A Groundling's Guide to Shakespeare's Hamlet

A Groundling's Guide to Shakespeare's Hamlet

by Hilary K. Justice


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... an infectiously readable and practical guide to one of Shakespeare's very greatest plays. -David Bevington (The University of Chicago)

A Groundling's Guide provides a complete introductory course in how to read (and teach) Shakespeare generally and Hamlet in particular. This guide invites readers into conversation with the play, helping them develop the skills to overcome "Shakespeare Fear" by demonstrating how Shakespeare's dramatic language works and providing opportunities to explore Hamlet's many mysteries (Hamlet's delay, Gertrude's implication in Claudius's crimes, and whether or not Ophelia can actually have a backbone without breaking the spirit of the original).

As David Bevington, editor of The Complete Works of Shakespeare (Longman) and Chair of Theater and Performance Studies at the University of Chicago, writes,

"The title, A Groundling's Guide to Hamlet, catches the wit and theatrical savvy of this book's author. The groundlings (Shakespeare's own invented term, apparently) were those who stood in the pit at Shakespeare's Globe Theatre, around the stage, close to the action and avidly involved in the actions they witnessed. How can we as audience and as readers capture what it was to be a groundling in an original production of this amazing play?

Justice, having been actor, director, and teacher of drama and literature at both the high school and university levels, ... explore[s] with the reader how the characters in Hamlet speak to one another, and why, and who they are. How much does Gertrude know, or Ophelia? When is a soliloquy not a soliloquy? Is Hamlet a do-nothing procrastinator or is he not? (A hint: he is not.) The model always is how the play was produced on stage.

How can we adapt to the primarily aural culture of that Shakespeare's theatrical world and to a language that is our own and yet is distanced from us by nearly half a millennium? Read this excellent book and find out."

Using this guide, 21st-century readers can discover (or rediscover) the joys of Shakespeare's language and achieve the enthusiasm and fluency of Shakespeare's groundlings-his first fans and the backbone of his dramatic success.

A companion guide to Four Tragedies: Hamlet, Othello, King Lear, Macbeth
(Bantam Classics), David Bevington and David Scott Castan, editors

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781940699066
Publisher: Story Spring Publishing
Publication date: 12/29/2014
Pages: 216
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.46(d)

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