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Hamlet in French

Hamlet in French

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Hamlet in French

ratings:
4/5 (5,404 ratings)
Length:
240 pages
4 hours
Publisher:
Released:
Mar 1, 2018
ISBN:
9781455426157
Format:
Book

Description

Traduit par François Pierre Guillaume Guizot (1787 - 1874), historien français et homme d'État. Publié en 1864. Selon Wikipedia: «La tragédie de Hamlet, prince du Danemark, est une tragédie de William Shakespeare, qui se déroule au royaume du Danemark et qui dramatise la vengeance du prince Hamlet sur son oncle Claudius pour le meurtre du roi Hamlet, le frère de Claude et le père du prince Hamlet, puis succédant au trône et prenant pour épouse Gertrude, la veuve du vieux roi et la mère du prince Hamlet.La pièce dépeint vivement la folie vraie et feinte - de la douleur accablante à la rage bouillonnante - et explore des thèmes de trahison, la vengeance, l'inceste et la corruption morale.

Publisher:
Released:
Mar 1, 2018
ISBN:
9781455426157
Format:
Book

About the author

William Shakespeare was an English poet, playwright, and actor. He is widely regarded as the greatest dramatist in the English language. Shakespeare is often called England’s national poet and the “Bard of Avon.”  


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Hamlet in French - William Shakespeare

HAMLET, TRAGÉDIE PAR WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE TRADUCTION DE M. GUIZOT

published by Samizdat Express, Orange, CT, USA

established in 1974, offering over 14,000 books

Other Shakespeare tragedies in French translation (by M. Guizot):

Antoine et Cléopâtre

Coriolan

Jules César

Le Roi Lear

Macbeth

Othello ou le More de Venise

Roméo et Juliette

Timon d'Athènes

Titus Andronicus

Troïlus et Cressida

feedback welcome: info@samizdat.com

visit us at samizdat.com

  Ce document est tiré de:

  OEUVRES COMPLÈTES DE

  SHAKSPEARE

  NOUVELLE ÉDITION ENTIÈREMENT REVUE

  AVEC UNE ÉTUDE SUR SHAKSPEARE

  DES NOTICES SUR CHAQUE PIÈCE ET DES NOTES

  Volume 1

  Vie de Shakspeare

  Hamlet.--La Tempête.--Coriolan.

  PARIS

  A LA LIBRAIRIE ACADÉMIQUE

  DIDIER ET Ce, LIBRAIRES-ÉDITEURS

  35, QUAI DES AUGUSTINS

  1864

NOTICE SUR HAMLET

PERSONNAGES

ACTE PREMIER

SCÈNE I,   Elseneur.--Une plate-forme devant le château.

SCÈNE II,  Une salle de réception dans le château.

SCÈNE III,  Un appartement dans la maison de Polonius.

SCÈNE IV,  La plate-forme.  HAMLET, HORATIO ET MARCELLUS entrent.

SCÈNE V,   Un endroit plus écarté de la plate-forme.

ACTE DEUXIÈME

SCÈNE I,  Une chambre dans la maison de Polonius.

SCÈNE II,   Un appartement dans le château.

ACTE TROISIÈME

SCÈNE I,   (Un appartement dans le château.)  LE ROI, LA REINE, POLONIUS, OPHÉLIA, ROSENCRANTZ ET GUILDENSTERN entrent.

SCÈNE II,   (Une salle dans le château.) HAMLET entre avec quelques comédiens.

SCÈNE III,   (Un appartement dans le château.)

SCÈNE IV,   (Un autre appartement dans le château.)

ACTE QUATRIÈME

SCÈNE I,   Le château.

SCÈNE II,   Un autre appartement dans le château.

SCÈNE III,   Un autre appartement dans le château. LE ROI entre avec sa suite.

SCÈNE IV,   Une plaine en Danemark.

SCÈNE V,   Elseneur.--Un appartement dans le château. LA REINE ET HORATIO entrent.

SCÈNE VI,   Un autre appartement dans le château.

SCÈNE VII,   Un autre appartement dans le château.

ACTE CINQUIÈME

SCÈNE I,   Un cimetière.

SCÈNE II,   Une salle dans le château.

