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5.0 out of 5 stars I would bind myself in a nutshell and count myself a king of infinite space...
...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...
Published on March 10 2007 by Selena Elizabeth

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


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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.
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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 50 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.
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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 50 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.
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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 50 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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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5.0 out of 5 stars another view on Hamlet's tardiness, Dec 19 2002
By A Customer
This review is from: Hamlet (Mass Market Paperback)
Someone has probably thought of this but one reason Hamlet might delay killing the king is he is really conflicted about his feelings toward his dead father. Sure, he says a lot of fine things about him, but doesn't this raise a red flag? Isn't he maybe idealizing his pa? Hamlet, after all, is the only person who sings the king's praises. Some evidence in the play suggests that Hamlet Sr may not have been all his son cut him out to be. For example, if the ex-king was such a wise leader, then why did he have such a fool as Polonius for a counselor? And if he was such a good husband, then why did his loving wife fly so quickly into the arms of another man? And what about those sins that he mentions himself, the ones he's paying the price for by wondering the face of the earth in the night. Was Hamlet Sr really a great and virtuous man? And if he wasn't, then is it possible Hamlet Jr is secretly scornful of his dad? And is that perhaps the reason he doesn't take his revenge right away?
Just food for thought. Something else that bothered me about the play are Rosencrantz and Guildenstern. These two guys are supposed to be two close friends of Hamlet. Yet they're both dim-wits and total mercenaries. Just the opposite of what Hamlet is. What could Hamlet ever have seen in these two guys? It doesn't make sense. Something else that belies belief is Polonius. How is it that the king's chief counselor cannot suspect that Claudius had a hand in the king's death? This kind of thing was not unknown is those times and Polonius must have known the character of Claudius, not to mention his dalliances with the queen. How can someone who is so close to the crown not suspect something? His innocence is hard to believe.
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5.0 out of 5 stars To Be Or Not To Be: This Is The Hamlet To Own, Dec 15 2002
By 
This review is from: Hamlet (Mass Market Paperback)
The Folger Library series are your best Shakespeare source. They specialize in Shakespeares' greatest plays and are quality books that are perfect companion and translator to Shakespeare. It is loaded with page after page of translation from the Old English expressions that are no longer in use to our modern talk, and pictures as well as historic background information on th Elizabethan era and Shakespeares' life. Hamlet is without question Shakespeare's greatest tragedy, remaining in our theatrical culture to this very day. It has become a conversation piece for English professors, dramatists and screen actors (Mel Gibson tackled the role in 1991) and even psychologists, who claim that Hamlet had the Oedipal complex, especially when they read the scene in which Hamlet is in his mother's bedroom. What makes Hamlet so great ? Why does this old play still come alive when performed on the stage in the hands of the right actors ?
Shakespeare, believe it or not, was a people's person and knew about the human condition perhaps more than anyone in his day. Hamlet deals principally with obscession for revenge. Hamlet is a prince whose father has been murdered under the evil conspiracy from his uncle Claudius and even the support of his mother, Queen Gertrude. Depressed, wearing black all the time, and very much as solitary as any "Goth" would be in our day, Hamlet laments his situation, until his father's ghost appears and urges him to avenge his death. The mystery still remains, is this ghost real ? Is it, as many in Elizabetheans thought, a demon in disguise ? Or is it simply a figment of Hamlet's own emotions and desire for revenge. At any rate, Hamlet's father appears twice and Hamlet spends most of the play planning his revenge. His most striking line that reveals this consuming need is "The play's the thing, wherein I'll catch the conscience of the king!".
Pretending to be mad, he scorns even the love of the woman he genuinely loves, Ophelia, whose mind is shattered and heart is broken and who has an impressive mad scene. The deaths of Hamlet's friends, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, are also in Hamle'ts hands and a consequence of his revenge. The famous soliloquy in the play, is of course, "To be or not to be", taken on by such great actors as Lawrence Olivier and Orson Welles. Hamlet muses on the brevity of life and the suffering which can only cease through death, as he holds a skull and is evidently suicidal. Finally, the last scenes are the most dramatic. Hamlet duels with Laertes, Ophelia's brother, and with Claudius himself. The deaths of the main cast, including the Queen, goes to show how tragic the human desire for greed and revenge is.
This is Shakespeare's finest tragedy, and quality drama, best seen in a live stage performance, but that also works as a film. As for this book, as I said before, this is the Hamlet to have. You will become more acquianted with Hamlet and Shakespeare even more than taking a year's course with a teacher. This book itself is the teacher.
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4.0 out of 5 stars folly of youth, Dec 14 2002
By A Customer
This review is from: Hamlet (Mass Market Paperback)
Like another reviewer wrote, Hamlet is a tragedy of youth, but it isn't the tragedy of lost innocence, it's a tragedy of youthful rashness. Yes, I said rashness. Hamlet doesn't think too much, he thinks too rashly, too hastily, without mature consideration. Just because his mother is a whore he quickly concludes that all women therefore must be whores. This is why he torments Ophelia and bids her, "get thee to a nunnery". This is why he decries, "woman, thy name weakness". This is why he's despondent and unable to respond to his father's injunctions.
There are plenty of examples in the play of this youthful recklessness. Laertes, when he learns of his father's death, immediately rushes back to Denmark and assembles an army to exact revenge. Fortinbras does the same thing in order to retake the land his father lost to Hamlet's father. Both are checked in their youthful exuberance by their respective kings. Polonius' advice to his son is nothing but words of caution against youthful excesses (drink, women, gambling). Polonius' advice to his daughter is nothing but strictures against falling hopelessly in love with Hamlet. The little dialogue between Hamlet and Rosencrantz about the state of theater in London is about how a wild and vociferous younger generation of actors have sabotaged the stage and are holding the older generation at bay.
Hamlet himself exhibits other rash behavior. When he sees Ophelia's funeral procession and hears Laertes' expressions of grief, he (Hamlet), regardless of the danger he throws himself in, he recklessly jumps into the procession and proclaims HIS love above the brother's. When Hamlet first sees the ghost he doesn't think to question whether the apparition is authentic. He believes it instinctively. It only occurs to him much later that he may have been the dupe of an evil spirit. When he discovers someone eavesdropping on his talk with his mother, he immediately kills him without even looking to see who it is. When the king invites Hamlet to fence with Laertes for a stake, he rashly throws caution to the wind and cavalierly accepts the offer.
Cases of this youthful impulsiveness are legion in the play and wherever it goes unchecked, tragedy ennsues. Not just Hamlet's death, but also Laerte's deception by the king, and Ophelia's suicide. Fortinbras alone comes out unscathed, and only because he accepted the wise counsel of the king of Norway.
So Hamlet can be seen as a play about the folly of youth. Issues about the evil in human nature are raised, but these are not the central themes. In fact, the play lacks a certain unity of design because there is a big difference between the rashness of youth, which is not an evil, and fratricide and incest, which are. There's a big incongruity between the central and secondary themes. For this reason I give Hamlet less than five stars.
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Hamlet
Hamlet by William Shakespeare (Paperback - Sept. 24 1992)
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