From Library Journal
It is a tragedy that all actors seem to crave to perform, and the Renaissance Theatre Company clearly relishes the chance to present Hamlet for the ear. It is a contemporary cast from which one has come to expect superior Shakespearean acting on stage and screen: Kenneth Branagh as Hamlet; Sir John Gielgud as the Ghost; Derek Jacobi as Claudius; and Emma Thompson as the Player Queen. Unlike the Recorded Books version (Audio Reviews, LJ 8/90), this BBC edition may be a little hard to follow by those unfamiliar with the play's text, particularly since stage directions are not provided and speakers are not clearly identified. But the program does give the complete version, a rare treat, and the accompanying booklet offers insights into both the acting and the production. Highly recommended.
- Joyce Kessel, Villa Maria Coll., Buffalo, N.Y.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
?First published in the 1930s, these works, published here in economical paperback editions . . . are still considered definitive.?-Stages --This text refers to the Paperback edition.
"For those whose scholarship extends beyond the usual one-volume editions, this Hibbard Hamlet will prove the most fascinating of the decade."--Reg Saner, University of Colorado, Boulder
--This text refers to the Paperback edition.
The quintessential Shakespearean tragedy, whose highly charged confrontations and anguished soliloquies probe depths of human feeling rarely sounded in any art. Reprinted from an authoritative British edition complete with illuminating footnotes.
Text: Spanish --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
- The Annotated Shakespeare General Editor: Burton Raffel
Burton Raffel is Endowed Chair in Arts and Humanities and professor of English at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. Among his many edited and translated publications are Poems and Prose from the Old English, Yvain, and Perceval, all published by Yale University Press, and Beowulf, The Story of the Grail, The Annotated Milton, and Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. Harold Bloom, Sterling Professor of Humanities at Yale University and Berg Professor of English at New York University, is the author of many books, including The Western Canon, Shakespeare: The Invention of the Human, and, most recently, Hamlet: Poem Unlimited.
List of illustrations; Preface; Abbreviations and conventions; Introduction; Notes on the text; List of characters; The play; Textual analysis; Appendixes; Reading list.
Act 1 Scene 1 running scene 1
Enter Barnardo and Francisco, two sentinels Meeting
BARNARDO Who's there?
FRANCISCO Nay, answer me: stand and unfold yourself.
BARNARDO Long live the king!
FRANCISCO You come most carefully upon your hour.
BARNARDO 'Tis now struck twelve: get thee to bed, Francisco.
FRANCISCO For this relief much thanks: 'tis bitter cold,
And I am sick at heart.
BARNARDO Have you had quiet guard?
FRANCISCO Not a mouse stirring.
BARNARDO Well, goodnight.
If you do meet Horatio and Marcellus,
The rivals of my watch, bid them make haste.
Enter Horatio and Marcellus
FRANCISCO I think I hear them.- Stand! Who's there?
HORATIO Friends to this ground.
MARCELLUS And liegemen to the Dane.
FRANCISCO Give you goodnight.
MARCELLUS O, farewell, honest soldier. Who hath relieved you?
FRANCISCO Barnardo has my place. Give you goodnight.
MARCELLUS Holla! Barnardo!
BARNARDO Say, what, is Horatio there?
HORATIO A piece of him.
BARNARDO Welcome, Horatio: welcome, good Marcellus.
MARCELLUS What, has this thing appeared again tonight?
BARNARDO I have seen nothing.
MARCELLUS Horatio says 'tis but our fantasy,
And will not let belief take hold of him
Touching this dreaded sight twice seen of us:
Therefore I have entreated him along
With us to watch the minutes of this night,
That if again this apparition come,
He may approve our eyes and speak to it.
HORATIO Tush, tush, 'twill not appear.
BARNARDO Sit down awhile,
And let us once again assail your ears,
That are so fortified against our story,
What we two nights have seen.
HORATIO Well, sit we down,
And let us hear Barnardo speak of this.
