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30 review for Hamlet (Annotated): Prince of Denmark (The Penguin English Library)

  1. 5 out of 5

    Shaun

    In the century since this renowned work by the legendary William Shakespeare was written, it has also been regarded by critics, scholars, and theater professionals alike as one of the greatest plays ever written. Praised and studied for its psychological accuracy and complexity, the essential story is simple, if perhaps excessively violent – a young man, urged to revenge the murder of his father, delays taking action. Several other deaths result, and the young man loses his own life in a battle In the century since this renowned work by the legendary William Shakespeare was written, it has also been regarded by critics, scholars, and theater professionals alike as one of the greatest plays ever written. Praised and studied for its psychological accuracy and complexity, the essential story is simple, if perhaps excessively violent – a young man, urged to revenge the murder of his father, delays taking action. Several other deaths result, and the young man loses his own life in a battle with another more active, determined and vengeful young man. It is the play’s contemplation and portrayal of the living characters and decisive state of mine combined with other thematic considerations relating to human corruptibility and the transitory nature of physical life that give the play its timeless greatness. Dangers of Indecision The dangers of indecision is the narrative‘s primary theme and the issue at the core of both the main narrative line and the journey of transformation undertaken by the central character, Hamlet, a journey that simultaneously both motivates him and defines that narrative. The thoughtful and introspective prince is given a mission by the Ghost of his murdered father and, at first, fully intends to complete it. But as time passes and circumstances conspire to trigger in Hamlet more thought (his natural inclination) than action, his inability to follow through on his purpose leads to moral self-corruption, to the point where he behaves badly and destructively as those whose behavior he initially condemns. Eventually, inaction and indecision lead to a physical destruction that echoes the moral destruction that has gone before. It could be argued that taking impulsive action is just as self-destructive. Characters who do so seem to end up dead, or mad or both. This is certainly true of Laertes, Claudius, and Polonius, probably true of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, whose decision to side with Claudius doesn’t seem to of have been considered to any degree at all, and possibly true of Gertrude and Ophelia. The two women seem to take action based on their desires to accommodate the stronger wills and impulses of the dominant men in their lives – – in Gertrude’s case of Claudius, and Ophelia’s case of Polonius. Ultimately, though, the work’s consideration of the dangers of indecision has to be considered more significant, simply because none of the characters whose lives are destroyed by decision rather than indecision are portrayed as starting from such a clearly defined place of moral integrity like Hamlet. In this context, then, the real danger of indecision can’t be seen as emerging from the processes of thinking and feeling that give rise to a decision. The real issue, it seems, is finding the balance between consideration, moral integrity and action, a balance that none of the main characters, with the exception of Horatio seem able to find. The Transitory Nature of Physical Life Thematically, consideration of the transitory nature of physical life becomes overt relatively late in the narrative, manifesting as it does in the conversation of the Gravediggers and in the conversation Hamlet has with the Second Gravedigger in particular. Their words, their ideas, and their actions suggest an understanding of an insight into the circumstances of life is evolution into the “great equalizer” called death, and of what relatively little lasting value and/or worth the body has. In other words, they know that the physical life is only a passing thing, a temporary event or circumstance. Hamlet, as the result of the conversation with the Gravediggers, seems to come to a new awareness and acceptance of this fact, which perhaps explains why he doesn’t appear to resist or grieve all that much when he discovers he has been poisoned. As the result of his conversation with the Gravediggers, which itself is a reiteration of several thematically relevant incidents throughout the play, Hamlet has come to know and understand that, to quote another Shakespearean play (“Macbeth”), “man is but a walking shadow, a poor player that struts and frets his hour upon the stage and then is heard no more.” The “thematically relevant” incidence referred to above are those incidents, during the play and before, in which human life is portrayed as disposable, or at the very least easy to bring to an end. Examples include the death of Hamlet’s father – Claudius disposes of his life in order to take his power, and it presumably, his queen - and the sudden death of Polonius in the drowning of Ophelia – – both are accidents and both suggest that the life so cherished by so many can disappear in an instant. Other examples include the callous, dismissive plans made by Claudius, and later by Hamlet, to dispose of Hamlet and Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, respectively. Both Hamlet and Claudius essentially see the characters they intend to have killed as disposable, meaning that they value human life, or at least those particular lives, as transitory. Integrity vs. Corruptibility The tension between these two states of being is a driving force with many of the characters in relationships in the play. To begin with, the protagonist, Hamlet is viewed by many of the characters, at least at the beginning of the play, as being a prince of both intelligence and integrity. He sees himself in a similar light, judging the actions of others, particularly his mother, by his personal standard of what is morally correct. Also in these early phases of the narrative, Hamlet’s integrity is vividly contrasted with the lack of integrity (i.e., moral corruptibility) in Claudius, Gertrude, and Polonius. A similar high standard of integrity is evident in Laertes, although he veers dangerously close to being judgmental. Over the course of the narrative, however, as Hamlet drifts further and further from his purpose (revenge), he also drifts further from the moral integrity that made him believe that such revenge was both appropriate and morally correct. In other words, his moral and personal integrity become compromised the further involved he becomes in actions and attitudes similar to those practiced by the corrupt people around him who, by the middle of the play, include in their number Rosencrantz and Guildenstern. Eventually, the most corrupt characters in the play, those whose integrity has been most thoroughly compromised, end up dead - Claudius, Gertrude, Polonius, Hamlet, Laertes (corrupted by his willingness to go along with Claudius is desperate plot to protect himself and his reputation from Hamlet’s madness) and the poor Ophelia. She, the gentlest and most well-meaning character in the play, allows the integrity of her love for Hamlet to being manipulated and ultimately destroyed by her father. By contrast the touchstone of integrity throughout the narrative is Horatio, who behaves with honesty, consistency of purpose, and unshakable loyalty right from his first appearance. This particular edition of “Hamlet” garnered a higher level of appreciation and understanding by this reader and that ain’t all bad considering this is the third time I read this play. My prior forays into this play left me going “huh?” Yes, ‘tis a great life with “good reads” and folks like you in it!