NOTICE SUR HAMLET

Hamlet n'est pas le plus beau des drames de Shakspeare; Macbeth et, je crois aussi Othello, lui sont, à tout prendre, supérieurs; mais c'est peut-être celui qui contient les plus éclatants exemples de ses beautés les plus sublimes comme de ses plus choquants défauts. Jamais il n'a dévoilé avec plus d'originalité, de profondeur et d'effet dramatique, l'état intime d'une grande âme; jamais aussi il ne s'est plus abandonné aux fantaisies terribles ou burlesques de son imagination, et à cette abondante intempérance d'un esprit pressé de répandre ses idées sans les choisir, et qui se plaît à les rendre frappantes par une expression forte, ingénieuse et inattendue, sans aucun souci de leur forme naturelle et pure.

Selon sa coutume, Shakspeare ne s'est point inquiété, dans Hamlet, d'inventer ni d'arranger son sujet: il a pris les faits tels qu'il les a trouvés dans les récits fabuleux de l'ancienne histoire de Danemark, par Saxon le Grammairien, transformés en histoires tragiques par Belleforest, vers le milieu du XVIe siècle, et aussitôt traduits et devenus populaires en Angleterre, non-seulement dans le public, mais sur le théâtre, car il paraît certain que six ou sept ans avant Shakspeare, en 1589, un poëte anglais, nommé Thomas Kyd, avait déjà fait de Hamlet une tragédie. Voici le texte du roman historique dans lequel, comme un sculpteur dans un bloc de marbre, Shakspeare a taillé la sienne.

«Fengon, ayant gagné secrètement des hommes, se rua un jour en un banquet sur son frère Horwendille, lequel occit traîtreusement, puis cauteleusement se purgea devant ses sujets d'un si détestable massacre. Avant de mettre sa main sanguinolente et parricide sur son frère, il avoit incestueusement souillé la couche fraternelle, abusant de la femme de celui dont il pourchassa l'honneur devant qu'il effectuât sa ruine....

«Enhardi par telle impunité, Fengon osa encore s'accoupler en mariage à celle qu'il entretenoit exécrablement durant la vie du bon Horwendille.... Et cette malheureuse, qui avoit reçu l'honneur d'être l'épouse d'un des plus vaillants et sages princes du septentrion, souffrit de s'abaisser jusqu'à telle vilenie que de lui fausser sa foi, et qui pis est, épouser celui qui étoit le meurtrier tyran de son époux légitime....

«Géruthe s'étant ainsi oubliée, le prince Amleth, se voyant en danger de sa vie, abandonné de sa propre mère, pour tromper les ruses du tyran, contrefit le fol avec telle ruse et subtilité que, feignant d'avoir tout perdu le sens, il couvrit ses desseins et défendit son salut et sa vie. Tous les jours il étoit au palais de la reine, qui avoit plus de soin de plaire à son paillard que de soucy à venger son mari ou à remettre son fils en son héritage; il couroit comme un maniaque, ne disoit rien qui ne ressentît son transport des sens et pure frénésie, et toutes ses actions et gestes n'étoient que d'un homme qui est privé de toute raison et entendement; de sorte qu'il ne servoit plus que de passe-temps aux pages et courtisans éventés qui étoient à la suite de son oncle et beau-père.... Et faisoit pourtant des actes pleins de grande signifiance, et répondoit si à propos qu'un sage homme eût jugé bientôt de quel esprit est-ce que sortoit une invention si gentille....

«Amleth entendit par là en quel péril il se mettoit si, en sorte aucune, il obéissoit aux mignardes caresses et mignotises de la demoiselle envoyée par son oncle. Le prince, ému de la beauté de la fille, fut par elle assuré encore de la trahison, car elle l'aimoit dès son enfance, et eût été bien marrie de son désastre....

«Il faut, dit un des amis de Fengon, que le roi feigne de s'en aller en quelque voyage, et que cependant on enferme Amleth seul avec sa mère dans une chambre dans laquelle soit caché quelqu'un pour ouïr leurs propos et les complots de ce fol sage et rusé compagnon.... Celuy même s'offrit pour être l'espion, et témoin des propos du fils avec la mère.... Le roi prit très-grand plaisir à cette invention....

