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Hamlet (The New Folger Library Shakespeare)…

Hamlet (The New Folger Library Shakespeare) (edition 2003)

by William Shakespeare

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
27,82724780 (4.16)1 / 1108
Distressed by his father's death and his mother's over-hasty remarriage, Hamlet, Prince of Denmark is faced by a spectre from beyond the grave bearing a grim message of murder and revenge. The young Prince is driven to the edge of madness by his struggle to understand the situation he finds himself in and to do his duty. Many others, including Hamlet's beloved, the innocent Ophelia, are swept up in his tragedy, Shakespeare's most famous and one of the great stories in the literature of the world.… (more)
Title:Hamlet (The New Folger Library Shakespeare)
Authors:William Shakespeare
Info:Washington Square Press (2003), Mass Market Paperback, 400 pages
Collections:Your library

Work details

Hamlet by William Shakespeare

  1. 262
    Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead by Tom Stoppard (Voracious_Reader, kxlly)
    Voracious_Reader: Existentialist, tragicomedy based on Shakespeare's Hamlet. Very different from Shakespeare's Hamlet and yet there's a definite, deep connection between the two.
  2. 80
    Macbeth by William Shakespeare (Pattty)
    Pattty: Si te gustó Hamlet seguro te gustará Macbeth, que es una historia buena y mucho más "macabra"
  3. 20
    King Lear by William Shakespeare (kara.shamy)
  4. 20
    Let Me Tell You by Paul Griffiths (alanteder)
    alanteder: A novel from Ophelia's point of view constructed using only the 481 words used by Ophelia in the play (from all Quartos and First Folio editions). The technique is called Oulipo, creating a literature work using constricted, limited resources.
  5. 10
    Life Is a Dream by Pedro Calderón de la Barca (Sergio88)
    Sergio88: Perhaps the spanish play most similar to Hamlet.
  6. 00
    The Tragicall Historie of Hamlet Prince of Denmarke by William Shakespeare (Waldstein)
    Waldstein: The modern text of Hamlet and the First Quarto make an interesting and thought-provoking comparison. Little is known about the foundations of Q1, but it opens the door of endless speculation about Elizabethan authorship, publishing, piracy and what not.… (more)
  7. 00
    Hamlet by Dmitri Shostakovich (Waldstein)
    Waldstein: The music by Shostakovich is ideally experienced in Kozintsev's movie for which it was composed, but it stands well on its own as a symphonic poem and makes a fine soundtrack to the play as well.… (more)
  8. 00
    Ophelia by Lisa Klein (Anonymous user)
  9. 01
    A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man by James Joyce (kara.shamy)
  10. 02
    Shakespearean Tragedy by A. C. Bradley (DLSmithies)
  11. 04
    Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov (kara.shamy)
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» See also 1108 mentions

English (221)  Spanish (8)  French (5)  Italian (3)  Dutch (2)  Swedish (2)  Portuguese (1)  Danish (1)  Portuguese (Portugal) (1)  German (1)  Portuguese (Brazil) (1)  All languages (246)
Showing 1-5 of 221 (next | show all)
Something is rotten in the state of Denmark... ( )
  volfy | Jun 26, 2021 |
Oh, what a rogue and peasant slave am I! ( )
  LibroLindsay | Jun 18, 2021 |
I was expecting Hamlet to be more like the Lion King, but Hamlet ended up being one of the most enjoyable Shakespeare plays I've read. He really is a pun master. ( )
  Aglassman | Jun 7, 2021 |
An excellent audio production with Michael Sheen in the title role. Full of all the angst, gorgeous speeches, and tragedy that I love about this play. Honourable mention to Ellie Beaven's choices for Ophelia when she goes mad - she opts for a lot of childlike delight intermixed with sudden moments of grief as opposed to other versions I've seen where Ophelia is just devastatingly sad throughout. If you like the play, this is a decent way to experience it. ( )
  MickyFine | Apr 29, 2021 |
Video review: https://youtu.be/05gwQA0-pb4

Hamlet, William Shakespeare, 1603 CE

From Hamlet in Purgatory by Stephen Greenblatt:

"But what they [i.e. the audience members of the first Hamlet performance] saw at the Globe was an unprecedented explosion of power" (xiii).

