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52 of 59 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Cheap, convenient edition of a masterpiece; bad notes.
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...
Published on 1 Feb. 2004 by Modern Viking

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars Shakespeare Wonderful As Always...
...However personally I didn't much like the layout and found it difficult to read with the translators notes at the back of the book.
It would definitely have been worth paying a little extra for a copy where the relevant notes were on the corresponding pages; so there wouldn't be a need to flip back and forth. The different speakers weren't as clearly separated as...
Published on 13 Mar. 2013 by Emilly Mann


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52 of 59 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Cheap, convenient edition of a masterpiece; bad notes., 1 Feb. 2004
By 
Modern Viking (Stockholm, Sweden) - See all my reviews
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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
5.0 out of 5 stars Easy does it, 19 July 2005
By 
bernie "xyzzy" (Arlington, Texas) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
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.
-------------------------------------------------------
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
5.0 out of 5 stars Best footnotes I've ever seen., 5 Dec. 1998
By A Customer
Very easy to follow and wonderfully simply explained textual footnotes make this a very user friendly Hamlet.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Danish existential angst..., 20 Mar. 2015
By 
John P. Jones III (Albuquerque, NM, USA) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Hamlet (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. 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.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Good ebook edition (review is of Kindle Penguin Classics version), 30 Dec. 2013
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This review is from: Hamlet (Kindle Edition)
I'd waited a while for these snappy little editions to be released on Kindle - the cover art's fun and, while we've all got a free Complete Works on our e-reader, it's much easier to pick individual volumes when you're reading on a slab. This review is of the Penguin Classics edition with "fun" covers first published around 2005 with ebooks later.

First, the formatting matters a LOT with plays, and Penguin gets it right. The line numbers are retained, with real page numbers if you want - essential for referencing.

Second, the text is linespaced much more generously than with most written texts. This makes the play far easier to read alone, or even if you're performing. A good choice by Penguin.

Third, although all 38 plays have been published in this format (like most males I like owning box sets!) they're not all easy to find on Amazon... small differences in their metadata ("author" is sometimes credited as editor rather than Shakespeare for example). This means that if you want a nice collection of 38 ebooks in your Shakespeare collection, you'll have to search very hard. Currently 7 plays of the 38 don't seem to be available in Kindle (while they are in paperback - for ref these are As you Like It, King John, Measure for Measure, Merchant of Venice, Othello, Tempest, Troilus & Cressida).

In addition, several more DO exist as Kindles but it's impossible to find them on Amazon; the "Kindle Version" often links to a freebie text from another publisher. (Hamlet, perhaps the most popular play, is one of these!) Perhaps a good one, but it won't quite look as good in your "box set". The solution here is to head to Penguin's site and get the ISBN, then search Amazon on that.

Of course, the play itself is brilliant - but you already knew that.
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5.0 out of 5 stars You will be absorbed into the story, 29 Aug. 2010
By 
bernie "xyzzy" (Arlington, Texas) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
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)
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5.0 out of 5 stars You will be absorbed into the story, 28 May 2010
By 
bernie "xyzzy" (Arlington, Texas) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
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)
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5.0 out of 5 stars It harrows me with fear and wonder, 17 May 2010
By 
EA Solinas "ea_solinas" (MD USA) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
"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.
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5.0 out of 5 stars You will be absorbed into the story, 28 Jun. 2005
By 
bernie "xyzzy" (Arlington, Texas) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Everyone Should Read It, 10 April 2009
By 
I. M. Knight (Huddersfield, England) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
I'm not going to delve into the plot, the characters, the themes, the philosophy and the atmosphere as I am no professor. It is enough to say that this is the best play, written by the greatest playwright of all time. Anyone who can read should have a go at this. More importantly go and watch a performance; it is a play after all, not a novel.
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Hamlet (Wordsworth Classics)
Hamlet (Wordsworth Classics) by William Shakespeare (Paperback - 5 May 1992)
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