William Shakespeare Love Quotes

Shakespeare Love QuotesWilliam Shakespeare.

Is there a person in this world that has not heard that name?

Four centuries after his death, people still celebrate him as one of the best writers of all times.

He was born in 1564, and lived for 52 fruitful years, during which he left an inerasable mark on literary history.

The exact day when he was born is unknown, but at least we know that he was baptized on the 26th of April, so he must have been born at the beginning of the year.

When he was only 18, he got married and had three children.

However, no one knows much about his private life since not many records about it are available.

This has provoked people to question his identity and everything connected to it: his beliefs, his appearance, as well as something more intimate like his sexuality.

The quest for Shakespeare’s identity is at times called the greatest literary mystery of all time and it has provoked many debates throughout the years.

Maybe the most critical question when it comes to a literary context that has ever been asked is the Shakespeare authorship question.

Many people believe that the true Shakespeare was, in fact, a commoner, and the man that we attribute these literary works to was only a mask for the author who for some reason did not want to accept credit for what he wrote.

The reason that has fueled such beliefs is what we mentioned as scarce personal biography, which does not make any sense if you just think about his legendary status as a writer.

This question seems to provoke the public more than it provokes scholars, and Shakespeareologists dismiss these claims and do not put too much thought into it.

Although his identity is an exciting mystery (that even was the source of one Hollywood movie), we are more interested in all the contributions he made to the world of literature.

What is interesting about Shakespeare is that he is both a literary genius and highly commercial.

Shakespeare’s thoughts are widely quoted, sometimes even without people knowing where they are deriving from.

Speaking of which, in today’s post we will make a selection of some of the most powerful and memorable Shakespeare love quotes.

Sadly we do not know much about his life, so we cannot be certain about whether the thoughts we will quote are the author’s or they belong to his plays’ characters.

But, no matter who spoke them, they are revealing deep and perennial truths about the world, as well as about the nature of love.

Let’s start with a selection of the most famous quotes that this genius ever penned.

William Shakespeare Love Quotes – Top 10

Could ever hear by tale or history, the course of true love never did run smooth. Click To Tweet Love is a smoke and is made with the fume of sighs. Click To Tweet Love is blind, and lovers cannot see, the pretty follies that themselves commit. Click To Tweet Her passions are made of nothing but the finest part of pure love. Click To Tweet She loved me for the dangers I had passed, and I loved her that she did pity them. Click To Tweet I know no ways to mince it in love, but directly to say - I love you. Click To Tweet You have witchcraft in your lips. Click To Tweet I had rather hear my dog bark at a crow than a man swear he loves me. Click To Tweet To be wise and love, exceeds man’s might; that dwells with gods above. Click To Tweet I pray you, do not fall in love with me, for I am falser than vows made in wine. Click To Tweet

That was a pretty fine collection, wasn’t it?

To be honest, it was a tough pick.

Thankfully, we are nowhere near done!

Shakespeare has penned so many plays during his career, that we have enough material to keep going.

He was such a big figure that a whole subject was created around his writings, called Shakespearology, that many modern universities offer in their syllabus. One would expect that since he has made up various words that we know use in our everyday language like addiction, or fashionable, as well as many more.

If you just read his plays, you will understand that this man was wise and he had something to say. He always examines unchanging and everlasting subjects such as love, hate and revenge.

But until you take a sip of the fine Shakespeare juices, he has spilled in his plays, enjoy yourself with some more quotes about love and all the truths surrounding it.

Quotes by William Shakespeare – Romeo and Juliet

My only love sprung from my only hate! Too early seen unknown, and known too late! Prodigious birth of love it is to me, that I must love a loathed enemy.

Good night, good night! Parting is such sweet sorrow, That I shall say good night till it be morrow.

See how she leans her cheek upon her hand, O that I were a glove upon that hand that I might touch that cheek!

Under love’s heavy burden do I sink.

Is love a tender thing? it is too rough, Too rude, too boisterous, and it pricks like thorn.

O, swear not by the moon,  th’ inconstant moon, that monthly changes in her circle orb, lest that thy love prove likewise variable. Don’t swear by the moon.

Quotes by William Shakespeare – All’s Well When It Ends Well

But love that comes too late, like a remorseful pardon slowly carried, to the great sender turns a sour offence.

Quotes by William Shakespeare – A Midsummer’s Night Dream

My heart is true as steel.

And yet, to say the truth, reason and love keep little company together nowadays.

Cupid is a knavish lad, thus to make poor females mad.

This passion, and the death of a dear friend, would go near to make a man look sad.

I am amazed and know not what to say.

Good night, sweet friend: thy love ne’er alter, till thy sweet life end.

Quotes by William Shakespeare – Much Ado About Nothing

Some Cupid kills with arrows, some with traps.

Speak low, if you speak love.

That I neither feel how she should be loved nor know how she should be worthy is the opinion that fire cannot melt out of me. I will die in it at the stake.

Quotes by William Shakespeare – Hamlet

Doubt thou the stars are fire. Doubt that the sun doth move. Doubt truth to be a liar. But never doubt I love.

I loved Ophelia. Forty thousand brothers could not, with all their quantity of love, make up my sum.

Quotes by William Shakespeare – Twelfth Night

If music be the food of love, play on. 

Love sought is good, but giv’n unsought is better.

Quotes by William Shakespeare – As You Like It

All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players.

Men have died from time to time, and worms have eaten them, but not for love.

We that are true lovers run into strange capers. But as all is mortal in nature, so is all nature in love mortal in folly.

No sooner met but they looked, no sooner looked but they loved, no sooner loved but they sighed, no sooner sighed but they asked one another the reason.

Quotes by William Shakespeare – Antony and Cleopatra

Give me my robe, put on my crown; I have Immortal longings in me.

Music, moody food of us that trade in love.

The stroke of death is as a lover’s pinch which hurts and is desired.

 There’s beggary in the love that can be reckoned.

Quotes by William Shakespeare – The Two Gentlemen of Verona

For he was more than over shoes in love.

