it was easy to read, and preferrable to other books' layout. There were no long paragraphs that told you basically what the whole play was about, and I found that helpful: it's more fun to try to understand it on your own. I have viewed about five other versions of "Hamlet", and I still have not seen one that compares to this one.
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on June 30, 2003
The notes in this version make Hamlet easy to understand. Good for students or lovers of Shakespeare. Good if you are having trouble understanding the fancy and difficult language.
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on August 22, 2003
As one who collects editions of HAMLET, I can say without reservation that the Arden (2nd edition) is the hands-down best edition you can buy of the greatest work in our language. The notes are as complete as can possibly be expected, and offer the best insight I've yet to see concerning the various "problems" in HAMLET. Its comprehensive look may be too much for a person approaching the play for the first time, but for the serious student of HAMLET it's essential.
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on June 18, 2001
I certainly do not rate this item five stars for its stunning value. I rate this five stars because I think that if I had to pay the amount listed for any complete edition of Hamlet, I would. It is simply that good. If you have not read it, do so.
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on July 18, 2014
Dont buy the kindle edition! Theyre is no notes, no introduction... Just the plain text witch is part of public domain and available for free everywhere! And Amazon is charging a fee for this? Absurd!
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on February 25, 2014
What can you say. Great story. Great characters. I have found his plays enjoyable to read again even after reading them before, seeing the plays and different movie versions.
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