Cover image for Hamlet
Shakespeare, William, 1564-1616.
Publication Information:
New Haven : Yale University Press, [2003]

Physical Description:
xxxi, 249 pages ; 21 cm
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PR2807.A2 R34 2003 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

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The Annotated Shakespeare series allows readers to fully understand and enjoy the rich plays of the world's greatest dramatist. One of the most frequently read and performed of all stage works, Shakespeare's Hamlet is unsurpassed in its complexity and richness. This fully annotated version of Hamlet makes the play completely accessible to readers in the 21st century. It has been carefully assembled with students, teachers and the general reader in mind. usage of Elizabethan English, pronunciation, prosody and alternative readings of phrases and lines. His on-page annotations provide readers with all the tools they need to comprehend the play and begin to explore its many possible interpretations. previous versions of the Hamlet story, along with an analysis of the characters of Hamlet and Ophelia. And in a concluding essay, Harold Bloom meditates on the originality of Shakespeare's achievement.

Author Notes

William Shakespeare, 1564 - 1616 Although there are many myths and mysteries surrounding William Shakespeare, a great deal is actually known about his life. He was born in Stratford-Upon-Avon, son of John Shakespeare, a prosperous merchant and local politician and Mary Arden, who had the wealth to send their oldest son to Stratford Grammar School.

At 18, Shakespeare married Anne Hathaway, the 27-year-old daughter of a local farmer, and they had their first daughter six months later. He probably developed an interest in theatre by watching plays performed by traveling players in Stratford while still in his youth. Some time before 1592, he left his family to take up residence in London, where he began acting and writing plays and poetry.

By 1594 Shakespeare had become a member and part owner of an acting company called The Lord Chamberlain's Men, where he soon became the company's principal playwright. His plays enjoyed great popularity and high critical acclaim in the newly built Globe Theatre. It was through his popularity that the troupe gained the attention of the new king, James I, who appointed them the King's Players in 1603. Before retiring to Stratford in 1613, after the Globe burned down, he wrote more than three dozen plays (that we are sure of) and more than 150 sonnets. He was celebrated by Ben Jonson, one of the leading playwrights of the day, as a writer who would be "not for an age, but for all time," a prediction that has proved to be true.

Today, Shakespeare towers over all other English writers and has few rivals in any language. His genius and creativity continue to astound scholars, and his plays continue to delight audiences. Many have served as the basis for operas, ballets, musical compositions, and films. While Jonson and other writers labored over their plays, Shakespeare seems to have had the ability to turn out work of exceptionally high caliber at an amazing speed. At the height of his career, he wrote an average of two plays a year as well as dozens of poems, songs, and possibly even verses for tombstones and heraldic shields, all while he continued to act in the plays performed by the Lord Chamberlain's Men. This staggering output is even more impressive when one considers its variety. Except for the English history plays, he never wrote the same kind of play twice. He seems to have had a good deal of fun in trying his hand at every kind of play.

Shakespeare wrote 154 sonnets, all published on 1609, most of which were dedicated to his patron Henry Wriothsley, The Earl of Southhampton. He also wrote 13 comedies, 13 histories, 6 tragedies, and 4 tragecomedies. He died at Stratford-upon-Avon April 23, 1616, and was buried two days later on the grounds of Holy Trinity Church in Stratford. His cause of death was unknown, but it is surmised that he knew he was dying.

(Bowker Author Biography)



