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Hamlet (The New Penguin Shakespeare) Mass Market Paperback – 28 Aug 1980

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Product details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin; Revised edition edition (28 Aug. 1980)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140707344
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140707342
  • Product Dimensions: 15.3 x 1.9 x 18 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (91 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 677,526 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Amazon Review

Undoubtedly the most famous of all of Shakespeare's plays, Hamlet remains one of the most enduring but also enigmatic pieces of western literature. The story of Hamlet, the young Prince of Denmark, his tortured relationship with his mother, and his quest to avenge his father's murder at the hand of his brother Claudius has fascinated writers and audiences ever since it was written around 1600.

For many years interest focused on both Hamlet's inability to avenge his father's death, claiming that "the native hue of resolution / Is sicklied o'er with the pale cast of thought", and, according to none other than Freud, his oedipal fixation with his mother. However, more recently critics have turned their attention to Hamlet's bold theatrical self-reflexivity (most famously reflected in the performance of "The Mousetrap"), its fascination with issues of theology and Renaissance humanism, and its dense, complex poetic language. What is so remarkable about the play is the way in which it tends to uncannily reflect the concerns of different epochs. As a result, Hamlet has been at different moments defined as a romantic rebel, an angst-ridden existentialist, a paralysed intellectual and an ambivalent New Man. Whatever subsequent generations make of Hamlet, they are unlikely to exhaust the possibilities of this most extraordinary play. --Jerry Brotton

Review

Praise for "William Shakespeare: Complete Works: " A feast of literary and historical information. "-The Wall Street Journal"" --This text refers to an alternate Mass Market Paperback edition.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

52 of 59 people found the following review helpful By Modern Viking on 1 Feb. 2004
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Obviously, Shakespeare's Hamlet is a masterpiece, so my review is aimed solely at the Penguin Popular Classics edition edited by GB Harrison (ISBN 0140620583). If you're looking for a cheap, pocket-sized edition of Hamlet, this is the one to go for. If you're looking for good notes, this edition is to be avoided. The notes are sometimes interesting, but often they either explain things that are very obvious, or are actually plain wrong.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By bernie VINE VOICE on 19 July 2005
Format: Paperback
Hamlet (Shakespeare Made Easy) places English beside English for those that need a translation from English to English. If this is read or acted out loud the translation would be superfluous. There is nothing wrong with a starting place but reading is not the way.
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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 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 that was intended to be watched but reads well.
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 5 Dec. 1998
Format: Paperback
Very easy to follow and wonderfully simply explained textual footnotes make this a very user friendly Hamlet.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Sensational. This is seriously challenging The Tempest to be my most favourite play and story of all time. It should be compulsory reading for all of humanity.

Hamlet is the tale of a young and lonely Prince struggling with the grief of his father’s death, “O God, God, / How weary, stale, flat, and unprofitable / Seem to me all the uses of this world!” The premise of the play is grief, and its initial themes are bereavement and loss. I think this is the reason for its unwavering popularity and why it has only become more of an object of fascination over the centuries. The dark seductions of death are irresistible, especially when set against a backdrop of despair. It is in our nature to be drawn to the most fundamental of human fears, the eternal question of the “undiscovered country”, what lies after death.

But when the ghost of Hamlet’s father appears, the play expands to encompass not only loss, but murder, suicide, jealousy and vengeance. From the most famous speech of all time, “to be or not to be”, to the most famous image of all time, Hamlet in the graveyard with the nameless skulls, the play channels our most passionate emotions and forces us to consider the nature of death, the very conscience itself, and the consequences of unbridled vengeance. Shakespeare wrote it at the time of a great tragedy in his life, the death of his 11 year old son, Hamnet, and the intensity of the play is partly due to this familiarity with the graveyard and with burying one’s brightest hopes.

Hamlet struggles with the concept of the afterlife throughout the play, and it becomes something that tortures him incessantly. He is constantly held back from rash action by his conscience, by his morality, and the more this makes us like him, the more it makes him loathe himself.
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By John P. Jones III TOP 500 REVIEWER on 20 Mar. 2015
Format: Kindle Edition
... which is best summarized in the pithy formulation that is a principal "takeaway" from this classic Shakespearean play: "To be or not to be, that is the question." Indeed, it is a gloomy play, with more than one character wondering if life is really worth it. The play commences with a ghost, who is Hamlet's father, who has returned to haunt the living, since he was murdered - by his brother, who is now the King. Furthermore, the reader learns early on, the wife of the now dead King quickly marries the new King; no "decent interval" required. And yes, she is the mother of Hamlet. That's the setup; Cliff Notes, as it has for generations of students, can walk you through the rest of the plot. I'll only add that not many of the principals are left standing at the end.

And like those aforementioned generations of students, I was once one myself, though now I am "way past school." And like the vast majority of students, those Shakespearean school reading assignments rather perversely instilled a desire never to read Shakespeare again. At a very real level, one is just too young in high school to "get it." And the "stilted" language of the English of the Middle Ages only makes it harder. Perhaps the only way to instill a desire to read him in school would be to forbid it.

I've been re-reading a number of works that I had to read in school, to see how the work and my perception of it have aged. "Hamlet" is a re-read. Now I've been able to observe, over several decades, the "craziness" that seems to come to people with power, as well as those who desire it. I now have known those who have died, and might call out for vengeance from beyond the grave. And I have observed the angst and indecisiveness in others, as so well depicted in the character of Hamlet.
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