Book/Play: Hamlet


My few prior attempts to read Shakespeare quickly produced glazed eyes and little understanding. At the time I figured I just wasn’t smart enough to understand it. Now I realize that most of it is in a different language. This book showed me the miracle of footnotes that explain strange words and words whose usages have changed. It really helps bring the material to life, and you actually feel smart when occasionally you guess a meaning correctly before peeking. With the assistance of the footnotes I was able to enjoy reading the play, and pretty much follow the story, which I figure is a good start with the bard. I know much of the humor still passed me by. I know, for instance, that Hamlet’s dialog with the clowns where he exclaims, “Alas, poor Yoric…” to one of the clown’s exumed skulls is funny, I can’t help laughing, but I still don’t entirely understand why.

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