  2. 4 out of 5

    Lisa Elis

    ahhh nobody beats shakespeare. this play is so dang deep, I don't even understand how it's possible... really enjoyed studying it for lit! wish I could have studied shakespeare every year starting from grade 6 but unfortunately they only begin at grade 10 like WHY ahhh nobody beats shakespeare. this play is so dang deep, I don't even understand how it's possible... really enjoyed studying it for lit! wish I could have studied shakespeare every year starting from grade 6 but unfortunately they only begin at grade 10 like WHY

  3. 4 out of 5

    sage elizabeth

    first Shakespeare and I loved it!

  4. 4 out of 5

    gray

    If thou didst ever hold me in thy heart Absent thee from felicity a while, And in this harsh world draw thy breath in pain To tell my story. ah... this quote does pull at my heartstrings. on his deathbed, hamlet implores horatio not to drink poison and die alongside him. there is a selfish reason behind that, after all after being wronged for so many times, hamlet needs to have his story told, but i love this quote because what is hamlet but a play about grief and suicide ideation? grieving is a If thou didst ever hold me in thy heart Absent thee from felicity a while, And in this harsh world draw thy breath in pain To tell my story. ah... this quote does pull at my heartstrings. on his deathbed, hamlet implores horatio not to drink poison and die alongside him. there is a selfish reason behind that, after all after being wronged for so many times, hamlet needs to have his story told, but i love this quote because what is hamlet but a play about grief and suicide ideation? grieving is a constant battle not to succumb to the overwhelming pain. "absent thee from felicity a while," indeed, "and in this harsh world draw thy breath in pain." because yes, it will hurt. but please, endure all the hurt and tell our story. after all "dead doesn't mean gone." hamlet has always been very special to me since the first time i read it, and it hurts me to see how alienated from everyone around him the protagonist is. he's alone in his suffering. not even horatio can understand him most times because hamlet cannot articulate his experience himself. and how can anyone understand him? he's grieving, his father's ghost tells him he's in purgatory because he was murdered and hasn't been avenged so he needs hamlet to murder the KING, whom, in the 16th century, was believed to be god sent, so he can finally rest. hello?!? he was just a kid who had just been through trauma! (shakespeare was insane no way he's thirty fuck off bitch and stay dead love you tho!) There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio Than are dreamt of in your philosophy. i can relate so hard to hamlet not only because when i first read this play i had recently lost my mother, so i knew and felt his pain, but also because what haunts him is the essence of human existence, as gertrude so eloquently puts it, “Thou know'st 'tis common, all that lives must die, / Passing through nature to eternity.” all that lives will die and will become nothing more than dust. however, hamlet’s despair also comes from inferring that life is meaningless: “We fat all creatures else to fat us, and we fat ourselves for maggots.” for hamlet, both life and death are equally contemptible. there is no place for him anywhere. in short, life is miserable and meaningless but life is made of choices and actions and who makes them and are responsible for them are us. “Imperious Caesar, dead and turned to clay, Might stop a hole to keep the wind away. Oh, that that earth, which kept the world in awe, Should patch a wall t' expel the winter’s flaw!”

