To commemorate in my own small way the 400th anniversary of the Bard's death, I decided to read Hamlet for the first time in my life. While one of his greatest plays, I don't enjoy this as much as Macbeth or Romeo and Juliet, which I studied at school and have enjoyed also in adulthood. There are some amazing scenes, though, and the flow of phrases which have entered the English language from this play alone comes thick and fast.
on 19 October 2012
This latest three-text edition from Arden is superb. It is the result of many years academic work since the previous, second series: accordingly the introductory material is about as complete as it could be and the "final" text has the fullest annotation possible. This is the new standard "Hamlet". Be warned, though, that you might be tempted to buy the companion volume of the other quartos, well worth having.
on 19 March 2010
Great for people studying this play at A level, it contains meanings of shakespearian words and how the event on each page effects the overall plot. In addition it states how different scenes have been interpretated over the years, which is part of the arguement I need to write about in my exam :) Good size font and easy to read, I recomend buying this copy of hamlet over other editions
... 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. Ophelia, the young woman who Hamlet may have loved, has become a symbol for troubled young women, and she has lent her name to the title to a book or two. And there were some very famous women who followed her path, such as Virginia Woolf. I also know a few very real Danes, but they are far from angst-ridden.
The most famous soliloquy, "To Be...," I mentioned earlier. It has been decades since I thought of that famous contemplation of death: "Alas, poor Yorick!- I knew him well..." Also, for decades, I've made references to getting something done "before we shake off this mortal coil" thinking it was probably somewhere in the Bible - but it turns out it was from Hamlet. And I thought Ben Franklin had said: "Neither a borrower or a lender be," so I was surprised to also find it in Hamlet. And then there were those I hadn't remembered or attributed, correctly or not, such as: "What is a man, If his chief good and market of his time Be but to sleep and feed? A beast, no more..."
Overall, the re-read was a great experience. And it is now so easy to download the plays, one at a time, for under a buck, unto the Kindle. I've set myself a goal of trying to read one a month, starting with the re-reads of the major tragedies, and then on to some of the comedies and histories which I had not read before. For Hamlet, 5-stars.
on 17 June 2012
The notes are much more sparse in this copy than many 'student' styled editions, but they are insightful and to a higher depth of perception than many equivalent copies. As a cheap copy, it is hard to look beyond this one, which contains enough new insight added to the complete text. A fine, cheap copy of the masterpiece.
on 27 March 2013
Who doesn't like Shakespeare? Love, love love Hamlet. And thanks to my teachers and lecturers I am now an expert in Hamlet, but you can never have perfect understanding when of Shakespeare's plays, there's always more to learn every time you re-read his plays, which is the great thing about them.
on 3 April 2013
This is only the play text. The product description implies that this Kindle Edition is suitable for a more detailed look at the play, because of its concise annotated text, making a must for A level study, sorry but it is not,, you might just as well download the free version.
on 26 February 2013
I found this version of Hamlet incredibly useful as it contained a scene by scene summary for those having difficulty comprehending the Shakespearian language, as well as a glossary, contextual notes and key quotes and points to refer to, perfect for anyone who, like me, is studying this play.