PDF Hamlet (The Modern Shakespeare: The Original Play with a Modern Translation)

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I never would've gotten through this play without you!!! Having the modern text on the opposite page was really helpful to understand the play and made reading it an enjoyable experience instead of a tedious chore.

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I don't normally read Shakespeare because of the language he used but if No Fear Shakespeare can make it this easy, I might reconsider. Hamlet is a play that follows the story of a young prince, named Hamlet, who tries to deal with the circumstances of his lovable father's death.

When we first meet Hamlet, his fathers death is still fresh and are soon informed that the king's demise may have been more suspicious than it originally seemed.

We, as readers, then follow Hamlet as he vows revenge, descends into madness and depression and experiences a heavy betrayal until we arrive at the final confrontation. Hamlet deals with the themes of murder, depression, suicide, betrayal, love and madness. Until the late Victorian era, stage performances usually observed the setting and period implied in the play, but they transformed the language.

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Playwrights polished up his rusty parts for performance, pruning his unruly plots to fit a French-fuelled demand for dramatic unities, tweaking his politics to suit an age wary of further unrest, recasting his roles to accommodate newly licensed female actors, and rewriting the rough bits that violated neoclassical decorum.

Even the eighteenth-century vogue for printed editions of Shakespeare, which often sought to rescue the plays from the perceived travesties of the playhouse, found his work faulty. As the scholar Michael Dobson has argued, canonization fuelled adaptation: if Shakespeare was the newly minted national poet, his plays had to be improved to be worthy of his stature.

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So what changed? German Romantics had something to do with it.

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Rather than subject Shakespeare to critical standards, Shakespeare became the standard. Then, with the rise of English as an academic discipline in the Victorian era, scholars took over the business of editing Shakespeare, working to establish more historically authentic texts, rather than correcting poetic defects—an editing goal matched by the nineteenth-century taste for spectacular antiquarian stage productions. John Philip Kemble inaugurated a tradition of playing Macbeth in a Scottish kilt.

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If witty intricacies appeared opaque, that was the fault not of the poet but of the audience who failed to grasp his genius. Even in a climate of reverence for Shakespeare, the authentic text of his plays remains elusive.

Hamlet: The Original Play with a Modern Translation

No manuscripts for the plays survive, so contemporary editions and performance scripts cobble together the most plausible passages from early quartos and folios, modernizing the spelling and punctuation and relying on the history of editorial emendations to clarify obscure cruxes. There is also the tricky business of attribution for scripts that appear to be collaborations between Shakespeare and other playwrights.

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Every printing of an early modern book was slightly different; hence the oddity of the Norton Facsimile edition of the First Folio, which reproduced the cleanest version of each page from different copies, generating the facsimile of a volume that never existed.