«Cependant le conseiller entra secrètement en la chambre de la reine, et se cacha sous quelque loudier [1], un peu auparavant que le fils y fût enclos avec sa mère. Comme il étoit fin et cauteleux, sitôt qu'il fut dedans la chambre, se doutant de quelque trahison ou surprise, il continua en ses façons de faire folles et niaises, sauta sur ce loudier où, sentant qu'il y avoit dessous quelque cas caché, ne faillit aussitôt de donner dedans avec son glaive.... Ayant ainsi découvert l'embûche et puni l'inventeur d'icelle, il s'en revint trouver la reine, laquelle pleuroit et se lamentoit; puis ayant visité encore tous les coins de la chambre, se voyant seul avec elle, il lui parla fort sagement en cette manière:

«--Quelle trahison est ceci, ô la plus infâme de toutes celles qui onc se sont prostituées au vouloir de quelque paillard abominable, que sous le fard d'un pleur dissimulé, vous couvriez l'acte le plus méchant et le crime le plus détestable? Quelle fiance puis-je avoir en vous qui, déréglée sur toute impudicité, allez courant les bras étendus après cetuy félon et traitre tyran qui est le meurtrier de mon père, et caressez incestueusement le voleur du lit légitime de votre loyal époux?... Ah! reine Géruthe, c'est la lubricité seule qui vous a effacé en l'âme la mémoire des vaillances et vertus du bon roi votre époux et mon père.... Ne vous offensez pas, je vous prie, Madame, si, transporté de douleur, je vous parle si rigoureusement et si je vous respecte moins que mon devoir; car, vous ayant mis à néant la mémoire du défunt roi mon père, ne faut s'ébahir si aussi je sors des limites de toute reconnoissance....

[Note 1: Couverture, courte-pointe.]

«Quoique la reine se sentît piquer de bien près, et que Amleth la touchât vivement où plus elle se sentoit intéressée, si est-ce qu'elle oublia tout dépit qu'elle eût pu concevoir d'être ainsi aigrement tancée et reprise pour la grande joie qui la saisit, connoissant la gentillesse d'esprit de son fils. D'un côté, elle n'osoit lever les yeux pour le regarder, se souvenant de sa faute, et de l'autre elle eût volontiers embrassé son fils pour les sages admonitions qu'il lui avoit faites, et lesquelles eurent tant d'efficace que sur l'heure elles éteignirent les flammes de sa convoitise....

«Avec lui furent envoyés en Angleterre deux des fidèles ministres de Fengon, portant des lettres gravées dans du bois, qui portoient la mort de Amleth et la commandoient à l'Anglois. Mais le rusé prince danois, tandis que ses compagnons dormoient, ayant visité le paquet et connu la trahison de son oncle et la méchanceté des courtisans qui le conduisoient à la boucherie, rasa les lettres mentionnant sa mort, et au lieu y grava et cisela un commandement à l'Anglois de faire pendre et étrangler ses compagnons....

«Vivant son père, Amleth avoit été endoctriné en cette science avec laquelle le malin esprit abuse les hommes, et avertissoit le prince des choses déjà passées. Il y auroit fort à discourir si ce prince, par la violence de sa mélancolie, recevoit telles impressions qu'il devinât ce que nul homme ne lui avoit jamais déclaré.»

Évidemment, c'est Hamlet qui, dans ce récit, a frappé et séduit Shakspeare. Ce jeune prince, fou par calcul, peut-être un peu par nature, rusé et mélancolique, ardent à venger la mort de son père et habile à veiller pour sa propre vie, adoré de la jeune fille envoyée pour le perdre, objet de l'effroi et toujours pourtant de la tendresse de sa coupable mère, et, jusqu'au moment de l'explosion, caché et incompréhensible pour toutes les deux; ce personnage plein de passion, de péril et de mystère, versé dans les sciences occultes et à qui peut-être, «à travers la violence de sa mélancolie, le malin esprit fait deviner ce que nul homme ne lui a jamais déclaré;» quelle donnée admirable pour Shakspeare, scrutateur si curieux et si profond des agitations obscures de l'âme et de la destinée humaines! N'eût-il fait que peindre, en les dessinant avec la fermeté et en les colorant avec l'éclat de son pinceau, ce caractère et cette situation tels que les lui donnait la chronique, il eût, à coup sûr, produit un chef-d'oeuvre.

