Undoubtedly the most famous of all of Shakespeare's plays, Hamlet remains one of the most enduring but also enigmatic pieces of western literature. The story of Hamlet, the young Prince of Denmark, his tortured relationship with his mother, and his quest to avenge his father's murder at the hand of his brother Claudius has fascinated writers and audiences ever since it was written around 1600.
For many years interest focused on both Hamlet's inability to avenge his father's death, claiming that "the native hue of resolution / Is sicklied o'er with the pale cast of thought", and, according to none other than Freud, his oedipal fixation with his mother. However, more recently critics have turned their attention to Hamlet's bold theatrical self-reflexivity (most famously reflected in the performance of "The Mousetrap"), its fascination with issues of theology and Renaissance humanism, and its dense, complex poetic language. What is so remarkable about the play is the way in which it tends to uncannily reflect the concerns of different epochs. As a result, Hamlet has been at different moments defined as a romantic rebel, an angst-ridden existentialist, a paralysed intellectual and an ambivalent New Man. Whatever subsequent generations make of Hamlet, they are unlikely to exhaust the possibilities of this most extraordinary play. --Jerry Brotton
'Cambridge has come up with an excellent new series, Shakespeare in Production, which is going to be invaluable to anybody studying, acting, or producing his plays.' Plays and Players Applause Magazine
'Shakespeare in Production … is … ideally suited to people like me: people as interested in the stage history of a Shakespearean play as in its text. What distinguishes these editions, and makes them of particular interest to drama and theatre departments, is their unique concentration on theatrical production.' Studies in Theatre Production
'An extensive performance history is followed by the text, with an accompanying compendium of notable interpretations of individual scenes and lines. For Hamlet, rarely absent from stage or screen, the material is exhaustive, and Hargood's commentary swarms with possibilities … result is Hamlet as a vivid palimpsest.' Books
'Hapgood's careful scolarship and engaging writing throughout result in a volume that all libraries will want to own.' Choice
'I cannot recommend too highly the whole series (a bargain at £16.99 for each play) to all theatre lovers, theatregoers, theatre practitioners, and anybody who enjoys Shakespeare.' Robert Tanitch, What's on in London
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