They do not love that do not show their love.

Quotes by William Shakespeare – The Merchant of Venice

And swearing till my very roof was dry with oaths of love.

Quotes by William Shakespeare – Sonnets

Love is not love which alters when it alteration finds, or bends with the remover to remove.

In black ink my love may still shine bright.

The worst was this: my love was my decay.

Cupid laid by his brand and fell asleep.

Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks, but bears it out even to the edge of doom.

Final Notes

We are finishing this article with a feeling of unease – there are so many more quotes that are worth mentioning.

But, some of them are better understood when read in context.

Shakespeare’s plays have survived so long because they carry truths about the world that never change.

So, how about we give you a dare of some kind: read some of his plays and try to find quotable lines yourself?

I believe you will enjoy the task since it is impossible not to enjoy Shakespeare.

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The Tempest PDF Summary

The Tempest PDFWhat if you are Shakespeare and you want to end your career?

Of course you’re going to do it with aplomb!

The Tempest” is the most melodramatic, the most fairytale-like and possibly the most poignant of all Shakespeare’s plays.

And we bring you its summary!

Who Should Read “The Tempest”? And Why?

The Tempest” is the last play that William Shakespeare, the greatest writer in the English language, ever wrote – and the only one whose plot he didn’t steal from someone else.

So, in other words, it seems like this time, he wanted to tell us something other people haven’t.

And there you have it – three reasons to include “The Tempest” in your must-read list for this month.

Want two more?

It’s one of the most lauded and most interpreted plays ever. And writers and directors have adapted and reimagined it numerous times – even by Shakespeare’s standards!

William Shakespeare Biography

William ShakespeareWilliam Shakespeare was an English playwright and poet, by acclamation the greatest in both categories. Shakespeare is also considered “the father of the English language,” having invented more than 1700 new words and having used about 20,000 different words in his oeuvre.

Born on April 23, 1564, he spent the first two decades of his life leading a pretty mundane life, and we still have no idea what he did during the next seven. However, it was exactly during that period that he became a successful actor and a writer.

By then, he had already made his name as an author of comedies and histories, and most critics believe that even “Romeo and Juliet” was already written before 1592.

Ever since then, his fame would only grow with each passing year, culminating in a creative outburst during the early years of the 17th century when he composed “the four great tragedies”: “Hamlet,” “Macbeth,” “Othello,” and “King Lear.”

He spent the last years of his life writing tragicomedies (also called romances) and collaborating with other writers.

Shakespeare died on the exact same day he was born and the very same day Miguel de Cervantes passed away as well: April 23, 1616.

All in all, during his life he wrote about 40 plays and 150 sonnets, all of which have been studied, read, performed and reinterpreted continually to this day.

Plot

Meet Prospero, Shakespeare’s Gandalf.

He is the rightful Duke of Milan and – barring some misuse of magic here and there and few violations of basic human rights – an altogether nice guy.

But he’s also living on a desert island with his daughter Miranda and practically no one else even remotely human.

So, something fishy must have happened sometime in the past, right?

Of course it has – otherwise we wouldn’t have had a play.

And that something involves Antonio, Prospero’s jealous brother, and Alonso, the king of Naples.

Namely, twelve years before the events of the play take place, Antonio, with the help of Alonso, successfully deposed Prospero from his throne.

Fortunately, Prospero and his then 3-year-old daughter Miranda managed to escape in a small boat. Gonzalo, Alonso’s counsellor and a kind Neapolitan, secretly helped them, providing Prospero with things only kings wear and books only magicians read.

And that’s how Prospero and Miranda ended up on this godforsaken island, inhabited by as many humans as the Planet Earth about 4 billion years ago.

There’s one… thing, though.

It – now, is that the right pronoun? – is called Caliban, and, just like his namesake from the X-men universe, it is a mutant.

Caliban, besides inhabiting the island, will probably inhabit some of your nightmares as well, if you have a look at one or two of its representations in different media.

We’ll opt for a now harmless vision from an unforgettable Soviet animated feature we had the misfortune to watch when very young:

Caliban is the way that he/it is because he (yeah – we’ll go with he from now on), at least according to Prospero, is the son of a devil and a witch called Sycorax, Shakespeare’s Saruman.

And they are absent from the play because – well, devils are devils and Sycorax had died even before Prospero and Miranda came.

But Sycorax was not a nice… person – after all, she’s a witch – and when she came to the island (banished from Algiers) the first thing she did was enslaving its spirits, the most important among which is Ariel.

Prospero is a lot nicer than her, so after he comes to the island, he… enslaves both Caliban and Ariel.

Double standards, Billy, hey?

Anyway, it’s payback time once the play commences.

You see, Alonso, accompanied by his counsellor Gonzalo, his son Ferdinand, his brother Sebastian, and the illegitimate Duke of Milan, Antonio – and few other drunkards – are all returning from Alonso’s daughter’s wedding in Tunis.

Little do they know that they are passing by Prospero’s island, and that Prospero is capable of controlling the weather.

See the title of the play – because that’s exactly what happens next.

So everyone is now stranded on the not-so-very desert island anymore.

Prospero, however, wants to play a bit with his wrongdoers, so he divides them into groups.

And, hence, Shakespeare divides our plot into few subplots.

In the first one, Ferdinand, Alonso’s son, encounters Miranda, Prospero’s daughter. Unsurprisingly, they fall in love with each other: Ferdinand is fascinated with Miranda’s beauty, and Miranda is… well, let’s just say that Ferdinand is the only man she’s ever seen apart from her father.

However, Prospero doesn’t think that Ferdinand will value Miranda enough if he gets her without some effort. So, when Miranda doesn’t give him a worth for his money, he does – turning him basically into another slave of his.

Speaking of slaves – Caliban has found new masters in the meantime. And they are a court jester and a lively butler called Trinculo and Stephano.

Now, you wonder how did Caliban confuse two drunkards for gods even though he’s not a Native American?

