An integral part of our shared literary heritage
One of the greatest works of theater ever penned, hamlet has transcended its time and become an integral part of our shared literary heritage. in an age that didn't brook indecision in a hero, shakespeare dared to make his prince of denmark an ambiguous, tortured soul -- a more modern protagonist than he could have known. his tale of deceit and revenge could, but for its language, be the fuel of any present-day crime novel. but the language! shakespeare's gift for turning a lasting phrase is legendary, but in hamlet he outdoes himself. people who have never read shakespeare know parts of his "to be or not to be..." solilioquy and can mangle long stretches of polonius' speeches as if they'd been written yesterday. perhaps only the bible is quoted more often and more widely than this play. as with any of shakespeare's works for the stage, hamlet begs to be seen or listened to, not read; unlike the sonnets, the plays can be heavy reading, and much of the joy lies in the music and rhythm of the words. however you consume this classic, you must if you have any regard for drama, literature or the english language.