Thursday, 17 March 2011

Shakespeare Reading Challenge - Hamlet

Nicki Greenberg has turned Hamlet into a beautifully illustrated graphic novel. And it still contains the whole text, as far as I can tell.

Before reading it I was wondering if the pictures would make the play easier to read, however I don’t think it did. It was a bit easier to remember who each character was, but often you didn’t have character names for pages after a character had appeared. I also think that a new reader to Shakespeare would be attracted to the book, but I fear that they would put it down after a couple of pages, as the pictures don’t drastically diminish the difficulty reading this mentally demanding play.

It has taken me many readings to get through Hamlet, and I finally finished it for the first time in Spring 2009. Many unsuccessful attempts made me think Hamlet pointless and dismissive of the hype around the play. When I finally finished it I found Hamlet interesting but I still would not recommend it to other people as I found it physically painful to read. Reading Hamlet again, I have been able to enjoy it more, and understand it better, but I still wouldn’t recommend people to read the dithering Dane.

The pages I enjoyed most were of Ophelia’s decent into madness and death. It’s a bit in the play that seems to dash past, but in pictures, having the flowers grow out of the page, breaking the story squares adds gravity to a serious part which zooms past.

1 comment:

Elena said...


Cool graphic novel version of Hamlet--I had no idea it existed! Welcome to the challenge!

I think you asked if the performance substitution included acting in Shakespeare or if it was just viewing it. Either is fine.