I've read a few of the more popular Shakespeare texts and still have many more to read. I would love to fully complete his entire collection due to the brilliance of the bard. But you didn't want to read about my meetings with Shakespeare did you? You want a review of Hamlet. And a review you shall have as soon as I...
Here we are. Review generated.
When I first picked up Hamlet I thought to myself: 'This will be just like every other of Shakespeare's plays. I'll enjoy the story and find the prose detractive.' I was proved otherwise.
Hamlet has the usual archaic prose of Shakespeare yet the brilliance of the story shone through despite the time difference. Where Romeo and Juliet was too romantically tragic; Midsummer Night's Dream was too fanciful and light; and Macbeth was too dark and gritty Hamlet struck a fine balance between the three. It was dark, but not too dark. It was fun and flighty but not too airy-fairy. It had romance and tragedy but not too much romance and the tragedy was perfectly composed. In short Hamlet was the perfect amalgamation of the other plays' themes, motifs, ideas and symbols.
Hamlet was gritty and yet at the same time it was enjoyable. Where I enjoyed the language used in Macbeth I found it too grim. Where I enjoyed the language in Hamlet I found it perfectly balanced between hauntingly reminiscent and grim and dark. It's obviously no secret from the five stars and my review that yes I very much enjoyed Hamlet. A good thing too since I actually bought the book.
I would recommend this to anyone with an interest in Shakespeare or perhaps curious as to what the Bard can say to modern audiences. For the powerful allure of his writing is that the narratives he composes are perfect for both audiences then and now. So give Hamlet a try, perhaps while eating an omelet on a piece of toast-let. (That's just bad... oh look now I'm commenting on my own work.)
The last was added at a later date:
In further musing (I have been watching the excellent David Tennant version of Hamlet) I realised that I omitted to mention that Hamlet is in my eyes a very strong exploration of mortality and life. In many ways it questions what it is to be human. It features the ghost of a King, an untrustworthy uncle, and the famous scene when Hamlet remarks upon the skull of a man he once knew to be living. In many ways Hamlet as a play challenges that men are not all they appear and in others it analyses the brevity of existence. It is one of the more morbid of all Shakespeare's plays but also one of the most fascinating.