  5. 5 out of 5

    Mary

    It was okay. Had to read it for school. Pretty good for a school book, but still not something I would read just for fun.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Nick Jones

    Amanda is teaching Hamlet next year, so she read it out loud in the car on our recent vacation. I loved reading it last year; loved hearing it this year.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Ella

    *7/10(3.5/5) Summary: A prince named Hamlet who has a witty sense of humor and who cannot move past the death of his father is the main character of this book. Hamlet's mother wed Hamlet's uncle only days after his fathers funeral which makes them the bad guys in Hamlet's eyes. One night, the ghost of Hamlets father appears and informs him about the true cause of his death. My thoughts: I found Hamlet's sense of humor quite entertaining to read. The plot twists (while slightly predictable), someho *7/10(3.5/5) Summary: A prince named Hamlet who has a witty sense of humor and who cannot move past the death of his father is the main character of this book. Hamlet's mother wed Hamlet's uncle only days after his fathers funeral which makes them the bad guys in Hamlet's eyes. One night, the ghost of Hamlets father appears and informs him about the true cause of his death. My thoughts: I found Hamlet's sense of humor quite entertaining to read. The plot twists (while slightly predictable), somehow still had a slight shock factor. I wouldn't recommend this as someones first Shakespeare story. I also wouldn't recommend it if you are reading this expecting for it to follow the ghost who only shows up 2/3 times without many lines at the very beginning. I would say if you enjoy political classics, family betrayal, classics with refrences to mental health, or are just a Shakespeare fan, then this is the book for you :))

  8. 5 out of 5

    Donald Powell

    I love the "No Fear Shakespeare". Having read this play several times I did not have a good understanding until reading the current language version in this little book. One can see how Shakespeare has guided so much literature and story telling with his works. A true tragedy with profound comments about life, love, duty, avarice, greed, lust, envy, and much more. Having the old English and the current interpretation side by side was a genius move. Thank you SparkNotes. I love the "No Fear Shakespeare". Having read this play several times I did not have a good understanding until reading the current language version in this little book. One can see how Shakespeare has guided so much literature and story telling with his works. A true tragedy with profound comments about life, love, duty, avarice, greed, lust, envy, and much more. Having the old English and the current interpretation side by side was a genius move. Thank you SparkNotes.

  9. 5 out of 5

    nad

    shakespeare is my main man what can i say. there's lots of homoerotic undertones and horatio/hamlet are a gay ship™. also hamlet invented being emo and goth and no one can tell me otherwise. i liked the ending, very uplifting and inspiring 4/5 stars shakespeare is my main man what can i say. there's lots of homoerotic undertones and horatio/hamlet are a gay ship™. also hamlet invented being emo and goth and no one can tell me otherwise. i liked the ending, very uplifting and inspiring 4/5 stars