Mais Shakspeare a fait bien davantage: sous sa main la folie de Hamlet devient tout autre chose que la préméditation obstinée ou l'exaltation mélancolique d'un jeune prince du moyen âge, placé dans une situation périlleuse et plongé dans un sombre dessein: c'est un grave état moral, une grande maladie de l'âme qui, à certaines époques et dans certaines conditions de l'état social et des moeurs, se répand parmi les hommes, atteint souvent les mieux doués et les plus nobles, et les frappe d'un trouble quelquefois bien voisin de la folie. Le monde est plein de mal, de toute sorte de mal. Que de souffrances et de crimes, et d'erreurs fatales, quoique innocentes! Que d'iniquités générales et privées, éclatantes et ignorées! Que de mérites étouffés ou méconnus, perdus pour le public, à charge pour leurs possesseurs! Que de mensonges et de froideur, et de légèreté, et d'ingratitude, et d'oubli dans les relations et les sentiments des hommes! La vie si courte et pourtant si agitée, tantôt si pesante et tantôt si vide! L'avenir si obscur! tant de ténèbres au terme de tant d'épreuves! A ceux qui ne voient que cette face du monde et de la destinée humaine, on comprend que l'esprit se trouble, que le coeur défaille, et qu'une mélancolie misanthropique devienne une disposition habituelle qui les jette tour à tour dans l'irritation ou dans le doute, dans le mépris ironique ou dans l'abattement.

Ce n'était point là, à coup sûr, la maladie des temps où la chronique fait vivre Hamlet, ni de celui où vivait Shakspeare lui-même. Le moyen âge et le XVIe siècle étaient des époques trop actives et trop rudes pour que ces contemplations amères et ces développements malsains de la sensibilité humaine y trouvassent aisément accès. Ils appartiennent bien plutôt à des temps de vie molle et d'une excitation morale à la fois vive et oisive, quand les âmes sont jetées hors de leur repos et dépourvues de toute occupation forte et obligée. C'est alors que naissent ces mécontentements méditatifs, ces impressions partiales et irritées, cet entier oubli des biens, cette susceptibilité passionnée devant les maux de la condition humaine, et toute cette colère savante de l'homme contre l'ordre et les lois de cet univers.

Ce malaise douloureux, ce trouble profond que porte dans l'âme une si sombre et si fausse appréciation des choses en général et de l'homme lui-même, et qu'il ne rencontrait guère dans son propre temps, ni dans les temps dont il lisait l'histoire, Shakspeare les a devinés et en a fait la figure et le caractère de Hamlet. Qu'on relise les quatre grands monologues où le prince de Danemark s'abandonne à l'expression réfléchie de ses sentiments intimes[2]; qu'on recueille dans toute la pièce les mots épars où il les manifeste en passant; qu'on recherche et qu'on résume ce qui éclate et ce qui se cache dans tout ce qu'il pense et ce qu'il dit; partout on reconnaîtra la maladie morale que je viens de décrire. Là réside vraiment, bien plus que dans ses chagrins ou dans ses périls personnels, la source de la mélancolie de Hamlet; c'est là son idée fixe et sa folie.

[Note 2: Acte Ier, scène II;--Acte II, scène II;--Acte III, scène Ire--Acte IV, scène IV.]

Et avec l'admirable bon sens du génie, pour rendre, non-seulement supportable, mais saisissant, le spectacle d'une maladie si sombre, Shakspeare a mis, dans le malade lui-même, les qualités les plus douces et les plus attrayantes. Il a fait Hamlet beau, populaire, généreux, affectueux, tendre même. Il a voulu que le caractère instinctif de son héros relevât en quelque sorte la nature humaine des méfiances et des anathèmes dont sa mélancolie philosophique l'accablait.

Mais, en même temps, guidé par cet instinct d'harmonie qui n'abandonne jamais le vrai poëte, Shakspeare a répandu sur tout le drame la même couleur sombre qui ouvre la scène: le spectre du roi assassiné imprime dès les premiers pas et conduit jusqu'au terme le mouvement. Et quand le terme arrive, c'est aussi la mort qui règne; tous meurent, les innocents comme les coupables, la jeune fille comme le prince, et plus folle que lui: tous vont rejoindre le spectre qui n'est sorti de son tombeau que pour les y pousser tous avec lui. L'événement tout entier est aussi lugubre que la pensée de Hamlet. Il ne reste sur la scène que les étrangers norwégiens, qui y paraissent pour la première fois et qui n'ont pris aucune part à l'action.

Après cette grande peinture morale, vient la seconde des beautés supérieures de Shakspeare, l'effet dramatique. Elle n'est nulle part plus complète et plus frappante que dans Hamlet, car les deux conditions du grand effet dramatique s'y trouvent, l'unité dans la variété; une seule impression constante, dominante; et cette même impression diversifiée selon le caractère, le tour d'esprit, la condition des divers personnages dans lesquels elle se reproduit. La mort plane sur tout le drame; le spectre du roi assassiné la représente et la personnifie; il est toujours là, tantôt présent lui-même, tantôt présent à la pensée et dans les discours des autres personnages. Grands ou petits, coupables ou innocents, intéressés ou indifférents à son histoire, ils sont tous constamment occupés de lui; les uns avec remords, les autres avec affection et douleur, d'autres

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Reviews

What people think about Hamlet in French

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5404 ratings / 91 Reviews
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  • (4/5)
    Who am I to review Shakespeare?!
  • (5/5)
    Classic Shakespeare tragedy.
  • (4/5)
    The only Shakespeare plays I had read before this were Romeo and Juliet and Macbeth, Macbeth being my favorite. Having now read Hamlet, I can honestly say that Macbeth is still my favorite.