Let’s just say that, just as Miranda hadn’t tasted a man before, Caliban hadn’t tasted wine before.

So, Caliban teams up with Stephano and Trinculo in an attempt to devise a plan to overthrow Prospero.

On the subject of overthrowing – Antonio doesn’t seem to be able to think of anything else. Once he had deposed Prospero. Now, a second into this new island, he joins forces with Sebastian in an attempt to bring the latter the crown of Naples.

In other words, Antonio and Sebastian try to kill Sebastian’s father Alonso and his noble counsellor Gonzalo.

This would have made a lot more sense if they weren’t on an island.

Pray, do tell us, Antonio and Sebastian, how do you plan to rule Naples and Milan from an island you know not how to get out off?!

But, it seems that that’s what desert islands do to people; not everyone is as nice as Tom Hanks, after all.

A lover/slave, a group of people conspiring to overthrow Prospero, and another to kill Alonso and Gonzalo – that’s just one too many problems to grant us a happy ending, isn’t it?

Not if you are the Bard it isn’t!

And especially not if you have a spirit-inhabited island!

We’re not talking about deus ex machina anymore – we are talking about multiple deuses ex multiple machinas all around!

In a nutshell, Ariel transforms into a harpy and makes Sebastian and Antonio rethink their decision to kill Alonso, and Alonso rethink their past ways.

Then, some other spirits transform into mad dogs and chase away Caliban, Stephano and Trinculo from Prospero’s cell – but, to be fair, this group didn’t seem that much of a threat at no point during the play.

And then – a third group of spirits helps Prospero organize a masque for the freed Ferdinand and Miranda whose betrothal Prospero personally blesses.

The Tempest Epilogue

At the end of the masque, one of Shakespeare’s most famous monologues is uttered:

Our revels now are ended. These our actors,
As I foretold you, were all spirits and
Are melted into air, into thin air:
And, like the baseless fabric of this vision,
The cloud-capp’d towers, the gorgeous palaces,
The solemn temples, the great globe itself,
Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve
And, like this insubstantial pageant faded,
Leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff
As dreams are made on, and our little life
Is rounded with a sleep.

Critics noticed early that it seems here that Shakespeare would like to tell us something.

And that something is – “all the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players.” Including me, and the Globe theatre, and this play-within-a-play, and this play, and my whole oeuvre – which actually consists of plays.

And then it’s time for some nostalgia.

After telling everybody (and by everybody, we mean nobody but us) what he did with his magic – appropriating… ahem… almost word for word, a speech by Ovid’s Medea – Prospero exclaims:

But this rough magic
I here abjure, and when I have required
Some heavenly music, which even now I do,
To work mine end upon their senses that
This airy charm is for, I’ll break my staff,
Bury it certain fathoms in the earth,
And deeper than did ever plummet sound
I’ll drown my book.

Prospero’s renouncing magic?

In Shakespeare’s last play?

Get it?

If not – it’s Shakespeare’s badass way of telling the world “I’m done” via Prospero.

(The sound of a mic dropping.)

It’s only fitting that it’s accompanied with the most melodramatic of all scenes, in which, instead of everybody killing everybody (as we’ve grown accustomed to with Shakespeare), everybody forgives everybody and Prospero frees some.

And there is much rejoicing afterwards.

And it all seems so fake that when Miranda exclaims something along the lines “How beauteous mankind is! O brave new world!” Aldous Huxley, fathoming that she’s saying this based on absolutely nothing (there are only drunkards and schemers around her), realized that he had just found the perfect title for one of the most famous dystopian novels ever written.

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The Tempest PDF Quotes

Hell is empty and all the devils are here. Click To Tweet We are such stuff as dreams are made on, and our little life is rounded with a sleep. Click To Tweet Full fathom five thy father lies; | Of his bones are coral made; | Those are pearls that were his eyes: | Nothing of him that doth fade, | But doth suffer a sea-change | Into something rich and strange. Click To Tweet Awake, dear heart, awake. Thou hast slept well. Awake. Click To Tweet Misery acquaints a man with strange bedfellows. Click To Tweet

Our Critical Review

“The Tempest” is no “Hamlet” or “King Lear” but it is certainly a great work of art.

There are some scenes you’ll want to run through and some others you’ll have no idea why they are in the play – yes, we’re talking about the masque – but, the ending is so moving that you’ll forget about it all in an instant.

What you’ll certainly remember is Prospero’s final monologues and few memorable curses uttered by Caliban which sound even better than those by John Cleese in “Monty Python and the Holy Grail.”

On second thought, nothing sounds better than John Cleese as an insulting Frenchman.

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King Lear PDF Summary

King Lear PDFKing Lear” is not your usual Shakespeare’s tragedy. There are no betrayals, no sex and power games, no bunch of dead people in the and, and not one actor is acting mad at no point in the play.

No, just kidding!

It has all of that – and so much more.

Who Should Read “King Lear”? And Why?

“Hamlet” may be the most famous of Shakespeare’s four great tragedies, but it seems that “King Lear” is the more lauded one. So much so that even one of Shakespeare’s greatest distractors, George Bernard Shaw, didn’t hesitate to write that “No man will ever write a better tragedy than Lear.”

So, the question isn’t who should read “King Lear” – but who shouldn’t?

And the answer is – no one.

(Boy, that’s so many negations we can’t even count them).

William Shakespeare Biography

William ShakespeareWilliam Shakespeare was an English playwright and poet, considered by many the foremost writer in the history of literature.

He was born on 23 April 1564 and died on the same day 52 years later – incidentally, the day Miguel de Cervantes died as well.

During his life, he wrote about 40 plays and 150 sonnets, all of which have been studied and restudied year in year out.

It’s difficult to choose which are his finest works. “Hamlet,” “Macbeth,” “Othello,” and “King Lear” are grouped under the deserving title “the four great tragedies”; there is hardly a romantic story which hasn’t referenced “Romeo and Juliet” ever since it was originally written; and Shakespeare’s last play, “The Tempest” is justly considered a fitting farewell.