  10. 5 out of 5

    Bill FromPA

    After all that’s been written and said about the play, it’s probably impossible for anyone to come up with anything original and reasonable to say about Hamlet. That said, the following ideas derive mainly from my reading of the text; I’m not aware of any general or specific interpretations quite like this, though I suspect the ideas have likely been previously suggested by others. I see similarities between Hamlet and Prince Hal in the Henry IV plays. As Hal is seen as being divided between two After all that’s been written and said about the play, it’s probably impossible for anyone to come up with anything original and reasonable to say about Hamlet. That said, the following ideas derive mainly from my reading of the text; I’m not aware of any general or specific interpretations quite like this, though I suspect the ideas have likely been previously suggested by others. I see similarities between Hamlet and Prince Hal in the Henry IV plays. As Hal is seen as being divided between two father figures, King Henry and Falstaff, so Hamlet is torn between modeling himself on his father and his admired friend Horatio. In both plays, too, the spiritual heir of the king appears to fall outside the direct bloodline with Hotspur and Fortinbras. Old Hamlet was a warlord, a man of violent action; he took “arms against a sea of troubles”: where the world did not conform to his will, he attempted to shape it to his will be physical force. Horatio is “a scholar”, a man of thought and understanding, an advocate, like Brutus, of stoicism; he masters his own will in order to live with equanimity in the world as it is. He is the man who “could be bounded in a nutshell and count myself a king of infinite space” (a line only in the Folio text). Old Hamlet wished to master the world, or at least as much of it as came within reach of his truncheon; Horatio seeks to master only himself. The question of the extent to which Hamlet identifies with Horatio is highlighted by a difference between the Second Quarto (Q2) and Folio (F) versions of one of the play’s most famous lines. Q2 has:There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, Than are dreamt of in your philosophy.The same passage in F is: There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, Than are dreamt of in our philosophy. A note to the Arden Shakespeare suggests that “your” in Q2 may not in fact refer to Horatio, but be a generic term of address, as in the gravedigger’s “your water is a sore decayer of your whoreson dead body.” Given the direct address to his friend, however, I don’t find this interpretation persuasive. In Act 5 Hamlet, after the abortive trip to England on which he has subverted the King’s plot against his life and dealt with pirates, seems, with his praise of “rashness”, to have chosen his father as his model, determining to act on his will as opportunity offers. The psychological foundation for this resolution is found before his journey, however, in Q2’s Act 4 soliloquy, “How all occasions do inform against me”. Hamlet’s wrestling with the idea of suicide may be a result of his exposure to Horatio’s “philosophy”, but I have quite a problem coming to terms with Horatio’s own brief, but apparently sincere, resolution to commit suicide with the dregs of the King’s poison after the general slaughter in Act 5 (“I am more an antique Roman than a Dane. / Here’s yet some liquor left.”) It seems totally unjustified, and not at all in character for someone described “As one in suffering all that suffers nothing, / A man that Fortune’s buffets and rewards / Hast ta’en with equal thanks.” Unless the relationship between Hamlet and Horatio is much deeper than I understood it, or than I can recall ever seeing it portrayed, I just cannot understand why Horatio should consider suicide at this point. His only other allusion to suicide is in Act 1 of Q2, where he seems to consider it a mental aberration, “toys of desperation”, in warning Hamlet what might happen if he follows the ghost What if it tempt you toward the flood, my lord, Or to the dreadful summit of the cliff That beetles o'er his base into the sea, And there assume some other horrible form Which might deprive your sovereignty of reason And draw you into madness? Think of it: The very place puts toys of desperation, Without more motive, into every brain That looks so many fathoms to the sea And hears it roar beneath. On this reading I came to see Horatio as an important character in the play. Dramatically, he is Hamlet’s only trusted confidant, thus giving the occasion for some exposition and revelation of the prince’s character outside the soliloquies. He also seems to be the representative of the Renaissance in the medieval Danish court, thus the source, if not the enactor, of ideas destabilizing to the established order. The Arden Shakespeare includes an appendix on the doubling of roles in the play, where they find that the three roles that cannot be doubled, except in very trivial ways, are Hamlet (no surprise), the Queen, and Horatio. The revealed importance of the last role seems to have surprised the editors themselves. It may be worth quoting in full Hamlet’s praise of his friend from act 3: HAMLET Horatio, thou art e’en as just a man As e’er my conversation coped withal. HORATIO O, my dear lord— HAMLET Nay, do not think I flatter, For what advancement may I hope from thee That no revenue hast but thy good spirits To feed and clothe thee? Why should the poor be flattered? No, let the candied tongue lick absurd pomp And crook the pregnant hinges of the knee Where thrift may follow fawning. Dost thou hear? Since my dear soul was mistress of her choice And could of men distinguish, her election Hath sealed thee for herself. For thou hast been As one in suffering all that suffers nothing, A man that Fortune’s buffets and rewards Hast ta’en with equal thanks; and blessed are those Whose blood and judgment are so well commeddled That they are not a pipe for Fortune’s finger To sound what stop she please. Give me that man That is not passion’s slave, and I will wear him In my heart’s core, ay, in my heart of heart, As I do thee. The contrast with his interactions with Rosencrantz and Guildenstern is interesting; in both cases, Hamlet mentions their relationship to Fortune. The only conjecture I have about Horatio’s suicidal impulse in the last act is to imagine that he is, in fact, in love with Hamlet and finds the thought of life without him unbearable. The suicidal gesture comes before Hamlet has given his “dying voice” to Fortinbras as the next monarch, so I can’t say it’s the prospect of the new regime that inspires it, though it could be argued that the Norwegian prince is the likely candidate even before Hamlet’s endorsement. Q1 12/14

