7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
This review is from: Hamlet (The RSC Shakespeare) (Paperback)
I'm one of those people afraid of Shakespeare - partly because English is not my first language and partly because my English teacher at high school had us skip most of it. However in recent months, references to 'Hamlet' have been cropping up all around me - from David Foster Wallace's novel 'Infinite Jest' to TV show 'Sons of Anarchy' - so I decided to bite the bullet and read Hamlet.
I agonised over what edition to pick because I wanted something 'idiot proof', with notes, explanations and summaries so that I could actually understand what I was reading. I eventually settled on the RSC edition and I'm really glad that I did. It's very well laid out, without being specifically targeted at A Level students (which for some reason I tend to find offputting).
- It has a great overall introduction which goes into some detail about the various versions of the play;
- List of characters;
- The play itself has footnotes throughout;
- Summary for each scene
- Chapter about Shakespeare and Elizabethan theatre
- History of the many 'Hamlets' who played the lead character over the centuries;
- Q&A with major theatre directors.
I thought I'd struggle with the play, but I actually found myself not needing to read all the footnotes - although it was great to know that they were there.
One small tip: keep some post-it notes handy so that you can easily flick back and forth to the characters list, scene summary and main body of the play.
I'll definitely buy an RSC edition of a Shakespeare play again - maybe the next one will be Macbeth!