Monday, April 1, 2013

Review: The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark by William Shakespeare

Title: The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark
Author: William Shakespeare
Series: N/A
Format: Textbook
Release Date: 1603
Genre(s): Classic, Tragedy, Drama, Murder



Many consider the tragedy of "Hamlet" to be Shakespeare's masterpiece and one of the greatest plays of all time. It has entertained audiences for centuries and the role of Hamlet is one of the most sought after by actors. It is the story of Hamlet, the Prince of Denmark who learns of the death of his father at the hands of his uncle, Claudius. Claudius murders Hamlet's father, his own brother, to take the throne of Denmark and to marry Hamlet's widowed mother. Hamlet is sunk into a state of great despair as a result of discovering the murder of his father and the infidelity of his mother. Hamlet is torn between his great sadness and his desire for the revenge of his father's murder. "Hamlet" is a work of great complexity and as such has drawn many different critical interpretations. Hamlet has been seen as a victim of circumstance, as an impractical idealist, as the sufferer of an Oedipus complex, as an opportunist wishing to kill his Uncle not for revenge but to ascend to the throne, as the sufferer of a great melancholy, and as a man blinded by his desire for revenge. The true motivations of Hamlet are complex and enigmatic and have been debated for centuries. Source


Plot: Like said above, the classic story follows Hamlet, the Prince of Denmark, whose father was recently murdered and his mother has married his uncle. After discovering that his uncle has not only betrayed his father but also was the one who killed him, Hamlet sets out on a ploy to kill his uncle/stepfather. I had to read this for school and I'm glad I finally had a chance to read another Shakespearean play as well as this one. There are so many themes and situations that can be disputed and justified that it almost seems like it was made for English classes. Of course, it was an incredible book, but I had a few problems with it, mainly the characters. My biggest problem with the plot though was how convenient some situations were, like when pirates overtook a ship that was headed for one's death or being able to sneak into one's room. Some of the situations just seemed a little to easy for it to happen. But, then you would have to remember that it was a play and not everything can be explained.

Character(s): Hamlet - I don't know why, but I couldn't empathize or connect with Hamlet. There was something about him that I couldn't really relate to and ended up having me distant from him. I think it mostly came from his attitude which, in my opinion, was very egotistical and self-centered. He was in control of a country and yet he was busy plotting his uncle's death. He didn't even know that Fortinbras was headed towards Denmark or that there was even problems going on in his country. Other than Fortinbras, the only thing the characters seemed to care about was their on personal drama. This isn't a criticism of Shakespeare because I believe that was completely on purpose, but I just couldn't get over the selfishness of the characters. Fortinbras was the only one who cared about the bigger picture since he was in fact royalty while everyone else whined about what was going on in their lives.

Cover: My textbook didn't have a cover for this play and I'm glad it didn't. I think when it comes to classic books, whereas contemporary book covers give what the plot about, I think it is better to not have pictures or anything that gives away the plot because I think it would sway the reader's opinions.

Closing Thoughts: I gave this play (or book) a four out of four nail polishes. The plot was refreshing compared to the constant romance I had to read previously with Their Eyes Were Watching God. It was a nice break and it gave a plot that could be discusses and debated for centuries. The characters dynamics were good but consistent, which I think was a message about royalty from Shakespeare. But, all in all, it was something refreshing from what I normally read as well as something to stimulate conversation!

Where to find Shakespeare:

Peace and Fangs,

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