  11. 4 out of 5

    SusanwithaGoodBook

    After finishing the Sonnets I've decided to work my way through the rest of Shakespeare's works. Some I've read before, but it's been many years. Hamlet is first up on the list as one everyone should know. It really is great with several wonderful, memorable lines. I also watched the David Tennant movie which is a wonderful adaptation, but not exactly word-for-word accurate as you discover when you read along. It really is amazing, though. After finishing the Sonnets I've decided to work my way through the rest of Shakespeare's works. Some I've read before, but it's been many years. Hamlet is first up on the list as one everyone should know. It really is great with several wonderful, memorable lines. I also watched the David Tennant movie which is a wonderful adaptation, but not exactly word-for-word accurate as you discover when you read along. It really is amazing, though.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Bruce Mcgregor

    This was on my bucket list. Now I understand why actors like to play Hamlet he gets all the good lines and has a lot of different emotions. This version was helpful because it includes an updated translation so you can get the original Shakespeare and some modern English if you need it. The problem with reading Hamlet though is that is was made to be heard and watched but we are so far removed from his century it is good to do both. The ending was a surprise.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Ammie

    I can see why it is considered by some as his best work. It is tragic and haunting and brilliant.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Syd Carp

    Shakespeare's Hamlet was definitely an interesting story. One that I probably wouldn't read again unless for school tbh. I did like it, don't get me wrong, but I read it once and that's enough 4 now. This No Fear edition made it a lot easier to understand too. Recommended ages 14 & up. Shakespeare's Hamlet was definitely an interesting story. One that I probably wouldn't read again unless for school tbh. I did like it, don't get me wrong, but I read it once and that's enough 4 now. This No Fear edition made it a lot easier to understand too. Recommended ages 14 & up.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Jillian Childs

    Though I haven't read all or even a lot of Shakespeare's works, I can definitely understand why this is considered to be his greatest. Hamlet is by far one of the most complicated, fascinating, and well-developed characters I've read. Though I haven't read all or even a lot of Shakespeare's works, I can definitely understand why this is considered to be his greatest. Hamlet is by far one of the most complicated, fascinating, and well-developed characters I've read.

  16. 4 out of 5

    kenzie

    act five scene two osric: hello! welcome back! hamlet: aww, thanks! (aside to horatio) do you know this insect also act one scene two hamlet: thrift, thrift, horatio!