Shakespeare is considered “the father of the English language,” inventing more than 1700 words and using about 20,000 different words in his oeuvre.

Plot

Say that you’re a mighty king in ancient Britain and that you’re getting a bit old.

You’re also a bit sexist since you believe that if life had blessed you with a male heir – things would have been a lot different.

Anyway, all you have is three daughters and, quite probably, political turmoil once you die – if you don’t do something smart while you’re still on the planet.

So, do you:

a) Choose the most able one of your daughters, impart your knowledge to her and make her a future Queen, knowing full well that if she marries, she’ll choose wisely? (You know what we’re talking about: “I know I have the body of a weak, feeble woman; but I have the heart and stomach of a king, and of a king of England too…” kind of stuff)

b) Find your daughters the best husbands there are and give the kingdom to the one who deserves the most and seems like the best future king?

c) Divide your kingdom – thus, making it weaker – between your three daughters (married or single) based on their regal competence?

d) Divide your kingdom between your three daughters based on how much each of them loves you?

Of course you’re going to go with d!

Because this is pre-Christian Britain we’re talking about and because Queen Elizabeth I has just died in the real world and because, well, you’re Shakespeare the apple-polisher and you can get away with absolutely everything!

So, yes – that’s how King Lear decides how to divide his kingdom! By asking his daughters – Goneril, Regan, and Cordelia – how much they love him.

Don’t believe us?

His words – not ours:

Tell me, my daughters—
Since now we will divest us both of rule,
Interest of territory, cares of state—
Which of you shall we say doth love us most?
That we our largest bounty may extend
Where nature doth with merit challenge.

Remember that episode of “The Office” when Michael Scott organizes Survivor-style “Beach Games” to decide his successor?

Well, Goneril and Regan are like Andy and Stanley, probably thinking something along the lines: “Oh, he is actually serious! It’s time for some I-love-you-more-than-words-can-say lying! After all, it will grant me a kingdom!”

Cordelia is something like – well nobody alive.

Believing that her love’s “more ponderous” than her tongue (that’s how they spoke back then, even when to themselves), she decides to say nothing.

And King Lear says:

Nothing will come of nothing.

In other words: even though you’re my youngest and, by far, favorite daughter, you will get nothing from me because this game was the perfect way to divvy up my kingdom!

Jokes aside, it seems that this game was an excellent way for Lear to unwittingly decide who loves his daughter best since the one who’ll marry her without land and a dowry surely loves something more than her… well, land and dowry.

And that someone is the King of France – which is where Cordelia is going now.

King Lear, on the other hand, is going somewhere else – La-La Land.

And we’re not talking about blockbuster Hollywood!

Which, by the way, is one place King Lear should visit since the best adaptations of the play are a Russian and a Japanese film.

The latter was directed by Akira Kurosawa under the title “Ran,” and, as you’ll see from this trailer, it’s an otherworldly masterpiece:

Back to King Lear.

If you didn’t get us, we just said that Lear has gone a bit insane.

Who would have thought that his plan would backfire, ha?

Well – it does, and it does big time!

Now that they have gotten parts of the kingdom, Goneril and Regan don’t respect him one bit – denying him even a proper welcome.

(Though, to be frank, Lear does have the demands of a modern pop-star.)

A lightbulb goes off in Lear’s head:

Maybe – he thinks – my daughters were lying to me?

Welcome to the real world, King Lear. It’s cold and bitter. And everybody’s a hypocrite!

So what does King Lear does at this point?

What every other mad person would do – strips off of his clothes and runs around a heath naked during an awe-inspiring thunderstorm.

The front seats are reserved for Kent, a disguised loyal nobleman of Lear, and Lear’s Fool – because you’ve got to have comic relief when things go this bad.

Since it is a play, Lear’s also babbling some things people find difficult to forget.

Such as, for example, this:

Let the great gods,
That keep this dreadful pother o’er our heads,
Find out their enemies now. Tremble, thou wretch,
That hast within thee undivulged crimes,
Unwhipp’d of justice: hide thee, thou bloody hand;
Thou perjured, and thou similar man of virtue
That art incestuous: caitiff, to pieces shake,
That under covert and convenient seeming
Hast practiced on man’s life: close pent-up guilts,
Rive your concealing continents, and cry
These dreadful summoners grace. I am a man
More sinn’d against than sinning.

Let us sum that up for you: I may be mad as a March hare now, but I really think that I’ve done less bad to other people than other people have done to me!

If you know your Shakespeare well, you know that we’ve come to a point when we’re about to introduce the second plot of the play.

Because to Shakespeare, one plot was pretty much the same a race against James Corden and Owen Wilson is to Usain Bolt.

So, meanwhile –

Another guy named Gloucester – an old nobleman – is having family problems of his own.

Unlike Lear who has three daughters, this guy has two sons.

One of them, Edmund, is illegitimate (namely, born out of wedlock), and the other one, Edgar, is not.

So, who do you think will be the bad guy here?

Certainly not Edgar, ha?

Of course!

Anyway, Edmund tricks Gloucester into believing that Edgar is trying to kill him.

Edgar has a lot of options to prove that he’s not (like, for example, telling him) but he chooses the least reasonable one: disguising himself as a naked mad beggar named “Poor Tom.”

And where does he go to?

Lear’s heath, of course – because that’s the only place where naked, mad noblemen go to when they want to be part of a Shakespeare’s tragedy.

And “King Lear” is certainly not one Gloucester would have wanted to be part of – had he known what was about to happen.

Unfortunately for him, he makes another mistake after confusing his legitimate son with a father-murderer based on no evidence whatsoever!

And that mistake is trying to help Lear against the orders of Regan and Goneril.

Regan and her husband Cornwall discover this and accuse him of treason.

You’d think that once they catch him, they’d have no problems killing him, but no – it’s much more gruesome than that.

Like, Game of Thrones gruesome.

Don’t watch that clip before reading the next sentence:

Yup – Gloucester has his eyes gouged out.

