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Still one of my favorite Shakepeare plays. I've probably read it 3-5 times and probably watched just as many film productions: 1996 - Kenneth Branagh; 1990 - Mel Gibson; 1948 - Laurence Olivier; 2000 - Ethan Hawke; 1990 - Kevin Kline. I love it. Every read gives me a chance to channel something else.
This is also my first exposure to the play since visiting Hamlet's castle in Denmark last summer (2016) on the 400th anniversary of the Bard's death. While we were walking through it, they were doing a "Hamlet Live" at Kronborg Castle and the Hamlet flirted with my daughter. It was definitely worth the time and the blustery weather. I saw cannons and tapestries, but alas no ghosts or floating virgins. Sad!
I also learned THIS summer while I was in Malta, reading about Samuel Taylor Coleridge, that it was Coleridge who largely propelled Hamlet to the top of Shakepeare's heap. According to Jonathan Bate, "the Romantics' reinvention of Hamlet as a paralyzed Romantic was their single most influential critical act." It seemed popluar among Romantics, after Coleridge, to show a strong antic disposition for Shakespeare's psychologically complex, young Prince.
- "We love Hamlet even as we love ourselves." - Lord Byron
- "Hamlet's heart was full of such Misery as mine is when he said to Ophelia 'Go to a Nunnery, go, go!' Indeed I should like to give up the matter at once -- I should like to die. I am sickened at the brute world which you are smiling with." - John Keats
- "I have a smack of Hamlet myself, if I may say so...." - Samuel Taylor Coleridge
Favorite Lines this read:
“O God, I could be bound in a nutshell, and count myself a king of infinite space – were it not that I have bad dreams.” (Act 2, Scene 2)
“Must, like a whore, unpack my heart with words.” (Act 2, Scene 2)
“Our wills and fates do so contrary run.” (Act 3, Scene 2)
“For some must watch, while some must sleep
So runs the world away” (Act 3, Scene 2)
“If your mind dislike anything obey it” (Act 5, Scene 2)
10 of 13 people found this review helpful
This version of Hamlet has a couple things going for it: brief scene descriptions before each act (if you're interested in that sort of thing) and explanations of arcane vocabulary.
The main flaw with this version is the voice actor, Frank Muller, who reads all the parts and all the scene directions. He is, to put it bluntly, a ham, and never misses a chance to send his voice into a sobbing falsetto as he chokes out a dramatic soliloquy. The audible.com blurb describes him as a "talented actor", but it seems he learned his craft from Master Thespian. He should have listened to Hamlet:
"O, it offends me to the soul to hear a robustious periwig-pated fellow tear a passion to tatters, to very rags, to split the ears of the groundlings, who (for the most part) are capable of nothing but inexplicable dumb shows and noise. I would have such a fellow whipp'd for o'erdoing Termagant. It out-herods Herod. Pray you avoid it."
I wouldn't have him whipped, but I might look elsewhere for a version of Hamlet.
15 of 25 people found this review helpful