    Let's discuss.

    So, Hamlet himself is an emo icon, and also a misogynist, who basically goes crazy, murders someone, and essentially ruins everything.

    The ending came a little too quickly for me, tbh. There wasn't enough time to really develop any other characters. It was pretty quotable, though. Really, it gave me more Romeo and Juliet feels than Macbeth feels.
  • (5/5)
    Great classic
  • (5/5)
    Hamlet is a phenomenal play. Just spectacular.
  • (4/5)
    Vertaling van Komrij. Uiteraard een tijdloos stuk met een ongelofelijke diepgang, maar geen gemakkelijke lectuur. Ligt me minder dan de iets eenduidiger stukken King Lear of Macbeth.
  • (5/5)
    While it can be quite long and tedious in parts, it's still Hamlet.I mean, it's hard to beat Hamlet.
  • (4/5)
    One of the bard's all time classics, so frequently performed that it occasionally needs to be re-read to experience it the way he wrote it, without all the directorial impulses to pretty it up or modernize it. It had been a long time since my last read, and I was somewhat surprised to realize that this play comes with very few stage directions outside of entrances and exits; there are so many things that directors do exactly the same, you forget they weren't mentioned in the stage directions, and have simply become habit. Anyway, this play, about ambition and revenge, still holds up well through the centuries, though many of the actions seem outdated to us now. The poetry of the language and the rich texturing of the characters, even the most minor of characters, creates a complex story that successfully holds many balls in the air at once. Shakespeare's frequent use of ghosts is noteworthy, since that is something that modern day playwrights are told to be very careful about, and avoid if at all possible. A satisfying story, and a satisfying re-read.
  • (4/5)
    This continues to remain my second-least-favorite of the seven Tragedies I've read so far. This preference isn't based upon the quality of the play qua play; it boils down to the fact that I simply don't enjoy Mr. Prince Hamlet, Jr. Despite some arguments to the contrary, he still comes across to me as a bipolar obsessive with impulse control problems, a distinct lack of responsibility, a poor attitude toward girlfriends and who, if we read only what is written, appears to make monumental judgments about his mother on little or no evidence. In other words, I don't like him. Of course, I don't particularly like fellows such as Mr. Macbeth either, but it's a different lack of esteem: a dislike for the bad guy (which is a sneaking regard) rather than a disdain for the self-absorbed.I find the characters of Polonius, Ophelia and Gertrude much more intriguing in this play and I do enjoy it for them. So, while I love the language of this play, and the supporting cast, and acknowledge the structure and plot, I still don't enjoy it as much as a romp through Birnham Wood or, better yet, Lear's Britain.
  • (5/5)
    One of my favorites. Best film adaptation: surprisingly, Mel Gibson's. Branagh's was way too long (yeah, I know, but still) and had Robin Williams in it; we won't talk about Ethan Hawke's.
  • (4/5)
    BBC Audiobook performed by Michael Sheen (Hamlet), Kenneth Cranham (Claudius), Juliet Stevenson (Gertrude) and Ellie Beaven (Ophelia), and a full castI’ll dispense with the summary for this classic tragedy by William Shakespeare, but as I’ve said before, I really dislike reading plays. I much prefer to see them performed live by talented actors, the medium for which they are written. The next best thing to a live performance, however, must be an audio such as this one, with talented actors taking on the roles and really bringing the play to life for the listener. There are hundreds of editions of this work, and I recommend that readers get one that is annotated. The text copy I had as an accompaniment to the audio was published by the Oxford University Press, and included several scholarly articles, appendices and footnotes to help the modern-day reader understand Shakespeare’s Elizabethan terms and use of language, as well as historical references. One appendix even includes the music to accompany the songs!
