About the Book
Hamlet (1601) is a tragedy by William Shakespeare. Inspired by Danish historian Saxo Grammatica’s legend of Amleth, which Shakespeare likely encountered in a retelling by French scholar Francois de Belleforest, Hamlet was written sometime between 1599 and 1601. Alongside Romeo and Juliet, it is one of Shakespeare’s most performed plays and has served as source material for countless film and television adaptations. “There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, / Than are dreamt of in your philosophy.” For his wit and wordplay alone, William Shakespeare is often considered the greatest writer to ever work in the English language. Where he truly triumphs, however, is in his ability to portray complex human emotions, how these emotions contribute to relationships, and how these relationships interact with politics, culture, and religion. Hamlet is a story of things seen and unseen. Ghosts, assassins, shadowy plots, a play within a play, lengthy asides—its universe swirls with paranoia and fear, allowing us to enter the mind of its troubled protagonist. When the ghost of his father appears on the castle rampart, Danish prince Hamlet grows increasingly suspicious of his uncle Polonius’ role in the former king’s death. As his relationships with Ophelia, his lover, and Gertrude, his mother, begin to sour, Hamlet loses sight of his duties as a leader.
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