  17. 4 out of 5

    Mads Steiner Nielsen

    This truly is a classic. It is 420 years old and yet it doesn't feel dusty or outdated. The characters doesn't act stiff or "scripted" as you would expect from old theater. The entire play is beautifully written, littered with memorable one-liners. It's filled to the brim with action, twists and turn, and the graveyard scene is centuries ahead of it's time. In short: This marks the birth of modern literature. The story, the motives of the characters and the dialog points towards the new way to wr This truly is a classic. It is 420 years old and yet it doesn't feel dusty or outdated. The characters doesn't act stiff or "scripted" as you would expect from old theater. The entire play is beautifully written, littered with memorable one-liners. It's filled to the brim with action, twists and turn, and the graveyard scene is centuries ahead of it's time. In short: This marks the birth of modern literature. The story, the motives of the characters and the dialog points towards the new way to write literature, and still today this is awesome. Do yourself a favor and give this your attention. Read the old language and delve into it, you'll be the richer for it.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Kyogo

    Even though it is an undeniable classic of Shakespeare, Hamlet can still impact greatly in this modern age. In Denmark, the prince, Hamlet, is told by a ghost that resembles his dead father, that he was killed by Hamlet’s uncle who took his father's place. With silent rage, Hamlet starts plot for revenge. This plot leads him and his surrounding ongoing dramatic events entangling and complicated relationships as things end up as a chaotic mess ruining whoever’s life that gets involved. Revenge is Even though it is an undeniable classic of Shakespeare, Hamlet can still impact greatly in this modern age. In Denmark, the prince, Hamlet, is told by a ghost that resembles his dead father, that he was killed by Hamlet’s uncle who took his father's place. With silent rage, Hamlet starts plot for revenge. This plot leads him and his surrounding ongoing dramatic events entangling and complicated relationships as things end up as a chaotic mess ruining whoever’s life that gets involved. Revenge is such an easy way to keep someone’s motivation to live and yet it can be the most gruesome.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Nat

    In Act V, scene ii, after Hamlet has scored two points against Laertes in the fencing match (before it gets ugly), Gertrude notices that Hamlet is out breath and says that he's "fat". The accompanying notes say that commentators have tried to explain that remark away in a variety of ways, because, it seems, no one is comfortable with the idea of a fat Hamlet. But I like that idea. In Act V, scene ii, after Hamlet has scored two points against Laertes in the fencing match (before it gets ugly), Gertrude notices that Hamlet is out breath and says that he's "fat". The accompanying notes say that commentators have tried to explain that remark away in a variety of ways, because, it seems, no one is comfortable with the idea of a fat Hamlet. But I like that idea.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Michelle

    Since I didn't have an English teacher to guide me through it, I used this version along with two other resources to help me through my Hamlet experience. I also listened to some actors portraying the work via audiobook (Unabridged fully dramatized vesrsion from the Folger Shakespeare Library - I highly recommend it) and also a commentary podcast by Oxford lecturer Emma Smith (https://podcasts.ox.ac.uk/hamlet), which was fantastic. It was great to have this book so I could read and listen to the Since I didn't have an English teacher to guide me through it, I used this version along with two other resources to help me through my Hamlet experience. I also listened to some actors portraying the work via audiobook (Unabridged fully dramatized vesrsion from the Folger Shakespeare Library - I highly recommend it) and also a commentary podcast by Oxford lecturer Emma Smith (https://podcasts.ox.ac.uk/hamlet), which was fantastic. It was great to have this book so I could read and listen to the original text, as well as the commentary, then so conveniently jump over to check a passage in modern English for clarification. I am still really enjoying that when my mind starts to wander and reflects on various parts of the story. It's really great to keep on my shelf for that. I ended up showing it to an employee at Kronborg Castle. He was impressed and told me he wished he could have had a copy when he was in school. I think it's a great resource -- clear, thorough, and easy to understand. For what it is and what it was intended to be, I think it's excellent, and an important tool for people trying to become acquainted with great literature.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Cheyenne

