Customer Reviews


140 Reviews
5 star:
 (85)
4 star:
 (22)
3 star:
 (15)
2 star:
 (8)
1 star:
 (10)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favourable review
The most helpful critical review


5.0 out of 5 stars You will be absorbed into the story
This really is "The Tragical History of Hamlet Prince of Denmark" and not only the Prince but also 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...
Published on Aug. 26 2010 by bernie

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars It had an complicated plot, and somewhat hard to follow.
"Hamlet, Prince of Denmark", was a book about a royal family and the deciet that lie beneath the surface. Hamlet, the son of the former king, Hamlet I, has an encounter with a ghost who resemlbles his father. The Ghost informs him that his father, the king's, death was actually a murder. Hamlet's uncle, Claudius, had poisoned him as an attempt to steal his...
Published on Nov. 19 1999


‹ Previous | 1 214 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

5.0 out of 5 stars You will be absorbed into the story, Aug. 26 2010
By 
bernie "xyzzy" (Arlington, Texas) - See all my reviews
(TOP 100 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Hamlet (Paperback)
This really is "The Tragical History of Hamlet Prince of Denmark" and not only the Prince but also 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)
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars It harrows me with fear and wonder, May 16 2010
By 
E. A Solinas "ea_solinas" (MD USA) - See all my reviews
(TOP 10 REVIEWER)    (HALL OF FAME)   
This review is from: Hamlet (Paperback)
"Hamlet" doesn't need any introduction -- the tortured Dane, the ghost, meditations on suicide and a climax full of death. But as well-known as the storyline is, the play itself is what deserves the attention, both for Shakespeare's shadowy plot filled with uncertainty and treachery -- and for his brilliant, immortal writing, which takes on a new dimension when read on the page.

Prince Hamlet of Denmark is understandably upset when, only a short time after his father's death, his mother Gertrude marries his uncle Claudius, who is now the new king. Who wouldn't be unhappy? But when Hamlet encounters the tormented ghost of his father ("I am thy father's spirit/Doom'd for a certain term to walk the night"), he learns that his dad was murdered by his uncle -- but he's plagued by indecision, since he's unsure if the spirit was truly his dad.

In response to this vision, Hamlet's behavior becomes more bizarre and erratic -- he dumps his girlfriend Ophelia, arranges a play that mimics real life a little too closely, and generally acts like a loon. But when an argument with his mother ends in tragedy -- and the death of one of Ophelia's loved ones -- Hamlet's fate is sealed as Claudius begins plotting to get rid of him too.

Small warning: like all Shakespeare's plays, it's best to read "Hamlet" after you've seen a good performance, because the entire thing was intended to be acted out. Otherwise, it's like reading a movie script to a movie you haven't seen -- easy to get lost, and the dramatic effects aren't easy to connect to.

But if you HAVE seen a good performance of "Hamlet," then the play will just jump off the page. The plot is a relatively simple one, but it's tangled up in all sorts of moral dilemmas, personal doubts, deteriorating personal relationships, and a creeping undercurrent of darkness. The best part is that Shakespeare leaves you with all sorts of questions that are left up in the air -- is Hamlet crazy or just faking it? Is the ghost really his dad?

And, of course, it contains some of the most intense, powerful examples of Shakespeare's work here -- vivid, nasty imagery ("In the rank sweat of an enseamed bed/Stew'd in corruption, honeying and making love/Over the nasty sty"), some bleak humor ("you're a fishmonger"), and Hamlet's immortal soliloquies. It's also one of Shakespeare's most quotable plays -- obviously you've got bits like "Alas, poor Yorick," "to be or not to be" and "Something is rotten in the state of Denmark," but there are countless other familiar phrases littered through the text.

On the page, Hamlet is basically an embittered young man who is torn between his doubts and convictions, but is still determined to fix things ("O cursed spite,/That ever I was born to set it right!"). A lot of the supporting cast are hard to follow, but there are some brilliant and enduring roles here -- the incestuous queen Gertrude, the subtle menace of Claudius, the windbag Laertes, and Ophelia, whose uncertainties spiral into madness after her ex-boyfriend kills her dad.

It's best to get a grip on this classic tragedy by watching an actual performance, but reading "Hamlet's" text is a vivid experience on its own. Brilliant, complex and intense.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4.0 out of 5 stars A few things you should know about Arkangel's 'Richard II', March 10 2010
This review is from: Richard Ii (Audio CD)
Arkangel have produced a highly listenable edition of 'Richard II', which (along with the Roman plays like 'Coriolanus') contains some of Shakespeare's most powerful political insights.

