Hamlet by William Shakespeare
(Cambridge School Shakespeare)

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To study Hamlet is to embrace the English language and revel in its purest expression. Yes, its plot is hardly plausible. Still, its eloquent commentary on the travails of life retains its power even today...
-Cape Ann Beacon


One of the greatest plays of all time, the compelling tragedy of the tormented young prince of Denmark continues to capture the imaginations of modern audiences worldwide. Confronted with evidence that his uncle murdered his father, and with his mother’s infidelity, Hamlet must find a means of reconciling his longing for oblivion with his duty as avenger. The ghost, Hamlet’s feigned madness, Ophelia’s death and burial, the play within a play, the “closet scene” in which Hamlet accuses his mother of complicity in murder, and breathtaking swordplay are just some of the elements that make Hamlet an enduring masterpiece of the theater.

Each Edition Includes:
• Comprehensive explanatory notes
• Vivid introductions and the most up-to-date scholarship
• Clear, modernized spelling and punctuation, enabling contemporary readers to understand the Elizabethan English
• Completely updated, detailed bibliographies and performance histories
• An interpretive essay on film adaptations of the play, along with an extensive filmography

About William Shakespeare

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William Shakespeare, 1564 - 1616 Although there are many myths and mysteries surrounding William Shakespeare, a great deal is actually known about his life. He was born in Stratford-Upon-Avon, son of John Shakespeare, a prosperous merchant and local politician and Mary Arden, who had the wealth to send their oldest son to Stratford Grammar School. At 18, Shakespeare married Anne Hathaway, the 27-year-old daughter of a local farmer, and they had their first daughter six months later. He probably developed an interest in theatre by watching plays performed by traveling players in Stratford while still in his youth. Some time before 1592, he left his family to take up residence in London, where he began acting and writing plays and poetry. By 1594 Shakespeare had become a member and part owner of an acting company called The Lord Chamberlain's Men, where he soon became the company's principal playwright. His plays enjoyed great popularity and high critical acclaim in the newly built Globe Theatre. It was through his popularity that the troupe gained the attention of the new king, James I, who appointed them the King's Players in 1603. Before retiring to Stratford in 1613, after the Globe burned down, he wrote more than three dozen plays (that we are sure of) and more than 150 sonnets. He was celebrated by Ben Jonson, one of the leading playwrights of the day, as a writer who would be "not for an age, but for all time," a prediction that has proved to be true. Today, Shakespeare towers over all other English writers and has few rivals in any language. His genius and creativity continue to astound scholars, and his plays continue to delight audiences. Many have served as the basis for operas, ballets, musical compositions, and films. While Jonson and other writers labored over their plays, Shakespeare seems to have had the ability to turn out work of exceptionally high caliber at an amazing speed. At the height of his career, he wrote an average of two plays a year as well as dozens of poems, songs, and possibly even verses for tombstones and heraldic shields, all while he continued to act in the plays performed by the Lord Chamberlain's Men. This staggering output is even more impressive when one considers its variety. Except for the English history plays, he never wrote the same kind of play twice. He seems to have had a good deal of fun in trying his hand at every kind of play. Shakespeare wrote 154 sonnets, all published on 1609, most of which were dedicated to his patron Henry Wriothsley, The Earl of Southhampton. He also wrote 13 comedies, 13 histories, 6 tragedies, and 4 tragecomedies. He died at Stratford-upon-Avon April 23, 1616, and was buried two days later on the grounds of Holy Trinity Church in Stratford. His cause of death was unknown, but it is surmised that he knew he was dying.
Published May 3, 2016 by Penguin Classics. 208 pages
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Critic reviews for Hamlet
All: 9 | Positive: 8 | Negative: 1

The Independent

Reviewed by Howard Jacobson on Aug 06 2010

Play or novel, 'Hamlet' is wonderful about judgement, how harsh the intelligent are, how wrong and lonely in their harshness, but how without them the world goes undescribed.

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Cape Ann Beacon

on Jan 13 2014

To study Hamlet is to embrace the English language and revel in its purest expression. Yes, its plot is hardly plausible. Still, its eloquent commentary on the travails of life retains its power even today...

Read Full Review of Hamlet (Cambridge School Shak...

Book Review Circle

Reviewed by Amrita Dutta on May 29 2014

Hamlet changed the way I look at life. I cannot explain why I fell in love with the most flawed character in English literature. Perhaps because it is not easy to recognize flaws for what they are and accept them.

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Lit Lovers

Reviewed by Molly Lundquist on Sep 01 2012

Hamlet is a difficult read, no getting around it. Yet it's the most thrilling drama in all of Shakespeare—or, as some believe, in all of literature.

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Nomad Reader

on Jan 29 2011

I'm so glad I finally took the time to read the classic play. Although quotes and characters were familiar to me, you simply can't know a play without experiencing it in its entirety...

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Reviewed by Bob Corbett on Jun 01 2010

This play is just a joy to read. Not “joy” in the sense of happiness, but “joy” in the sense of inner delight at the writing, the complexity of characters, the richness of the thought produced in the reader by the insights into human existence by Shakespeare in constructing this marvelous drama.

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Nyx Book Reviews

Reviewed by Celine on May 21 2013

A girl that completely loses her mind, an incestuous marriage, emo dude that sees ghosts, what’s not to like? People drop like flies in Hamlet, which I found amusing.

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The Maiden's Court

Below average
Reviewed by Heather on Feb 08 2011

I felt that the one weak spot in the play was the character of Ophelia. She was the one character that I knew most about coming into reading this, so I was really surprised to see that her impact on the story is marginal. I found myself not really caring what happened to her because I didn’t feel a connection to her.

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Novel Society

on May 16 2011

...I liked the setting, there were some interesting themes that were portrayed in the play. Revenge, Betrayal, Love, the whole internal life vs. the external life in the castle. My favorite character had to be Young Fortinbras. He is just cool.

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