From Hamlet: Poem Unlimited by Harold Bloom:

"...Hamlet becomes the freest artist of himself in all literature..." (51).

"[Hamlet] is too large for tragedy, for his own self, and weirdly too titanic for imaginative literature" (97).

"We want [Hamlet] to tell us much more than [he does], because [his] power over language is so enormous" (110).

From The Lifetime Reading Plan by Clifton Fadiman:

"Even if you are not looking for anything in Shakespeare you will find something" (94).

Hamlet may well be the single greatest work in the Western core. It contains everything. It boldly faces the big questions of existence and beyond. As Longinus says of great literature: “…man can easily understand what is useful or necessary, but he admires what passes his understanding” (from [b:On Great Writing|897347|On Great Writing (On the Sublime)|Longinus|https://i.gr-assets.com/images/S/compressed.photo.goodreads.com/books/1420938739l/897347._SY75_.jpg|882535], 48). Indeed, this is precisely why, over four hundred years later, Shakespeare's great play of the most well-known melancholy Dane continues to be full of vitality and relevance and beauty. We marvel at it the way Hamlet himself marvels at the skull of his old friend Yorick--"a man of infinite jest" (note: David Foster Wallace took this epithet as the title of his magnum opus). There are things we cannot understand: "There are more things in heaven and Earth, Horatio, / Than are dreamt of in your philosophy." One of these is the question of suffering, justified suicide, and the afterlife, which this great play takes head on.

The play is, of course, dark, a tragedy in the tone of King Lear. It begins in darkness as the sentinels of Elsinore Castle stand watch over the tower. But, as the play will repeatedly reinforce, there is only change, nothing is permanent. Towards the end of the watch, after the ghost of Hamlet's father has revealed himself, Horatio says of the change of day, "But look, the morn in russet mantle clad / Walks o'er the dew of yon high eastward hill" (1.1, 166-167). (The previous lines are but a small glimpse of the rich poetry throughout.) Soon after, Gertrude proclaims, "All that lives must die, / Passing through nature to eternity" (1.2, 73-74). But Hamlet is unmoved. His melancholy has so changed him that everyone notices and talks of his transformations. These changes of temperament will continue throughout as characters devise traps for others only to be foiled and bring about revelation, usually at unintended mortal consequence.

While there is certainly real death in the story, both on- and off-stage, there is am ambiguity, or a blurring, of perception and reality in the figure of the ghost/Hamlet's father. Upon the heels of our first interaction between Gertrude, the new King of Denmark, and Hamlet, we are acquainted with Hamlet's sharp contrast of "what seems" and "what is." Perception versus reality. What seems is what is, and what is is what seems; and Hamlet insists on knowing only what is. (Yet he also admits to solipsism when he tells Rosenkrantz, "...there is nothing / either good or bad but thinking makes it so.") Try as he might to keep a grip only on what is, he is, after all, subject to strong emotion and the entreaties of a ghost. The ghost, then, can also be seen as a blurring of perception and reality, a muddying of Hamlet's insistence on what is.

The father is said to be in the realm of purgation (or Purgatory), awaiting freedom through revenge and justice via his son: "...When I to sulph'rous and tormenting flames / Must render myself up"; "...Till the foul crimes done in my days of nature / are burnt and purged away..." (1.5, 3-4 & 12-13). Hamlet, too, believes his father to be in Purgatory, with his invocation of Saint Patrick (keeper of Purgatory) in later conversation with Horatio. being there But though the characters, over two hundred years after Dante's Purgatorio, are acquainted with the concept of Purgatory ("what seems") they have no actual knowledge of it ("what is"). Hamlet describes this phase of afterlife as an "undiscovered country." And, as Stephen Greenblatt concludes in his book [b:Hamlet in Purgatory|33179|Hamlet in Purgatory|Stephen Greenblatt|https://i.gr-assets.com/images/S/compressed.photo.goodreads.com/books/1412006313l/33179._SY75_.jpg|2145393], Shakespeare is not interested in Purgatory as valid theological construct but rather as a secular poetic conception.