BARNARDO Last night of all,
When yond same star that's westward from the pole
Had made his course t'illume that part of heaven
Where now it burns, Marcellus and myself,
The bell then beating one-
MARCELLUS Peace, break thee off.
Enter the Ghost
Look where it comes again.
BARNARDO In the same figure like the king that's dead.
MARCELLUS Thou art a scholar; speak to it, Horatio.
BARNARDO Looks it not like the king? Mark it, Horatio.
HORATIO Most like: it harrows me with fear and wonder.
BARNARDO It would be spoke to.
MARCELLUS Question it, Horatio.
HORATIO What art thou that usurp'st this time of night,
Together with that fair and warlike form
In which the majesty of buried Denmark
Did sometimes march? By heaven I charge thee speak!
MARCELLUS It is offended.
BARNARDO See, it stalks away.
HORATIO Stay! Speak, speak! I charge thee, speak! Exit the Ghost
MARCELLUS 'Tis gone and will not answer.
BARNARDO How now, Horatio? You tremble and look pale.
Is not this something more than fantasy?
What think you on't?
HORATIO Before my God, I might not this believe
Without the sensible and true avouch
Of mine own eyes.
MARCELLUS Is it not like the king?
HORATIO As thou art to thyself.
Such was the very armour he had on
When he th'ambitious Norway combated:
So frowned he once when, in an angry parle,
He smote the steelèd pole-axe on the ice.
MARCELLUS Thus twice before, and just at this dead hour,
With martial stalk hath he gone by our watch.
HORATIO In what particular thought to work I know not,
But in the gross and scope of my opinion,
This bodes some strange eruption to our state.
MARCELLUS Good now, sit down and tell me, he that knows,
Why this same strict and most observant watch
So nightly toils the subject of the land,
And why such daily cast of brazen cannon
And foreign mart for implements of war:
Why such impress of shipwrights, whose sore task
Does not divide the Sunday from the week:
What might be toward, that this sweaty haste
Doth make the night joint-labourer with the day:
Who is't that can inform me?
HORATIO That can I,
At least, the whisper goes so: our last king,
Whose image even but now appeared to us,
Was, as you know, by Fortinbras of Norway,
Thereto pricked on by a most emulate pride,
Dared to the combat, in which our valiant Hamlet -
For so this side of our known world esteemed him -
Did slay this Fortinbras, who by a sealed compact,
Well ratified by law and heraldry,
Did forfeit, with his life, all those his lands
Which he stood seized on to the conqueror:
Against the which, a moiety competent
Was gagèd by our king, which had returned
To the inheritance of Fortinbras,
Had he been vanquisher, as, by the same cov'nant,
And carriage of the article designed,
His fell to Hamlet. Now, sir, young Fortinbras,
Of unimprovèd mettle hot and full,
Hath in the skirts of Norway here and there
Sharked up a list of landless resolutes
For food and diet to some enterprise
That hath a stomach in't, which is no other -
And it doth well appear unto our state -
But to recover of us, by strong hand
And terms compulsative, those foresaid lands
So by his father lost: and this, I take it,
Is the main motive of our preparations,
The source of this our watch and the chief head
Of this post-haste and rummage in the land.
Enter Ghost again
But soft, behold! Lo, where it comes again!
I'll cross it, though it blast me. Stay, illusion!
If thou hast any sound or use of voice,
Speak to me:
If there be any good thing to be done
That may to thee do ease and grace to me,
Speak to me:
If thou art privy to thy country's fate -
Which, haply, foreknowing may avoid - O, speak!
Or if thou hast uphoarded in thy life
Extorted treasure in the womb of earth - [A cock crows]
For which, they say, you spirits oft walk in death -
Speak of it: stay and speak!- Stop it, Marcellus.
MARCELLUS Shall I strike at it with my partisan?
HORATIO Do, if it will not stand. They attempt to strike it
BARNARDO 'Tis here!
