Over two million Shakespeare Shorts sold! Discover the world of Shakespeare with this collection of brilliant stories - perfect for readers of all ages. Prince Hamlet of Denmark is mourning for his father's untimely death - but everyone else seems to have moved on, including Hamlet's mother who is now married to his uncle, Claudius. But Hamlet is sure that Claudius is hiding something, and vows to avenge his father's death... A dramatic retelling of one of Shakespeare's most famous tragic plays.
The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark, often shortened to Hamlet (/ˈhæmlɨt/), is a tragedy written by William Shakespeare at an uncertain date between 1599 and 1602. Set in the Kingdom of Denmark, the play dramatises the revenge Prince Hamlet is called upon to wreak upon his uncle, Claudius by the ghost of Hamlet's father, King Hamlet. Claudius had murdered his own brother and seized the throne, also marrying his deceased brother's widow. Hamlet is Shakespeare's longest play, and is among the most powerful and influential tragedies in English literature, with a story capable of "seemingly endless retelling and adaptation by others." The play likely was one of Shakespeare's most popular works during his lifetime, and still ranks among his most performed, topping the performance list of the Royal Shakespeare Company and its predecessors in Stratford-upon-Avon since 1879. It has inspired many other writers – from Goethe and Dickens to Joyce and Murdoch – and has been described as "the world's most filmed story after Cinderella". The story of Shakespeare's Hamlet was derived from the legend of Amleth, preserved by 13th-century chronicler Saxo Grammaticus in his Gesta Danorum, as subsequently retold by 16th-century scholar François de Belleforest. Shakespeare may also have drawn on an earlier (hypothetical) Elizabethan play known today as the Ur-Hamlet, though some scholars believe he himself wrote the Ur-Hamlet, later revising it to create the version of Hamlet we now have. He almost certainly wrote his version of the title role for his fellow actor, Richard Burbage, the leading tragedian of Shakespeare's time. In the almost 400 years since its inception, the role has been performed by numerous highly acclaimed actors in each successive century. Three different early versions of the play are extant: the First Quarto (Q1, 1603); the Second Quarto (Q2, 1604); and the First Folio (F1, 1623). Each version includes lines and entire scenes missing from the others. The play's structure and depth of characterisation have inspired much critical scrutiny. One such example is the centuries-old debate about Hamlet's hesitation to kill his uncle, which some see as merely a plot device to prolong the action, but which others argue is a dramatisation of the complex philosophical and ethical issues that surround cold-blooded murder, calculated revenge, and thwarted desire. More recently, psychoanalytic critics have examined Hamlet's unconscious desires, while feminist critics have re-evaluated and attempted to rehabilitate the often maligned characters of Ophelia and Gertrude.
Ophelia lives to tell the tale of what happened at Elsinore "The nights at Elsinore are longer than anywhere else. I have stayed awake these many weeks, which has aided me greatly in my portrayal of one who has gone daft. For my skin is pale as fresh daisy petals, and my eyes sink inward, rimmed by bruise-like swells of purple. The servants and courtiers whisper that surely, Ophelia . . . most beautified Ophelia . . . has lost touch." It isn't easy dating a prince, especially when that prince is Hamlet. It could easily drive a young girl to madness, or so it would seem. Since the death of his father, Ophelia's beloved Hamlet has descended into a deep depression. To make matters worse, the Danish court is filled with lies and deceit. Was Hamlet's father murdered by King Claudius? Is Polonius truly the father of Laertes? Who can be trusted as a friend? And who is to be feared as an enemy? It is up to clever Ophelia, with the help of her friends, to find a way to save her prince and herself. Only then can she finally reveal the truth about what really happened in the famed castle at Elsinore. With Shakespeare's classic play as a frame, Lisa Fiedler gives voice to Ophelia in a gripping novel full of romance, ghosts, and a touch of alchemy.