    First voluntary Shakespeare, and despite the difficulty of the style, I quite enjoyed it. The contemporary translation sometimes didn’t make sense in specificities, but generally it was fine. I only read it for the plot and to get a general grasp on Shakespeare, but I think it warrants a reread for a more analytical view. I was just mostly pleased with myself if I didn’t need the comtemp. translation. Hamlet has some very juicy monologues that I loved (for want of a better word) dissecting. The First voluntary Shakespeare, and despite the difficulty of the style, I quite enjoyed it. The contemporary translation sometimes didn’t make sense in specificities, but generally it was fine. I only read it for the plot and to get a general grasp on Shakespeare, but I think it warrants a reread for a more analytical view. I was just mostly pleased with myself if I didn’t need the comtemp. translation. Hamlet has some very juicy monologues that I loved (for want of a better word) dissecting. The fourth and fifth acts were such a whirlwind that it reminds me of some scene in Shakespeare in Love when he’s bullshitting an ending for a play he’s writing. Not sure if that happened in the movie or if it’s what happened here, just what I feel. It almost made the tragedies in the end comedic, especially when Gertrude says “fuck u I’ll drink if I want.” Is it supposed to be like this? What say you?

  22. 5 out of 5

    Stephen

    I give it 3 stars. It's fun reading one of the oldest plays still performed, and by Shakespeare. It has given us so many great well-known lines (e.g. to be or not to be). The importance of the play in the history of plays and in Shakespeare's canon scores points with me; I also love that in Shakespeare there are few happy endings, so the killing of one's uncle who killed his brother, the King of Denmark, Hamlet's father, to marry the Queen, who was poisoned by accidently drinking poison intended I give it 3 stars. It's fun reading one of the oldest plays still performed, and by Shakespeare. It has given us so many great well-known lines (e.g. to be or not to be). The importance of the play in the history of plays and in Shakespeare's canon scores points with me; I also love that in Shakespeare there are few happy endings, so the killing of one's uncle who killed his brother, the King of Denmark, Hamlet's father, to marry the Queen, who was poisoned by accidently drinking poison intended to murder Hamlet, and the death of Ophelia drowning. Just makes for some real drama. It's hard to read Shakespeare, as it takes a while to get your mind adapted so that maybe you can follow it somewhat, but I would say it's worth the effort. I would have given it a 3 were it not for these factors. Sorry, Bill.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Katie Katie

    This edition makes it so easy to read, it's fantastic. Even as I have read a few Shakespeare plays at this point, it is still easy to miss things through the reading, so this is EXCELLENT to keep you on track. This is probably one of Shakespeare books I like more. There's so much happening and a lot of plot to keep you entertained. Correct me if I am wrong, but I believe Shakespeare's plays are either tragedy or comedy. This is definitely in the tragedy column, and dives in to how fragile humank This edition makes it so easy to read, it's fantastic. Even as I have read a few Shakespeare plays at this point, it is still easy to miss things through the reading, so this is EXCELLENT to keep you on track. This is probably one of Shakespeare books I like more. There's so much happening and a lot of plot to keep you entertained. Correct me if I am wrong, but I believe Shakespeare's plays are either tragedy or comedy. This is definitely in the tragedy column, and dives in to how fragile humankind is and how quickly the mind can deteriorate. Thumbs up. The only reason I wouldn't give it 5 stars is because I'm VERY picky with books and I would like to reserve that for a book that blows me away.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Brianna

    Absolutely outstanding at making Shakespearian literature understandable. Whether you are a student, teacher, or simply want to be able to the grasp context better–No Fear Shakespeare has your back! Hamlet includes the original text on the left side and the modernized text (with small notes) on the right. I was able to comprehend and enjoy the famous tale of Hamlet. Round of applause to the SparkNotes team. Absolutely outstanding at making Shakespearian literature understandable. Whether you are a student, teacher, or simply want to be able to the grasp context better–No Fear Shakespeare has your back! Hamlet includes the original text on the left side and the modernized text (with small notes) on the right. I was able to comprehend and enjoy the famous tale of Hamlet. Round of applause to the SparkNotes team.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Niasaki

    I have a good relationship with Shakespeare works and I understand certain people who don't, which is completely valid. I'm mostly rating the edition and not as much as the play. I really do enjoy Hamlet and love picking apart the language and characters. I think this edition is more geared towards younger readers or people very new to Shakespeare. I still refer to the edition on the website every so often to get second thoughts on specific interpretations. For me personally it just doesn't give I have a good relationship with Shakespeare works and I understand certain people who don't, which is completely valid. I'm mostly rating the edition and not as much as the play. I really do enjoy Hamlet and love picking apart the language and characters. I think this edition is more geared towards younger readers or people very new to Shakespeare. I still refer to the edition on the website every so often to get second thoughts on specific interpretations. For me personally it just doesn't give the explaination and detail that I like with the text. Use this edition by all means if you want some easy Shakespeare reading, but I think I'll stick with Folger.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Meg