And he ends up wandering in the same vicinity as well. Led by none other than Poor Tom – aka his loving son – to Dover.

And the Strait of Dover isn’t the narrowest part of the Channel for nothing, right?

That was our not-that-very-imaginative way of saying that the French army is there. And that when you have a loving daughter in France, she’s bound to come and occupy your country at some point in the future.

This time – it’s for a good cause: Cordelia wants to save her father from her two evil sisters.

Meanwhile, the husband of one of them, Goneril’s Albany, realizes that Lear is not a bad guy after all. Which makes Goneril realize that Albany is not a good husband for her.

So, she plots with Edmund to kill him.

Edmund?

Wait – what?

Oh – yes: Edmund, the charmer that he is, has managed in the meantime to knock the socks off Goneril. And also, Regan.

Crafty Edmund!

While on the subject of that dysfunctional family – we didn’t tell you above why Edmund’s father is trying to get to Dover.

It’s actually pretty funny.

Namely, he’s trying to commit suicide.

Well, it’s not that funny, but, hey, – why does he need to go all over to Dover to do it? It’s not like committing suicide is a difficult thing to do.

We’ll tell you why:

Because Shakespeare needs everybody in Dover.

And now that that happens ­– may the obligatory bloodbath begin!

King Lear Epilogue

Gloucester survives (well, initially) since Edgar tricks him into thinking that he’s jumping from a cliff when he’s actually not.

(Playing tricks on the blind is not a nice thing to do, Edgar!)

However, Oswald (Goneril’s loyal steward) tries to do what Gloucester was just about to do himself. Fortunately, instead of Oswald killing Gloucester, Edgar kills Oswald.

And finds, in his pocket, a letter from Goneril to Edmund – about you-know-what (see above).

And Edgar suddenly realizes that his brother Edmund is a bad guy!

Really, Edgar? We needed about one verse to do that!

But, hey – we guess that being a fictional character, you haven’t had the opportunity to get to know to your Shakespeare as well as we have! So, don’t worry: we forgive you!

Just as Cordelia does in the case of her father – you know, even though she did nothing good to earn that.

Anyway – no time for the beauty of reuniting: there’s a war raging.

And Edmund (so, Edgar’s evil brother) somehow ends up leading the British army against Cordelia’s French troops.

We guess being the lover of both queens pays dividends!

Since it’s a tragedy, you already know that he is the one who wins in the end.

Both Cordelia and King Lear are captured and imprisoned.

You’d think, with Cordelia, that this is the worst thing imaginable, but, according to King Lear – not at all:

Come, let’s away to prison:
We two alone will sing like birds i’ the cage:
When thou dost ask me blessing, I’ll kneel down,
And ask of thee forgiveness: so we’ll live,
And pray, and sing, and tell old tales, and laugh
At gilded butterflies, and hear poor rogues
Talk of court news; and we’ll talk with them too,
Who loses and who wins; who’s in, who’s out;
And take upon’s the mystery of things,
As if we were God’s spies: and we’ll wear out,
In a wall’d prison, packs and sects of great ones,
That ebb and flow by the moon.

Now that Lear and Cordelia are in prison, Regan and Goneril have just enough time to fight it out over which one of them will get Edmund.

Or – poison it out, since that’s exactly what Goneril does.

But, before Regan dies, Edmund dies too – killed by Edgar who finally reveals his true identity to his father.

Not a right moment to do that – since it results in a heart attack which kills Gloucester.

Goneril commits suicide because it’s not a Shakespeare’s tragedy unless everyone in it dies in the end, right?

Speaking of which –

Edmund’s last words (apart from a completely unnecessary apology) are the revelation that he has sent someone to kill Lear and Cordelia.

Will Edgar have enough time to save them?

Of course not – Edgar doesn’t even have time to think what to do when Lear enters carrying his dead daughter in his arms.

And uttering some words which get us everytime:

Howl, howl, howl, howl! O, you are men of stones:
Had I your tongues and eyes, I’ld use them so
That heaven’s vault should crack. She’s gone for ever!

Soon, King Lear’s gone forever as well.

His last words:

And my poor fool is hang’d! No, no, no life!
Why should a dog, a horse, a rat, have life,
And thou no breath at all? Thou’lt come no more,
Never, never, never, never, never!
Pray you, undo this button: thank you, sir.
Do you see this? Look on her, look, her lips,
Look there, look there! O, o, o, o!

O.

That’s King’s Lear last word.

Coupled with the revelation that another character – his Fool – is also dead.

So, basically, everybody is – apart from Albany and Edgar.

Some hope?

Well, probably not.

Judging by the last four verses in the play (hey, these even rhyme):

The weight of this sad time we must obey;
Speak what we feel, not what we ought to say.
The oldest hath borne most: we that are young
Shall never see so much, nor live so long.

Blame us for simplifying things if you like to, but we really feel that that’s just too little of a moral for such a long and bloody play.

Billy, anything?

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“King Lear PDF Quotes”

Love is not love | When it is mingled with regards that stand | Aloof from the entire point. Click To Tweet How sharper than a serpent's tooth it is to have a thankless child! Click To Tweet You are not worth the dust which the rude wind | Blows in your face Click To Tweet When we are born, we cry that we are come | To this great stage of fools. Click To Tweet Reason in madness! Click To Tweet

Our Critical Review

In the later years of his life, the great Russian novelist Leo Tolstoy wrote a famous “Critical Essay on Shakespeare,” which is mostly concerned with “King Lear.”

Why?

Because it is “one of Shakespeare’s most extolled dramas.”

And Tolstoy provides us with a wealth of quotations as evidence for this assessment.

Here are just two of them:

“There is perhaps no play which keeps the attention so strongly fixed, which so much agitates our passions, and interests our curiosity,” says Dr. Johnson.

“‘King Lear’ may be recognized as the perfect model of the dramatic art of the whole world,” according to Shelley.

