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Home Reading Report
A Critical Documentary
On the film
by: William Shakespeare
Jhon Lee F. Farne
III-2 SSC (Cayabyab)
NOVEMBER 7, 2011
About the Play
Hamlet was written sometime between 1599 and 1601 and is often considered the greatest achievement of the world’s greatest playwright. It has been performed and translated more than any other play in the world. It has had more written about it – and has inspired more parodies and spin-offs -- than any other literary work. Its famous “To be or not to be” is the most quoted phrase in the English language. Hamlet has inspired 26 ballets, six operas and dozens of musical works. There have been more than 45 movie versions, including those by Laurence Olivier, Mel Gibson and Kenneth Branagh.
Hamlet is Shakespeare’s longest play. Uncut, it would take between four and a half and five hours to perform. Hamlet himself has 1,530 lines -- more than any other Shakespearean character.
Three different texts of Hamlet were published in Shakespeare’s time. The Revenge of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark was entered in the Stationer’s Register in 1603 and is now known as the First Quarto. It is considered to have been a pirated edition, assembled from the memories of actors, and is full of inaccuracies. A second Quarto appeared in 1604. Believed to have been printed from Shakespeare’s own manuscript, it was inscribed: “newly imprinted and enlarged to almost as much againe as it was, according to the true and perfect Coppie.” This version is the source of most modern editions. A revised, cut, version of the Second Quarto appeared in the First Folio of 1623. This version is believed to have been revised from a prompt book or actor’s copy of the script, since the lines that have been cut are literary rather than dramatic.
The main setting is Elsinore Castle in eastern Denmark, on the Øresund strait separating the Danish island of Sjælland (Zealand) from the Swedish province of Skåne and linking the Baltic Sea in the south to the Kattegat Strait in the north. Elsinore is a real town. Its Danish name is Helsingør. In Shakespeare's time, Elsinore was an extremely important port that fattened its coffers by charging a toll for ship passage through the Øresund strait. .......Modern Elsinore, or Helsingør, is directly west of a Swedish city with a similar name, Helsingborg (or Hälsingborg). Within the city limits of Elsinore is Kronborg Castle, said to be the model for the Elsinore Castle of Shakespeare' play. Construction on the castle began in 1574, when Shakespeare was ten, and ended in 1585, when Shakespeare was twenty-one. It is believed that actors known to Shakespeare performed at Kronborg Castle. Other settings inHamlet are a plain in Denmark, near Elsinore, and a churchyard near Elsinore. Offstage action in the play (referred to in dialogue) takes place on a ship bound for England from Denmark on which Hamlet replaces instructions to execute him (see the plot summary below) with instructions to execute his traitorous companions, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, and on a pirate ship that returns him to Denmark.
After the death of his beloved father King Hamlet, a grief-stricken Prince Hamlet returns home from his studies in Wittenburg to the Danish court at Elsinore. Hamlet senior’s brother, Claudius, has assumed the old king’s place in more ways than one -- as ruler of Denmark and as a second husband to Gertrude, Hamlet’s mother--with less than two months having passed since the king’s death. The prince, profoundly disturbed by the shocking speed of these events, struggles to find meaning in his radically altered world.
The old king’s ghost tells Hamlet that he was murdered by Claudius and exhorts him to kill Claudius in revenge; Hamlet vows to think of nothing else, but his restless intellect soon plunges him into uncertainty about the...
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