    Rating is mostly for this "No Fear" version of Hamlet (not the original by Shakespeare). I've been using this as I have my high school juniors and seniors blitz through Hamlet while we try to fly through all of British Lit this year. For the most part, the modern rendition has been helpful for them. There have been a few word choices here and there that seemed a little funny to me (translating "quiddities" and "quillities" as "razzle-dazzle"?? or "many such like 'as's' of great charge" as simply Rating is mostly for this "No Fear" version of Hamlet (not the original by Shakespeare). I've been using this as I have my high school juniors and seniors blitz through Hamlet while we try to fly through all of British Lit this year. For the most part, the modern rendition has been helpful for them. There have been a few word choices here and there that seemed a little funny to me (translating "quiddities" and "quillities" as "razzle-dazzle"?? or "many such like 'as's' of great charge" as simply "mumbo jumbo"?). It just seemed a little bit of a silly attempt at being trendy. But my complaints are minor. The play's the thing!

  27. 4 out of 5

    Aurora

    This book is excellent for people who need a deeper understanding of Hamlet. The book has Shakespearean English on the left, which is translated into modern English on the right. This makes the play more accessible to people who have trouble reading Shakespeare's style of writing, (don't we all). I purchased this book for a school essay on the play Hamlet and it definitely served its purpose. SparkNotes, the author of this book, is a very good resource for students struggling in their English cl This book is excellent for people who need a deeper understanding of Hamlet. The book has Shakespearean English on the left, which is translated into modern English on the right. This makes the play more accessible to people who have trouble reading Shakespeare's style of writing, (don't we all). I purchased this book for a school essay on the play Hamlet and it definitely served its purpose. SparkNotes, the author of this book, is a very good resource for students struggling in their English classes. SparkNotes (Rating is for the 'No Fear' edition, not the play itself)

  28. 5 out of 5

    Amy

    My first time reading Hamlet and this book truly helped. I would read the right (modern English) first and then the Old English. I tried it the other way but it didn't work out for me because I had no idea what they were really saying. I liked that in the beginning of the book they list all the characters and tell you a little about what's going on with them in the story. I felt more prepared that way. As for the story itself, I found it a very good one and I looked forward to picking it up and re My first time reading Hamlet and this book truly helped. I would read the right (modern English) first and then the Old English. I tried it the other way but it didn't work out for me because I had no idea what they were really saying. I liked that in the beginning of the book they list all the characters and tell you a little about what's going on with them in the story. I felt more prepared that way. As for the story itself, I found it a very good one and I looked forward to picking it up and reading it every day. Mr. Shakespeare tells good tales!

  29. 5 out of 5

    Riley

    I'm not sure if I'm supposed to be reviewing Hamlet itself, or this specific version. To be clear, I don't like Hamlet at all, but the No Fear Shakespeare version was great!! Not only does it have a modern translation right next to the original text, but there are side notes explaining various parts of the story that are no longer common knowledge. I always thought Hamlet was boring, but this version held my attention. I'm not sure if I'm supposed to be reviewing Hamlet itself, or this specific version. To be clear, I don't like Hamlet at all, but the No Fear Shakespeare version was great!! Not only does it have a modern translation right next to the original text, but there are side notes explaining various parts of the story that are no longer common knowledge. I always thought Hamlet was boring, but this version held my attention.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Susan

    I haven’t read Shakespeare’s Hamlet since my high school English class, back in the mid 70’s, but this edition made it an easy read. Having Shakespeare’s original prose side-by-side with a more current “translation” is definitely helpful. However, reading Hamlet as Shakespeare penned it is far more satisfying. I definitely recommend No Fear Shakespeare as a great way to gain exposure to one of the greatest playwrights of all time.

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