Wednesday, October 15, 2008

School Book: Hamlet

Well, this is the third time I've had to read Shakespeare's Hamlet. And although I would have preferred my professor choosing something else, I have to admit I really like this play. The first time I read it, back in grade 12, I didn't really care for it. But when I reread it for class last year, I thought it was great. The plot is well written, the characters are all distinct, and it is fun (even for a tragedy).

I did notice a bit of a difference between this edition (The Arden Edition) and the one I read last year (The W.W. Norton Edition). Specifically, my favourite soliloquy seemed different ("To be, or not to be..."). But all in all, I enjoyed rereading this. It is a wonderful tale, and definitely worth rereading time and time again!

1 comment:

The probligo said...

Just dropped by in a random (next blog) search...

Read your thoughts on Hamlet, which I also did in year 13 but that was a long time ago.

If you have ever heard of "Bowdler" then the next part might make some sense.

Shakespear was not above adding a bit of comic relief to his tragedies. There are any number of examples. In Hamlet, part of the "tragedy" is that Hamlet is excluded from his Uncle's (the murderer) approval. That disapproval comes from (one very short) speech by the king after Hamlet's return (from university?). The comedy (and the illustration of the cause of the disapproval) come in the form of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern.

The trick is to work out what Shakespear might have named them before Bowdler "cleaned up the script". That will give a clue to the reason for the king's disapproval. Not to say, of course, that the king was right. It also explains the comic relief.