  • (5/5)
    My favorite of Shakespeare's plays. It just gets better with every reading, and this time I started with Marjorie Garber's excellent chapter on the play (in her Shakespeare After All), which helped me appreciate the themes of “playing” – of dramas within dramas, “staged” events, audiences being observed, etc. – and of borders...”In suggesting that these three worlds – the world of Hamlet's mind and the imagination; the physical, political, and “historical” world of Denmark; and the world of dramatic fiction and play – are parallel to and superimposed upon one another, I am suggesting, also, that the play is about the whole question of boundaries, thresholds, and liminality or border crossing; boundary disputes between Norway and Denmark, boundaries between youth and age, boundaries between reality and imagination, between audience and actor. And these boundaries seem to be constantly shifting.”Also, of course, fathers and sons, words and meanings, just so much in this one, which, I suppose, is why I enjoy new things about it each time I read it. And I do love Hamlet. He treats Ophelia terribly, and Laertes at her grave, but his indecision, his anxiety, his sincerity, his hopefulness are all so... relatable! Really, I love it all. The relationships, the humor, the wordplay, the poetry. Happy sigh.
  • (4/5)
    Good solid Shakespeare read. A bit too much of a "he did, she did" plot at times.
  • (4/5)
    Ghosts, murder, madness, revenge, suicide, incest, spiced with a little bit of black humor – Hamlet has it all. Once again I was struck by the number of “cliches” that originated with Hamlet: “too solid flesh”, “reserve thy judgment”, “the apparel oft proclaims the man”, “to thine own self be true”, “something is rotten in the state of Denmark”, “the time is out of joint”, and “not a mouse was stirring” (which, sad to say, does not apply to my house since I've been trying unsuccessfully to catch one for the last week). I'm in that generation that can't hear Polonius's monologue without thinking of the song from the Gilligan's Island episode where the castaways staged a musical version of Hamlet. (Sorry if I've given anyone an earworm by mentioning it!)I was a little disappointed with the LA. Theatre Works audio version. Most of the performers were OK, but the audio effects were a bit odd and seemed too modern to suit the setting. I had trouble buying Stephen Collins as Claudius after his decade spent playing a minister on Seventh Heaven. Josh Stamberg played Hamlet, and his voice quality is similar enough to Stephen Collins that I sometimes had trouble telling which one of them was speaking. On the other hand, I thought Alan Mandell's Polonius was outstanding.This is one of Shakespeare's works that should be on everyone's reading list. Listening to an audio version can enhance modern readers' understanding of archaic language without interrupting the narrative flow like an annotated reading copy would do. There are probably better audio versions than this one to be found, though.
  • (4/5)
    This was the first time that I've read Hamlet, I've heard it quoted so many times and I thought it was about time I read it.Hamlet's mother is married to her dead husband's brother. And after seeing his father's ghost Hamlet decides to take revenge on his uncle/step-dad who apparently murdered his father. It's a kind of crazy story with lots of death, and there were some places where I didn't really understand what was going on, but I still got the overall jist of the story.I enjoyed reading this but when reading a play as a book I find it a bit hard to keep track of the characters and the settings, I think I would like to see it performed so that I can really get a feel for the story.
  • (5/5)
    I don't think I've ever enjoyed a Shakespearean work more than this play. Its riddled with ghost, revenge, crazy people, deaths, politics and psychological drama. Reading it along with the BBC's 2009's Hamlet does help in understanding the text, but its quite obvious how Hamlet's popularity survived half a millenia.