Arkangel's production never allows the listener to forget the subtle complexities at work. The actors do a marvellous job wringing meaning out of lines which might never have been gleaned from the written text, and the unspoken nuances, for instance, when Mowbray is told of his banishment, are palpable. The opening scene is intensely acted, with Bolingbroke and Norfolk spitting venom at each other before a king whose decadent boredom is obvious. Rupert Graves is excellent as Richard II, with highly expressive delivery (amused condescension, anger etc.) changing as his character's situation changes.

Also worth mentioning (in a play that completely lacks humour) is John Nettleton as the Duke of York, coming across as such a pompous old duffer that I almost laughed out loud each time he opened his mouth. The play's music is highly memorable, too, and was stuck in my head for days.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars I would bind myself in a nutshell and count myself a king of infinite space..., March 10 2007
By 
Selena Elizabeth (Parry Sound, ON CANADA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Hamlet (Paperback)
...but that I have bad dreams.

Shakespeare's writing fills the mind with all manner of beautiful, exotic, tragic images and without any use of description, but through the dialogue and the reactions of the characters. The characters themselves are so heartbreaking and fascinating that one can't help falling in love with them. Hamlet is a maddeningly interesting character with his manic-depressive attitude, his possibly real, possibly faked, insanity, his almost overpowering sense of angst and his frustration at the world around him. Ophelia is the saddest and most beautiful of heroines with her slow descent into madness as tragedy continually strikes her life and she eventually drowns herself surrounded by flowers and singing sweet little songs. HAMLET is the sort of story that haunts you, but that you want to--need to--constantly revisit for its perceptive observations of life on this planet and the nature of humanity.