Tolstoy’s opinion:

“Far from being the height of perfection, it is a very bad, carelessly composed production, which, if it could have been of interest to a certain public at a certain time, can not evoke among us anything but aversion and weariness.”

Wow – that’s a bit harsh there, Leo!

Really?

That bad?

Of course, it’s not that bad. But we just wanted to inform you about the fantastic clash of the literary giants.

Many years later, a guy whom you may know (George Orwell) tried moderating the quarrel in a very famous essay titled “Lear, Tolstoy, and the Fool.”

His verdict?

Lear is not a very good play, as a play. It is too drawn-out and has too many characters and sub-plots. One wicked daughter would have been quite enough, and Edgar is a superfluous character: indeed it would probably be a better play if Gloucester and both his sons were eliminated.

Nevertheless, something, a kind of pattern, or perhaps only an atmosphere, survives the complications and the longueurs. Lear can be imagined as a puppet show, a mime, a ballet, a series of pictures. Part of its poetry, perhaps the most essential part, is inherent in the story and is dependent neither on any particular set of words nor on flesh-and-blood presentation.”

We share his opinion.

In a nutshell: as a realistic play, it’s not a very good one. But as a poetic drama – it’s quite possibly one of the very best ones ever written.

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Romeo and Juliet PDF Summary

Romeo and Juliet PDFRomeo and Juliet.

Is there a person that does not know their love story?

Who Should Read “Romeo and Juliet” and Why?

“Romeo and Juliet” is a classical play written by one of the most influential playwrights of all times. If you are a lover of flowery language and want to read classic works, this is where you should start.

William Shakespeare Biography

William ShakespeareWilliam Shakespeare was an English playwright and actor who is considered as one of the most influential playwrights in the world history.

His life-work consists of around 40 plays.

Plot

The drama begins as the servants of two noble families, Capulet and Montague are having a fight in the streets of Verona.

One of the Montagues – Benvolio, tries to put a stop to the fight, but instead of stopping it, he involves himself in it as Tybalt, from the Capulet clan arrives.

The citizens are not happy with the constant turbulencies, so the ruler of Verona decides to put a stop to the uproar by bringing a death sentence to the picture for anyone who starts a fight in the future.
Romeo is a son of Montague, is in love with a girl that does not love him back, named Rosaline.

At the same time, Paris is in love with Juliet, and asks her to marry him. She is a Capulet, and her father asks Paris to wait for two years, until Juliet at least turns fourteen.

Otherwise, he is more than happy with the match, so he invites Paris to the masquerade ball he traditionally holds every year, along with many other guests, hoping he could show his affections towards Juliet on the ball.

Meanwhile, when Capulet’s servant is taking around the list of invitations, Romeo and Benvolio encounter him, and Benvolio suggests to Romeo that they attend the ball, so he could get a chance to look at other beautiful women with which Verona is filled with.

Romeo decides to go, but not because of the wish to meet other women, but because his love Rosaline will be there as well.

However, on the feast, something Romeo could not imagine happens – he falls in love with another woman (Juliet) at first sight and forgets about Rosaline completely.

He succeeds to talk with her and he can see that she also feels the same attraction. So, they kiss, without knowing who they are.

The truth about their identities upsets them later on – but it is too late, they are already in love.

Romeo, not knowing what to do, goes to seek advice from Friar Lawrence, who when Romeo tells him his story agrees to marry him with Juliet in secret.

He does it most of all because he believes that such a marriage could put an end to the fight between their families.

The next day, Romeo and Juliet are married.

However, tragedy is just around the corner.

Just a day after their secret wedding, two men from the Montague family encounter Juliet’s cousin Tybalt, who has noticed and recognized Romeo on the feast and therefore is challenging him to a duel.

Romeo begs to stop the duel, but one of the men from his family is disgusted by such a plea and starts the duel.

Romeo, trying to stop the fight, finds himself in between, and kills Tybalt. As a result, he is banished from Verona for his crime, as the ruler has promised.

He spends his last night in the city with his love, Juliet.

She is worried and does not know what to do, since her father wants to marry her off, not knowing she is already married.

She first tries to talk to her nurse, but she is not satisfied with her advice – to marry Paris since he is a better match, and decides to ask for help from Friar Lawrence.

He has a plan that is supposed to reunite the lovers. The night before she is to be wed to Paris, Juliet must drink a poison that will only make her look dead for some time.

After they put her to rest in her family’s crypt, Friar Lawrence will bring Romeo along to revive her, and they will be reunited, with no more limits to their love.

However, the plan goes wrong: Juliet drinks the poison, but Father Lawrence’s message that is supposed to explain the plan to Romeo, never reaches him.

The only thing he hears is that his love is dead.

He cannot imagine living without her, so he decides to end his life as well. He buys a poison and goes to Juliet’s tomb to drink it, so they rest together. There, he meets Paris, whom he kills in a fight.

He then sits next to Juliet’s body and drinks the poison, dying by her side. Just a moment too late, Juliet awakes.

She realizes the tragedy that has occurred and does not see a point in living anymore.

She kisses Romeo’s lips hoping the poison leftover will kill her, but when it does not, she stabs herself in her heart and falls dead beside Romeo.

The two families arrive at the tomb and are torn apart by the sight. Realizing that their rage made their children unhappy, they decide to bury the hatchet and build a new, peaceful Verona.

Romeo and Juliet Epilogue

Although this is a tragic drama, all is well in the end – if you take the general wellbeing of the people in Verona as your focal point.  

The premise that love leads to suicide and finally to peace is proven, and although you are sad for the characters’ destinies, you are happy about the future that looks brighter.

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“Romeo and Juliet PDF Quotes”

Don't waste your love on somebody, who doesn't value it. Click To Tweet For never was a story of more woe than this of Juliet and her Romeo. Click To Tweet Do you bite your thumb at us, sir? Click To Tweet Parting is such sweet sorrow that I shall say goodnight till it be morrow. Click To Tweet Women may fall when there's no strength in men. Click To Tweet

Our Critical Review

When you read enough of Shakespeare’s plays, you will get the impression that his stories are rather dramatic, but he succeeds to make literary works out of them by taming them with strong language.

