Friday, January 13, 2012


HamletHamlet – William Shakespeare
Evan’s ESS = 8 out of 10
Erin’s ESS = out of 10
Content = PG (Adult Content, Fiery Speech, High Death Count, Ghosts, Madness) 

“To be, or not to be: that is the question.”

“Conscience doth make cowards of us all.”

Why: Something IS rotten in the state of Denmark.  Only, after finishing Hamlet, we’re still trying to place our finger it....  The good news - now that we have a full understanding of Hamlet, we can go back and read Something Rotten (Book 4 in the Thursday Next series) and laugh at all the hilarious references we originally missed!

On the urging of his father’s ghost, the young Prince of Denmark sets out at once to seek revenge on his uncle for poisoning said father.  Errr.... on second thought he decides to brood on the subject and quickly plummets into a puddle of despair.  Nay, on with the original plot of vengeance!   Errr... wait, more brooding.  Honestly, there is a great deal of brooding before Hamlet finally takes action.  What’s his decision?  Let’s just say there’s a reason this play is a tragedy....

Well, we’re happy to report that Shakespeare’s two for two in our household.  We loved Hamlet!  We had no idea what any of the characters were saying, but we loved it!  Only joking (kind of).  Actually, we did rely heavily on scene outlines, but even though we went into each act with full disclosure, the writing was extraordinary.  Still, did Shakespeare really have to use words like hugger-mugger?  Sometimes it feels like he’s trying to be difficult on purpose.  We refuse to believe that our own vocabulary could be lacking...

The imagery formed from the writing heighted our experience.  The first scene with the guards on the castle wall and the ghost was perfect in setting the tone for everything that followed.  In all of his glorious madness, Hamlet was a fascinating character with one of the most elaborate and brilliant ideas for investigating a person’s innocence: stage a play.  That should seriously be the first chapter in Vengeance 101.  If only we here at Two Bibliomaniacs had the means to confront any wrongdoers by means of stage production.  This has now become our number 1 new resolution in 2012.  We’re completely off track.... sorry. 

Onward with Shakespeare Reading Month!  Onward towards the comedies!  It will kind of be strange to read something by Shakespeare where a majority of the cast remains intact.  

Editor’s Note:  Seriously, how many people knew that the definition of Hugger-mugger is secrecy or confusion, muddle?


  1. I love Hamlet, but I definitely think I need to see it performed because at some points I'm like ...What?! I get confused basically, but its still awesome :)

  2. Glad you enjoyed it! There's definitely a language barrier, so thank goodness for the Folger editions. I've read several Shakespeare plays with them and they're so helpful. Don't forget the classic graveyard scene ("Alas, poor Yorick") :D

  3. I love Hamlet, so glad to see you enjoyed it as well. It sounds like you are really enjoying Shakespeare Reading Month!

  4. Wow, it has been a long time since I've seen a review of Hamlet (since high school I think.) Cool idea to return to the classics.

    I’m a writer, book lover, and your newest blog follower! My blog is Life of Lois Feel free to stop on by.

    P.S. It’s me who just sent you book request. :)

  5. Hugger-mugger is new to me. Brilliant though, I am going to use any excuse to use that at some point. Although I am sure it will just get me strange looks.

    This is my next one and I'm looking forward to it. If you are going for a comedy I recommend Much Ado About Nothing. No one dies! Plus I didn't have to read the explanations in the back that often. One of his easier plays I think (no hugger-mugger). Great for beginners like myself.

  6. This was the first Shakespeare play I read out of high school(. And I loved it!! (It's also the only Shakespeare play I've read out of high school so far. More later in the month!)

    Anyway, it's awesome. I want to reread and saw it performed live by a Shakespeare company a few months ago. You should definitely do that some day. It's even better live, and the performance makes the words easy to understand. I'm not sure why. :)

  7. Love this review. It has been years since I've read this play - but one reason that I love my Complete Book of Shakespeare is that there is a column on each page which effectively "translates" Shakespeare's English into something more like our own. Very helpful!