I would also suggest reading Tom Stoppard's 1966 play ROSENCRANTZ AND GUILDENSTERN ARE DEAD for a brilliant parody/homage to the story and characters of HAMLET.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars You will be absorbed into the story,, Sept. 23 2006
By 
bernie "xyzzy" (Arlington, Texas) - See all my reviews
(TOP 100 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Hamlet (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 slow down and pick apart many underlying themes and 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 D'nemark 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 that was intended to be watched but reads well.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars You will be absorbed into the story,, July 16 2006
By 
bernie "xyzzy" (Arlington, Texas) - See all my reviews
(TOP 100 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Hamlet (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 D'nemark 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.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars You will be absorbed into the story, July 18 2005
By 
bernie "xyzzy" (Arlington, Texas) - See all my reviews
(TOP 100 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Hamlet (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.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars Chasing Shakespeare, finding Hamlet, Dec 4 2003
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, especially text from the original Folio published by Applause.
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 (like Polonius: "if you find him not within this month, you shall nose him as you go up the stairs into the lobby", 4.3 (Act 4, Scene 3) 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 . . .
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.
This isn't particularly poetic, but it does capture the basic main plot line, and it's underscores the tragic nature of Hamlet. The murder of Hamlet's father is perfect: it's takes a supernatural event to uncover the murder, i.e., the ghost of his father has to come back and tell Hamlet what happened. These are the two main events that drive the plot: the murder is perfect, and Hamlet chooses to take up the task of avenging his father with absolutely not one shred, not one bit, of evidence that Claudius killed King Hamlet.
And this is just how the play reads, how it looks to the audience: If you didn't know the story, the earliest point you might believe that the ghost really was telling the truth is Claudius' line #59, 3.1: "How smart a lash that speech doth give my conscience!" And what exactly is he feeling so guilty about anyway? It is unclear, not explicitly stated (e.g., it could be guilt for marrying Hamlet's mother so quickly, which is what Hamlet is initially bummed out and angry about, and justifying the quick marriage is in part what Claudius' initial speech is all about in 1.2.) And up until 3.2, Hamlet's not even sure about the veracity of the ghost -- so he sets a 'mouse trap' ("the play's the thing wherein I'll catch the conscience of the king"). Up until 3.2 (at the earliest), the audience doesn't really know if Claudius murdered the king, and they only know this with certainty during Claudius's confession of the murder in 3.3.
And if the audience (and Hamlet) are not absolutely sure about Claudius until Act 3, Scene 3, what about the other characters in the play? They never know. All the way through the play, to them, Hamlet looks just like the guy he's pretending to be: someone who's coming unglued. Take out Claudius's confession in 3.3, and I don't think the audience would believe Hamlet or the ghost. To them, Hamlet would be seen as he is seen through the eyes of all the characters (except Horatio): they'd think Hamlet is crazy, and to his mother (3.4), he's ranting and raving about a murder, and yes, there is a murder, but not of King Hamlet -- it's of Polonius, and yes, there is a murderer, but not Claudius -- it's Hamlet! Killing Polonius was a BIG mistake: Claudius sends Hamlet away to England, to be killed. Hamlet, far from being a man incapable of action, is "acting" every moment, struggling with one (huge) obstacle after another . . .
Hamlet's a brilliant play, a masterpiece, though I'm not convinced it's Shakespeare's best, plot-wise -- but certainty character-wise: as Bloom so aptly puts it: it is "The Invention of the Human." Shakespeare dramatizes a man that's *almost* (not totally) paralyzed with fear and uncertainty until most of the way through Act 4 (these are his first obstacles), and one main action he takes up to the end of act 4 is trying to satisfy for himself that Claudius really did kill his father, and avoid detection that that's what he's trying to do -- by acting crazy. A great play, and a full measure of the genius of Shakespeare.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars Hamlet : Folger Library edition, June 22 2003
By 
fra7299 "fra7299" (California, United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Hamlet (Mass Market Paperback)
Hamlet is, by far, the most complex of Shakespeare's many plays. Many of the themes covered are love vs hate, action vs non-action, revenge, and jealousy. Hamlet discovers that "something is rotten in the state of Denmark" when he encounters the ghost of his father, the King, who has recently been killed in battle. From here, Hamlet goes on a search for the discovery of what happened to his father. However, Hamlet not only uncovers secrets of the past, but also the depths of his own being.
The Folger Edition of Hamlet is a great edition to buy, especially for those who are studying this play in high school or college, because it is relatively cheap in price and is very "reader-friendly" with side notes and footnotes that accompany each page of each scene. So, even if you aren't a Shakespeare lover or if Shakespeare is just a little intimidating (we all know how this feels), this version at least allows you to get the gist of what is going on. Also, there are summaries of each scene within each act, to let you know in layman's terms what is taking place. I highly recommend this edition.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars Goodnight, sweet prince, Jan. 4 2003
By 
Daniel Jolley "darkgenius" (Shelby, North Carolina USA) - See all my reviews
(TOP 50 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Hamlet (Paperback)
Admittedly, there is really nothing I can say about Shakespeare's brilliant The Tragedy of Hamlet that has not been said before. The fact that this tragedy is so praiseworthy does not mean it should no longer be praised, though. So many of us had to read Hamlet in school, but there is something to be said and much to be gained by reading it on one's own again for pure pleasure. The story is a compelling one, the characters are sharply presented and unforgettable, and the play represents human tragedy in the fullest sense of the word. No matter how well you know the story, you as a reader are totally captivated by the human drama of the ill-fated prince of Denmark. The Bard's characters are incredibly human, be they good or evil, powerful or fragile. One can delight in the downfall of evil men and lament the fate of their innocent victims. The language is beautiful but difficult, of course. I often found myself rereading lines or entire passages to try and get a better sense of their meaning, and even then some vagaries of the language escaped me. The story itself, though, is vividly revealed through the Bard's poetic words, and even the most insensible lines roll off the tongue beautifully. I was most amazed by all of the famous lines and quotations found in this one drama; pop culture itself almost demands of you some knowledge of Hamlet. If "Alas, poor Yorick! I knew him, Horatio" or "Something is rotten in the state of Denmark" mean nothing to you, you would do well to brush up on your Hamlet. If you draw a blank at the words "To be or not to be," you might want to check your pulse to see if you still have one.
I will not attempt any literary criticism here because libraries are already overflowing with books on the subject. The madness of Hamlet is, I suppose, debatable; certainly, his madness is feigned early on, and I have much admiration for his manner of calling forth the guilty conscience of those who wronged his father through his supposed ravings, but one must particularly question his dealings with the lovely and innocent Ophelia. Madness, rage, murder, incest (of a sort), graveyards, sword fighting, poison, love, betrayal--this play has all of these things and more, yet it is the great humanity of Prince Hamlet himself which makes this tragedy foremost among all of the Great Bard's dramas. Good and evil exist in each soul; evil does not always lose, and good does not always win. Shakespeare understood this, and that is why this tragedy will always serve as a literary mirror in which careful readers can peer into the depths of their own souls.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 214 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

This product

Hamlet
Hamlet by William Shakespeare (Paperback - Sept. 24 1992)
CDN$ 4.75 CDN$ 3.75
In Stock
Add to cart Add to wishlist
Only search this product's reviews