Concomitant with his grief is the urge to purge himself all human knowledge, thus preparing himself for both revenge and the possibility of his own death. Anguish gives way to nihilism, interestingly tempered by the Christian doctrine of suicide being a sin that precludes a satisfactory afterlife. Amusingly, he refers to his head as a globe--if we remember that this was, after all, staged at the Globe Theatre originally, we shall observe one of the bard's clever puns. About his globe, then, he says, "Yea, from the table of my memory / I'll wipe away all trivial fond records / All saws of books, all forms, all pressures past / That youth and observation copied there, / And thy [his father's] commandment all along shall live / Within the book and volume of my brain, / Unmixed with baser matter" (1.5, 98-105). In one since this is his cry for a singular focus--revenge--without distraction; but in another way it is an argument for a sort of death in life, no doubt to deaden suffering.

The commingling of tragedy and high artistic talent results in beauty. This is why such a ghastly tale can be alive with such power and glory. Shakespeare places a play with the play to highlight the effect of art on the emotions. As one of the players recites lines of Virgil's epic he is moved to tears. This gives Hamlet the idea that he will have them stage a play depicting the very regicide that occurred to his father right in front of his uncle. The ostensible reason is to confirm for Hamlet, et al., that the ghost's words are true (and we see here this ambiguity of seems-is for Hamlet), but a further reason, I believe, is that it is stronger to present truth via art than directly. Hamlet says as much to Ophelia. When she says to him, "Could beauty, my lord, have better commerce / than with honesty?," Hamlet replies, "Ay, truly; for the power of beauty will sooner transform honesty from what is to a bawd...." (3.1, 109-112). There are several levels of meaning in these passages; Hamlet is speaking on several levels (about his relationship to Ophelia; about the regicide; about the play), but he point in the immediate context of my argument is that the beauty of the artistic production will be the perfect way to weed out the truth:

"I have heard that guilty creatures sitting at a play
Have by the very cunning of the scene
Been struck so to the soul that presently
They have proclaimed their malefactions" (3.1, 528-532).

A key feature of the play is that, as Hamlet begins to understand what he must do, his suicidal melancholy is tempered by a sense of purpose. As he tells Rosencrantz, "What is a man, / If his chief good and market of his time / Be but to sleep and feed? A beast, no more" (4.4, 33-35). This sense of purpose, of meaning, drives Hamlet through to the end when revenge is exacted upon the guilty parties. Again, amidst the melee of intensity and death, further revelations and transformations come about. Laertes, for one, has an epiphany about his father's death and Hamlet's situation and begs forgiveness. Hamlet bids Horatio to allow him, Hamlet, to live on through the telling of his story--a common impulse in works of high art.

Shakespeare's most famous play--for who cannot place the words "to be or not to be"?--transcends the boundaries of everyday life and pries into the unknown as deeply as possible. The English bard undergirds the play with wit and wisdom gleaned as much from Ovid and Virgil as from the authors of the Psalms, Proverbs, and Ecclesiastes (most notably, Hamlet echoes the teacher of Ecclesiastes when he says, "...[vanity; material objects] appeareth / nothing to me but a foul and pestilent congregation of vapors" (2.2, 271-273). He makes a Danish Councillor (Polonius) look like a fool, and a simple country fellow (the gravedigger) look like a philosopher. The perception of unrequited love causes the true object of Hamlet's affection to commit the very act with which he struggles to understand. How is it that Shakespeare is able to achieve so much beauty, so much intelligence, so much universal, timeless relevance into so slim a work? Perhaps we should turn to one of the more remarkable utterances of Polonius, even if he did falter after stating it: "...brevity is the soul of wit..." (2.2, 90). Then again, it is more than just brevity. Shakespeare invites us to step outside of ourselves: "There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, / Than are dreamt of in your philosophy" (1.5, 169-170). ( )
  chrisvia | Apr 29, 2021 |
Showing 1-5 of 221 (next | show all)