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 Barnardo? BARNARDO He. 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. Exit Francisco 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. 'Tis strange. 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? You told us of some suit: what is't, Laertes? You cannot speak of reason to the Dane And lose your voice: what wouldst thou beg, Laertes, That shall not be my offer, not thy asking? The head is not more native to the heart, The hand more instrumental to the mouth, Than is the throne of Denmark to thy father. What wouldst thou have, Laertes? LAERTES Dread my lord, Your leave and favour to return to France, From whence though willingly I came to Denmark To show my duty in your coronation, Yet now I must confess, that duty done, My thoughts and wishes bend again towards France And bow them to your gracious leave and pardon. KING Have you your father's leave? What says Polonius? POLONIUS He hath, my lord: I do beseech you, give him leave to go. KING Take thy fair hour, Laertes: time be thine, And thy best graces spend it at thy will.- But now, my cousin Hamlet, and my son- HAMLET A little more than kin and less than kind. KING How is it that the clouds still hang on you? HAMLET Not so, my lord:- I am too much i'th'sun. [ Aside? ] GERTRUDE Good Hamlet, cast thy nightly colour off, And let thine eye look like a friend on Denmark. Do not forever with thy veilèd lids Seek for thy noble father in the dust: Thou know'st 'tis common, all that lives must die, Passing through nature to eternity. HAMLET Ay, madam, it is common. GERTRUDE If it be, Why seems it so particular with thee? HAMLET 'Seems', madam? Nay it is: I know not 'seems'. 'Tis not alone my inky cloak, good mother, Nor customary suits of solemn black, Nor windy suspiration of forced breath, No, nor the fruitful river in the eye, Nor the dejected 'haviour of the visage, Together with all forms, moods, shows of grief, That can denote me truly: these indeed seem, For they are actions that a man might play, But I have that within which passeth show; These but the trappings and the suits of woe. KING 'Tis sweet and commendable in your nature, Hamlet, To give these mourning duties to your father: But you must know your father lost a father, That father lost, lost his, and the survivor bound In filial obligation for some term To do obsequious sorrow. But to persever In obstinate condolement is a course Of impious stubbornness: 'tis unmanly grief: It shows a will most incorrect to heaven, A heart unfortified, a mind impatient, An understanding simple and unschooled. For what we know must be and is as common As any the most vulgar thing to sense, Why should we in our peevish opposition Take it to heart? Fie, 'tis a fault to heaven, A fault against the dead, a fault to nature, To reason most absurd, whose common theme Is death of fathers, and who still hath cried, From the first corpse till he that died today, 'This must be so.' We pray you throw to earth This unprevailing woe, and think of us As of a father; for let the world take note, You are the most immediate to our throne, And with no less nobility of love Than that which dearest father bears his son, Do I impart towards you. For your intent In going back to school in Wittenberg, It is most retrograde to our desire, And we beseech you bend you to remain Here in the cheer and comfort of our eye, Our chiefest courtier, cousin, and our son. GERTRUDE Let not thy mother lose her prayers, Hamlet: I prithee stay with us, go not to Wittenberg. HAMLET I shall in all my best obey you, madam. KING Why, 'tis a loving and a fair reply. Be as ourself in Denmark.- Madam, come: This gentle and unforced accord of Hamlet Sits smiling to my heart, in grace whereof, No jocund health that Denmark drinks today But the great cannon to the clouds shall tell, And the king's rouse the heavens shall bruit again, Re-speaking earthly thunder. Come away. Exeunt. Hamlet remains HAMLET O, that this too too solid flesh would melt, Thaw and resolve itself into a dew! Or that the Everlasting had not fixed His canon gainst self-slaughter! O God, O God! How weary, stale, flat and unprofitable Seem to me all the uses of this world! Fie on't! O, fie, fie! 'Tis an unweeded garden That grows to seed: things rank and gross in nature Possess it merely. That it should come to this! But two months dead: nay, not so much, not two. So excellent a king, that was to this Hyperion to a satyr, so loving to my mother That he might not beteem the winds of heaven Visit her face too roughly. Heaven and earth, Must I remember? Why, she would hang on him As if increase of appetite had grown By what it fed on, and yet within a month - Let me not think on't: frailty, thy name is woman! - A little month, or ere those shoes were old With which she followed my poor father's body, Like Niobe, all tears: why she, even she - O, heaven! A beast that wants discourse of reason Would have mourned longer - married with mine uncle, My father's brother but no more like my father Than I to Hercules. Within a month? Ere yet the salt of most unrighteous tears Had left the flushing of her gallèd eyes, She married. O, most wicked speed, to post With such dexterity to incestuous sheets! It is not nor it cannot come to good: But break my heart, for I must hold my tongue. Enter Horatio, Barnardo and Marcellus From the Trade Paperback edition. Excerpted from Hamlet by William Shakespeare All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.

Table of Contents

List of illustrationsp. xi
General editors' prefacep. xiv
Prefacep. xix
Introductionp. 1
The challenges of Hamletp. 1
The challenge of acting Hamletp. 2
The challenge of editing Hamletp. 8
The challenge to the greatness of Hamlet: Hamlet versus Learp. 13
Hamlet in our timep. 17
The soliloquies and the modernity of Hamletp. 18
Hamlet and Freudp. 26
Reading against the Hamlet traditionp. 32
Hamlet in Shakespeare's timep. 36
Hamlet at the turn of the centuryp. 36
The challenge of dating Hamletp. 43
Was there an earlier Hamlet play?p. 44
Are there any early references to Shakespeare's play?p. 47
Can me date Hamlet in relation to other contemporary plays?p. 49
Hamlet's first performancesp. 53
The story of Hamletp. 59
Murder most foulp. 59
An antic dispositionp. 64
'Sentences', speeches and thoughtsp. 70
The composition of Hamletp. 74
The quartos and the Foliop. 74
The quartosp. 74
The First Foliop. 78
The relationship of Q2 to Q1p. 80
The relationship of F to Q2p. 82
What, then, of Q1?p. 85
Editorial practicep. 87
Why a three-text edition?p. 91
Hamlet on stage and screenp. 95
Hamlet and his pointsp. 95
Enter the directorp. 109
Hamlet and politicsp. 115
Novel Hamletsp. 122
Hamlet meets Fielding, Goethe, Dickens and othersp. 122
Hamlet and women novelistsp. 126
Prequels and sequelsp. 131
The continuing mystery of Hamletp. 132
The Tragical History of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark The Second Quarto (1604-5)p. 139
1 Folio-only passagesp. 465
2 The nature of the textsp. 474
The early printed textsp. 474
The early quartosp. 474
The First Foliop. 482
The quartos and folios after 1623p. 485
Modern editors at workp. 486
The written textp. 487
The performed textp. 493
The printed textp. 494
The multiple textp. 496
A common position?p. 500
Our procedure as editors of Hamletp. 506
Determining transmissionp. 506
Editorial principlesp. 509
Lineation and punctuationp. 518
Textual tablesp. 523
3 Editorial conventions and sample passagesp. 533
Conventionsp. 533
Proper namesp. 533
Act and scene numbersp. 533
Commentaryp. 533
Textual notesp. 534
Sample passagesp. 536
4 The act division at 3.4/4.1p. 543
The editorial traditionp. 543
The theatrical traditionp. 548
Our decisions for the new Arden Hamletp. 551
5 Castingp. 553
6 Musicp. 566
Abbreviations and referencesp. 569
Abbreviations used in notesp. 569
Works by and partly by Shakespearep. 569
Editions of Shakespeare collatedp. 571
Other works citedp. 576
Indexp. 599