    Full review to come.
  • (5/5)
    Imagine my surprise when browsing through Kernaghan Books in the Wayfarers Shopping Arcade in Southport for these editions when I stumbled across Hamlet somewhat working against the purpose of me utilising these Oxfords to discover literature. Edition editor G.R. Hibbard chooses the First Folio as the basis for his text on the assumption that it was produced from a clean, revised manuscript of the play by Shakespeare himself, a final revision of the material that increases the pace but also clarifies the story in other places. His argument is sound, but I do much prefer the much later Arden 3’s approach of suggesting that all the close textual analysis in the world won’t definitively confirm which of the versions is definitive, so it’s best just to present all three (unless like the RSC edition, the mission is to reproduce an edition of the folio in particular). More inevitably posted here.
  • (5/5)
    This is it. The big kahuna. The Shakespeare play to end all Shakespeare plays. And I confess, I have fallen in love with it completely.When I was a child reading about Shakespeare plays in my Tales from Shakespeare (and seeing occasional live performances of the comedies), and later when I was a teenager watching them on videotape, I couldn’t quite see what the big deal was with Hamlet. It sounded to me like it lacked the romance of Romeo and Juliet, the fun of the comedies, the magic of the romances, and the bloodiness of some of the other tragedies like Macbeth.How wrong I was.While I wouldn’t necessarily advocate using a complete performance text—that would make for a long evening—and there are actually a large number of contradictions in the play as it has come down to us, what a joy it is to read all of Shakespeare’s words! Hamlet is a long play, but in general it flows beautifully, with long, elaborate scenes that fold into each other. I haven’t made a count, but I’d wager that in addition to being Shakespeare’s lengthiest play, Hamlet has, on average, the longest scenes. To me, this makes it read easier, but I might be in the minority in that respect.Hamlet as a character is a vehicle for some of Shakespeare’s most beautiful poetry and most searching philosophy. The play has gained its worldwide renown almost solely because of his soliloquies, which are many and lengthy. With all due respect to the famous “To be or not to be,” my favorite of the lot is “O, what a rogue and peasant slave am I!” I’m not an actor by profession, and haven’t been on the stage since junior high, but this speech stirred the actor in me. It’s a virtuosic piece, which opens with Hamlet’s typical melancholy and self-deprecation and ends with a moment of true resolve and excitement. Of course, the next time we see him, he’s depressed again and contemplating suicide.Going in, of course, I already knew about the wonderful poetry and philosophy in Hamlet. What I didn’t expect was how powerfully I would relate to the main character. Perhaps this is because I was approaching the play for the first time with the understanding that Hamlet is a very young man. He has traditionally been thought to be about 30 due to a remark of the gravedigger’s, but all other internal evidence points to him being in his late teens or so, and it’s very much possible that the gravedigger’s remark was a later addition to accommodate an older actor. When I instead read him as a teenager or young adult, all the pieces came together and the play made sense to me for the first time.Not that one has to be young in order to relate to Hamlet—he is a universal character, and it’s really remarkable how many different ways he can be interpreted. A friend and I were discussing how we might each play the role were we ever given the chance: he would probably emphasize his intellectualism, his shrewdness, his struggle with madness, and his quest for revenge, whereas I would stress his youth, depression, and emotional variance.There’s so much in this play that it is utterly impossible to touch on everything in a single review, so I suppose I’ll stop while I’m ahead. I’m sure that when I reread, I will notice new things that I never saw before. And I do plan on rereading Hamlet. Like all truly great works of literature, it’s an inexhaustible gold mine, a fountain of insight one can’t help returning to.
  • (5/5)
    This is a mature play of Shakespeare's, blending all the elements of drama, psychology, gutter humor, passion, ambition, doubt. The Playbook version is unique, but valuable. I haven't seen anything approaching it.
  • (5/5)
    There: you can all stop nagging me, I've finally read it. The plot was mostly as expected, though I think whatever version I read as a child was less kind to Ophelia, as I had a rather different image of her in mind. I had a whole book of Shakespeare retellings, now I think about it: I can't really remember many of them, but I suppose they haunt me a little in my vague ideas of what the plays are like before I read them...