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Hamlet PDF Summary

Hamlet PDF SummaryThe Tragical History of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark

This is it, guys: the book.

The most powerful, the most influential, the most well-known, the most performed play ever written. And “the world’s most filmed story after Cinderella”!

Of course we’re talking about William Shakespeare’s “Hamlet,” perhaps the only book in which the Danish talk in English the English have trouble understanding.

Also – one of the small number of R-rated paperbacks your parents will be happy to see you reading!

Who Should Read “Hamlet”? And Why?

Hamlet” is to books what Michael Jordan is to basketball. Or to put that into different terms, if you’ve never read “Hamlet,” don’t even try to pretend that you know your books.

You’ll be caught. And laughed at.

Fortunately, “Hamlet” is on many school’s obligatory reading lists, so we guess you’re here not because you don’t want to read it, but because you have trouble reading it.

That we understand.

And we’re here to help!

William Shakespeare Biography

William ShakespeareWilliam Shakespeare was an English playwright and poet, widely considered the best in the English (or any other) language.

He was born and died on the same day – 23 April – 52 years apart (1564 – 1616). He spent about half of his time on earth writing (1589 – 1613) and ended up with an oeuvre of (roughly) 39 plays, 154 sonnets and 2 long narrative poems.

That’s about 2 plays and 7 sonnets per year! And almost all of them are considered masterpieces to this day.

Consequently, it’s difficult to choose his finest works, but, by acclamation, his four great tragedies – “Hamlet,” “Macbeth,” “Othello,” and “King Lear” (all written in the first five or six years of the 17th century) – are considered literary landmarks of such distinction that new languages test their worth and developing stage by translating them.

Unsurprisingly, if you take into consideration that he’s called “the father of the English language,” having used more than 20,000 different words in his works, about a tenth of them (1700) for the first time in written history.

So, next time when you’re feeling “uncomfortable” and “gloomy” at work because your “manager” is a “worthless,” “cold-blooded” “madcap,” don’t be surprised if someone asked you if you’re quoting Shakespeare!

Hamlet Synopsis

Unless you’ve watched the Kenneth Branagh 1996 adaptation, there’s a big chance that you don’t know that “Hamlet” is Shakespeare’s longest play.

And you know why?

Because you’ll find everything in it: betrayal, love, lust, revenge, plots, madness, suicide – and, yes, about as many murders as in a whole season of a CSI show!

And time tends to pass quickly with so much action!

But let’s not get ahead of ourselves!

(By the way, if you have trouble finding your way around the story – we’ve listed all the characters just below; be sure to check them out every time you get the “I’m-at-a-family-gathering-knowing-nobody” feeling.)

So, a little background info.

The title character of our story, Prince Hamlet of Denmark, is the melancholy son of the recently deceased King Hamlet, whose wife Queen Gertrude married Old Hamlet’s brother Claudius about few tears after her husband’s death.

(Which makes you think: “Hamlet” might have never been written if Gertrude’s mother was a certain Bernarda Alba!)

But, hey – it’s the age of yore (i.e., the age of “you can trust no one but your closest relatives”) – and brothers-in-law are always the first ones to help distressed widows, right?

Also, Denmark is in a constant war with Norway – even though Scandinavian countries are not exactly known as warlike for the past millennium or so – and expects an invasion anytime soon.

Led by none other but Prince Fortinbras, the son of Norway’s recently diseased King Fortinbras.

So, to recap:

The people in Norway and Denmark use their titles to tell one from another, since most of them share the same names.

Anyway, you don’t have to be an Einstein (or a Hamlet) to realize – as a sentry called Marcellus does early on – that “something is rotten in the state of Denmark.”

(Although, to be fair, back in the real world, it is anything but.)

First we learn Hamlet is summoned home from Wittenberg (where he is a student) to attend his father’s funeral – like you need a special invitation to do that! Once he does return, he realizes that Gertrude and Claudius are already married.

And – oh! – there’s a third thing: the ghost of Hamlet’s father is lurking around Denmark’s castle.

Don’t believe us?

Well, you can try finding him yourself. even today You just need to go to the city of Helsingør and ask around. Old Hamlet should be somewhere around here:

Hamlet book PDF

The guy we quoted earlier (Marcellus) and another sentry (Bernardo) tell Horatio (Hamlet’s best bud) about the ghost sightings, after which they all agree to tell Hamlet himself.

You’d expect from a student at a university to express a more profund disbelief, but – hey! – you don’t exactly question what you want to be true yourself.

So give Hamlet a break!

A meeting is arranged – and Hamlet learns from Hamlet (the Prince from the Ghost) that there was – surprise! surprise! – some foul play involved in his death. Namely, he was murdered by Claudius who slipped some poison in his ear while he was napping.

Which is – we have to say – a needlessly complicated way to kill someone; and which is why numerous studies have tried to find out if it would work at all!

But if you think this is complicated, wait till you hear about Hamlet’s plan!

You see, now that he has a confession from the murdered man himself – which, if possible, would have rendered Sherlock Holmes useless – he decides to “put an antic disposition on,” which is a fancy way of saying that he’s about to go all Jeffrey Goines on everybody, waiting for the right moment to kill Claudius.

Because, of course, even though Claudius married Gertrude suspiciously hasty, and even though he just heard from some ghostly figure in the shape of his dead father things nobody but him could have known, Hamlet is not really sure if Claudius did murder his father.

Interestingly enough, it’s not a question of whether the Ghost exists. It’s a question of whether he’s telling the truth.

And, for some reason, acting mad is Hamlet’s best idea of finding out.

Things certainly go according to plan, since Hamlet’s girlfriend Ophelia is fairly convinced that he’s as mad as a hornet by the beginning of the second act.

Her father Polonius, the King’s chief counselor Polonius, believes her and has a theory: he’s mad alright, but mad with love for his daughter.

