Shakespeare fits in the medieval time period we’re covering this year in homeschooling. This was the play Mr. Curiosity chose to read. I read it along with him. I think this is my first time experiencing Hamlet.
Genre: classic play
Length: I have a book that contains all of Shakespeare’s works. This took up 41 pages of double-columned text in that book
Setting: Denmark, late 1500s
Summary: Short version: Death, betrayal, and madness in the high courts of Denmark
Long version: The King of Denmark has died and a month later, the Queen marries his brother, Claudius. A ghost appears on the castle walls. It is the old King and it reveal to Hamlet, the Prince, that he was poisoned by Claudius. Hamlet is devastated to discover what the ghost said is true. At the same time, he falls in love with Ophelia. He’s acting oddly and the King thinks he’s gone mad. Hamlet is sent away to England. Claudius secretly sends a message to the King of England to kill Hamlet when he gets there. Hamlet finds the message and changes it to kill the messengers instead. Ophelia drowns after Hamlet rejects her. Her brother, Laertes, is furious. When Hamlet returns to Denmark, Claudius and Laertes scheme to kill him with a poisoned blade during a duel or a poisoned cup of wine. All the principle players are poisoned during the duel and die.
Final thoughts: A very enjoyable play that I now want to see performed. It gets a little confusing in the middle with all the professions of madness. Is Hamlet really mad, or just putting on an act so Claudius doesn’t kill him? He’s in love with Ophelia but then rejects her and then she acts insane and drowns herself. I must admit, I liked the final act the best when everyone dies. The poison doesn’t work out as well as Laertes and Claudius hoped. Hamlet is poisoned, but so are they and the Queen. Then, Fortinbras shows up to announce the messengers, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are also dead. Fortinbras definitely confused me. I thought he was an enemy of Denmark, but he kept showing up with a group of soldiers around him. It was great to hear the context of several great Shakespearean quotes like, “To be or not to be,” or, “Alas, poor Yorick.” Next we’re going to read Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead. I also need to get To Be or Not To Be: A Chooseable-Path Adventure from the library again. Its a choose-your-own-adventure version of Hamlet.
Title comes from: The main character’s name
Reading challenges fulfilled: book #40 for 2019
If you’re interested in purchasing the book, you can click on the cover image to follow an Amazon affiliate link to the book and thanks for supporting my blog!