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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Shakespeare, Williamprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Adams, Joseph QuincyEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Alexander, NigelEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Andrews, John F.Editorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Angelo, ValentiIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Arany, JánosTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Amleto ( [1908]IMDb)
Amleto ( [1908]IMDb)
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First words
Act 1, Scene 1
Enter Barnardo and Francisco, two sentinels.

Who's there?
Bernardo. Who’s there?
Francisco. No, answer me: Stand and reveal yourself.
Bernardo. Long live the King.
Francisco. Bernardo?
Bernardo. He.
Francisco. You come most promptly on your hour.
Do not, as some ungracious pastors do,
Show me the steep and thorny way to heaven,
Whiles, like a puff'd and reckless libertine,
Himself the primrose path of dalliance treads.
And recks not his own rede.
Alas, poor
Yorick!—I knew him, Horatio; a fellow of infi nite
jest, of most excellent fancy:
This above all — to thine ownself be true;
And it must follow, as the night the day,
Thou canst not then be false to any man.
(Claudius) O, my offense is rank, it smells to heaven;
It has the primal eldest curse upon it—
A brother’s murder!—
There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio,
Than are dreamt of in your philosophy.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
Please do not combine with this work the First Quarto (Q1) from 1603. This really is a different play. The Second Quarto (Q2), First Folio (F1), and modern texts based on them belong here. Please distinguish between this Work, which is Shakespeare's original play, from any of its many adaptations (audio, video, reworking, etc.). Thank you.
The 1917 and 1933 editions were edited by Jack Randall Crawford.
Publisher's editors
Original language
Canonical DDC/MDS
Distressed by his father's death and his mother's over-hasty remarriage, Hamlet, Prince of Denmark is faced by a spectre from beyond the grave bearing a grim message of murder and revenge. The young Prince is driven to the edge of madness by his struggle to understand the situation he finds himself in and to do his duty. Many others, including Hamlet's beloved, the innocent Ophelia, are swept up in his tragedy, Shakespeare's most famous and one of the great stories in the literature of the world.

No library descriptions found.

Book description
Shakespeare's telling of a man who struggles with the death of his father and the re-marriage of his mother. Hamlet knows his uncle killed his father but must determine how to act. He struggles with anger an depression and kills the father of the woman who loves him. it is a tragedy.

This was just really hard to understand in fourth grade. There were a couple funny parts, but mostly it was just dark and there was a lot of killing. I thought it was dumb that everyone died.
One of the most intriguing characters in theater, Hamlet has been played by more than two dozen actresses over the years. The story begins with the visitation of Hamlet's dead father, telling him that he was murdered by his own brother, who has taken the throne. Only Hamlet hears the story, and he does not share it with his companions. Is it true? Hamlet dithers as to what to do. He brings a play that has a similar plot to the assassination to see King Claudius's reaction. He confronts Queen Gertrude, his mother, and kills Polonius by mistake. The King sends him away to be murdered, but Hamlet foils the attempt. His love, Ophelia, goes mad and commits suicide. He and her brother challenge each other over her. In a fixed bout of fencing, King Claudius gives a poisoned blade to Laertes, the brother, but in the scuffle, the blades are switched. Queen Gertrude drinks the poison cup prepared for Hamlet, Hamlet skewers Claudius, Laertes and Hamlet both die.
Haiku summary
Etre ou ne pas être... 
Un chef-d'oeuvre intemporel?
Telle est la question.
Dithering Hamlet
can't decide to do the deed.
Finally, all die.
(Sasha Newborn)
Kill him already!
Your father's ghost told you to!
All die thanks to you!

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Penguin Australia

4 editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

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