    Anyway, Hamlet: justly famous, and full of phrases and quotations that even people who've never read a Shakespeare play can quote. It's always interesting coming to those in situ at last.

    Still terribly glad I don't have to study Shakespeare now. If I end up somehow forced to read Shakespeare in my MA, I may scream. Much happier to come to his plays now, in my own good time.
  • (4/5)
    Last time I read Hamlet, I was in school and I remember having some difficulty with the language... This time I found the language easier (although still hard to follow in places -- "The canker galls the infants of the spring
    Too oft before their buttons be disclos'd,
    And in the morn and liquid dew of youth
    Contagious blastments are most imminent." Laertes to Ophelia; I have read this over & over and still don't understand it).
  • (3/5)
    Hamlet is the most annoying lead in Shakespeare. And the play is the most apt metaphor for the last couple of months of my high school career. Anenergy, baby! It took me forEVER to finish the term paper on the play; Brother Phil graciously gave me a C+ despite me turning it in, oh, probably a month past the due date. And that dinged my GPA just enough for someone else to win the Senior English prize. Ah well. At least it was one of my friends.
  • (4/5)
    It's difficult to critique a work that is widely considered to be the best piece produced by the greatest author who ever lived. To put it in simple terms, I did enjoy Hamlet for the most part. Once I got used to the language and re-familiarized myself with reading a script, the story flowed very well. My only real complaint was that the format took a bit out of the climactic finale for me. I feel that it would have read much better in a novel format.Shakespeare has written one of the most compelling tragedies ever in Hamlet, and his plot and character development are topnotch. Hamlet's downward spiral into madness is classically done. All said, a must read.
  • (4/5)
    I refuse to offer up a literary review on Shakespeare. I wouldn't presume. However, I will say that I enjoyed this dark story. Watching a man descend into madness, yet still retain enough sanity to accomplish his purpose is drama at its best. Half the fun for me is finding out where all the quotes one hears all the time come from.
  • (5/5)
    Hamlet's an amazingly dynamic and complex play about the lure of death and the struggle against inaction. Wonderful and dark and always a pleasure to read
  • (4/5)
    Hey its Hamlet. What else can I say. You either love it or hate it.
  • (4/5)
    It was a very interesting story. It wasn't boring as I thought it would be.
  • (5/5)
    This is truly an amazing work, and is a very well-known story. Even if you haven't read the play, or seen any of the film versions, you probably have heard enough to know much of what happens, and are likely familiar with several very famous lines. This was my first time reading the play, and I truly loved it, because it does go far beyond just the famous lines and core story. There is true depth here, with layers of meaning that really strike at the soul of the audience. As to the edition itself, I found it to be greatly helpful in understanding the action in the play. It has a layout which places each page of the play opposite a page of notes, definitions, explanations, and other things needed to understand that page more thoroughly. While I didn't always need it, I was certainly glad to have it whenever I ran into a turn of language that was unfamiliar, and I definitely appreciated the scene-by-scene summaries. Really, if you want to or need to read Shakespeare, an edition such as this is really the way to go, especially until you get more accustomed to it.
  • (5/5)
    Critics have varied in their enthusiasm for this play over the centuries. In many ways Hamlet is a typical "modern" - a relativist, caught in perpetual indecision, uncertain of his place in the world, frozen by his anxieties. It also contains some of the best-known lines and soliloquies in all of Shakespeare. It can be, and has been, read and performed from a religious perspective, an existential perspective, a Freudian perspective, or a feminist perspective.
  • (3/5)
    Story:
    Everyone knows Hamlet. Okay, maybe not everyone, but most people do. Now, if you were to ask me if I liked Hamlet, my short answer would probably be 'no.' Really, though, it's not fair for me to encapsulate my feelings on Hamlet into such a simple answer. If Hamlet and I were in a relationship on facebook (assuming he it could ever decide whether to be in one...punned!), it would most definitely be complicated.

    Here's the thing: Hamlet is a great play. There's no denying it. When I think about the play objectively, there's a lot of amazing stuff in there. Shakespeare's wit is fantastic; gotta love all of those dirty jokes he makes in here. And, of course, the language is completely gorgeous.

    The characters I have never been particularly tied to, which is one reason Hamlet does not rank among my favorite plays; the tragedies often lack the sassy heroines you can find in the comedies. Hamlet's indecisiveness frustrates me endlessly. Whine, whine, whine, think about doing something, wimp out, wine more. Cry moar, anon. Yoda judges you. Hamlet's uncle father and his aunt mother are not especially likable, even if you don't think they're guilty of what Hamlet's ghosty father accused them of (namely, turning him into a ghost). Ophelia isn't the brightest; plus, her end does not for admiration make. Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are probably my favorites, and that's only because of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead by Tom Stoppard.

    Truly though, the reason that I don't really like Hamlet is how prevalent it is. I just get so tired of always hearing this same play over and over. I mean, who didn't have to read this in high school, and again in college?

    Performance:
    This audiobook is the recording of a stage version of the play, performed by the Oregon Shakespeare Festival cast. They do a good job, and I imagine it was quite a fun performance that they did. It sounds like they did some interesting things with the characters, such as changing gender in some cases and some modernizing (thus the leather jacket Hamlet's wearing).

    Unfortunately, listening to a play and watching it just aren't the same. Had I not already been very familiar with Hamlet, I have little doubt that I would at time have been confused by some of the quick scene changes or by which voice belonged to which character. Some of the actors did have rather similar sounding voices.

    Between scenes, there is creepy dramatic music, which definitely set a mood, but I don't think I liked. Nor did I care for the fact that the players rapped everything. That was kind of weird. At least Ophelia didn't rap her crazyface songs. Speaking of Ophelia, she was my favorite part of the performance. Her voice and manner definitely reminded me of River Tam (Summer Glau's character in Firefly, who has a couple of screws loose). What an awesome way to portray Ophelia. Now I kind of want to try to write some fan fiction with the characters from Firefly performing Hamlet. Maybe not.