HORATIO 'Tis here!
MARCELLUS 'Tis gone! Exit Ghost
We do it wrong, being so majestical,
To offer it the show of violence,
For it is as the air invulnerable,
And our vain blows malicious mockery.
BARNARDO It was about to speak when the cock crew.
HORATIO And then it started like a guilty thing
Upon a fearful summons. I have heard
The cock, that is the trumpet to the day,
Doth with his lofty and shrill-sounding throat
Awake the god of day, and at his warning,
Whether in sea or fire, in earth or air,
Th'extravagant and erring spirit hies
To his confine: and of the truth herein
This present object made probation.
MARCELLUS It faded on the crowing of the cock.
Some say that ever gainst that season comes
Wherein our Saviour's birth is celebrated,
The bird of dawning singeth all night long,
And then, they say, no spirit can walk abroad:
The nights are wholesome, then no planets strike,
No fairy talks, nor witch hath power to charm,
So hallowed and so gracious is the time.
HORATIO So have I heard and do in part believe it.
But, look, the morn in russet mantle clad,
Walks o'er the dew of yon high eastern hill.
Break we our watch up, and by my advice,
Let us impart what we have seen tonight
Unto young Hamlet, for upon my life,
This spirit, dumb to us, will speak to him.
Do you consent we shall acquaint him with it,
As needful in our loves, fitting our duty?
MARCELLUS Let's do't, I pray, and I this morning know
Where we shall find him most conveniently. Exeunt
Act 1 Scene 2 running scene 2
Enter Claudius King of Denmark, Gertrude the Queen, Hamlet,
Polonius, Laertes and his sister Ophelia, Lords Attendant
KING Though yet of Hamlet our dear brother's death
The memory be green, and that it us befitted
To bear our hearts in grief and our whole kingdom
To be contracted in one brow of woe,
Yet so far hath discretion fought with nature
That we with wisest sorrow think on him
Together with remembrance of ourselves.
Therefore our sometime sister, now our queen,
Th'imperial jointress of this warlike state,
Have we, as 'twere with a defeated joy,
With one auspicious and one dropping eye,
With mirth in funeral and with dirge in marriage,
In equal scale weighing delight and dole,
Taken to wife; nor have we herein barred
Your better wisdoms, which have freely gone
With this affair along. For all, our thanks.
Now follows that you know young Fortinbras,
Holding a weak supposal of our worth,
Or thinking by our late dear brother's death
Our state to be disjoint and out of frame,
Colleaguèd with the dream of his advantage,
He hath not failed to pester us with message
Importing the surrender of those lands
Lost by his father, with all bonds of law,
To our most valiant brother. So much for him.
Enter Voltemand and Cornelius
Now for ourself and for this time of meeting,
Thus much the business is: we have here writ
To Norway, uncle of young Fortinbras -
Who, impotent and bedrid, scarcely hears
Of this his nephew's purpose - to suppress
His further gait herein, in that the levies,
The lists and full proportions, are all made
Out of his subject. And we here dispatch
You, good Cornelius, and you, Voltemand,
For bearing of this greeting to old Norway,
Giving to you no further personal power
To business with the king, more than the scope
Of these dilated articles allow. [Gives a paper]
Farewell, and let your haste commend your duty.
VOLTEMAND In that, and all things, will we show our duty.
KING We doubt it nothing: heartily farewell.-
Exeunt Voltemand and Cornelius
And now, Laertes, what's the news with you?
Hamlet is not only one of Shakespeare's greatest plays, but also the most fascinatingly problematical tragedy in world literature. First performed around 1600, this a gripping and exuberant drama of revenge, rich in contrasts and conflicts. Its violence alternates with introspection, its melancholy with humour, and its subtlety with spectacle. The Prince, Hamlet himself, is depicted as a complex, divided, introspective character. His reflections on death, morality and the very status of human beings make him 'the first modern man'.