He rushes to tell the royal couple, who are in the midst of welcoming Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, two of Hamlet’s closest childhood friends called upon by none other than them to identify the reason behind Hamlet’s strange behavior.

And to make matters even more complicated, Polonius forces Ophelia to act as if she’s still in love with Hamlet so that he, Claudius and Gertrude can spy on them and see Hamlet’s reactions.

So, basically, by this moment, everybody is spying on everybody!

Now, how can anything go wrong?

Soon enough, you realize that some of the characters play their roles better than the others, and that some are simply gullible.

All in all, it seems that Hamlet is the best actor around, and Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are not the sharpest tools in the shed. Hamlet sees through their act straight away and that inspires a monologue you can quote at some dinner party if you want to sound deep and dark:

What a piece of work is man! How noble in reason, how infinite in faculty, in form and moving how express and admirable, in action how like an Angel, in apprehension how like a god, the beauty of the world, the paragon of animals. And yet to me, what is this quintessence of dust? Man delights not me; no, nor Woman neither; though by your smiling you seem to say so.

Now, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern bring with themselves a troupe of actors they met while traveling to Elsinore.

Hamlet, being the master actor, devises his best and most complicated plan yet – to write a play for the actors in which a king is murdered the same way his father was and see how Claudius would react to it.

Most people take some time to write a single iambic pentameter, but Hamlet writes a whole play in a matter of hours!

And, in the meantime, as Ophelia awaits him and Claudius and Polonius are spying on him, he even manages to utter – out of the blue – a whole soliloquy whose opening line even people who’ve never opened a book know by heart.

Here’s a version of Kenneth Branagh’s performance. It’s subtitled, but, even so, it may sound all Greek to you if you don’t know your Shakespeare.

With “The Murder of Gonzago” – that’s the title of Hamlet’s play – Shakespeare’s “Hamlet” goes all meta: there’s a play within a play played by actors who pretend to be other actors!

Fortunately for Hamlet, Claudius reacts the way he wants him to react, and there’s no more doubt in Hamlet’s mind: he is definitely the killer of his father, also Hamlet.

Of course, Gertrude demands an explanation from her son – along the lines of “What was up with that play, my boy? Are you trying to tell the audience something?” – so Hamlet goes to her room.

But on his way there, he encounters upon Claudius praying. And he doesn’t kill him, since – smart as he is – he realizes that killing him during prayer may result in Claudius going to heaven.

Lesson learned: even if you kill someone, pray as often as you can, and, whatever happens, you’ll inevitably go to heaven.

Shakespeare says so.

That – or Hamlet has actually gone mad!

We don’t know about him – but his girlfriend Ophelia has definitely gone bananas in the meantime, wandering around Elsinore and singing Valentine songs to absolutely nobody.

You’d think there’s some method in her madness too, but you’d be very wrong since that doesn’t explain why Ophelia ends up drowned in the end.

Accident or suicide – who cares?

The only thing that matters is that she’s dead early enough to not witness the bloodbath.

And the reason why she went mad: the death of her father Polonius.

But wait – we skipped that part!

How did Polonius die?

Remember when we told you above that Hamlet decided not to kill the praying heaven-bound Claudius a while ago?

Well, he does end up killing somebody else (albeit accidentally) just a few minutes later!

And that somebody is Polonius who is (my God, what is wrong with Denmark?) spying on Hamlet’s conversation with Gertrude behind a curtain in her room – which is where Hamlet was heading after “The Murder of Gonzago” in the first place.

Normally, it doesn’t count as an accident kill if you wildly stab a rustling, moving curtain – but, in the case of Hamlet, it apparently does.

In his defense, Hamlet doesn’t know that Polonius is behind the curtain.

(Though we really think that this will not hold up in court!)

Especially, since he doesn’t think that it’s a mouse or a cat!

Oh, no!

He thinks that it’s a rat, a man-like rat in the shape of Claudius! You know, the guy he saw praying and passed on killing just a few seconds ago!

Hold your horses now: it gets even bloodier and less comprehensible from here on!

Which, really, makes the ending of “Hamlet” look like a funny scene from “Frasier”!

It makes you wonder whether Shakespeare noticed how long the play is and wanted to get rid of some of the characters. Or all of them to be exact.

The proverbial catalysator is Laertes, Ophelia’s brother, who comes back from France and is, expectedly, pretty mad with Hamlet which leads to a fight at Ophelia’s funeral.

The scuffle is broken up, but Claudius, by this time, has realized that Hamlet is not mad, but bad and dangerous to be around.

Especially if you killed his father.

So, he arranges few different ways to kill him.

First, he sends him alongside Rosencrantz and Guildenstern to England with a sealed letter addressed to the English king demanding Hamlet’s immediate execution. Hamlet discovers the letter and rewrites it – asking for the heads of his friends instead.

(Quite brutal, but OK.)

When this plan fails, Claudius manages to convince Laertes to challenge Hamlet to a duel. Hamlet accepts it alright – but there’s a catch he doesn’t know anything about: Laertes’ sword is poisoned.

As is the wine Claudius sets aside for Hamlet to drink after the duel.

You know, just in case.

However, Hamlet does well during the duel leading two to none – but also to Gertrude toasting to his health by drinking the poisoned wine in his stead.

So she dies too.

Laertes uses the moment to stab Hamlet, who, unlike his mother or his father, doesn’t die instantly – but lives long enough to steal Laertes blade and stab him.

And even Laertes dies before Hamlet, even though both are stabbed with the same poisoned sword.

However, before his death, Laertes reconciles with Hamlet and tells him that it’s all Claudius’ fault – as if we need anyone to tell us that at this point.

So, Hamlet stabs Claudius too with the same poisoned sword and – yet again – unlike Hamlet, Claudius dies instantly.

Horatio comes just in time to hear Hamlet’s dying words.

Mercifully, since Hamlet tells Horatio to not kill himself which Horatio desperately wants because – why the hell not! Everybody’s dead anyway!

And Hamlet doesn’t want Horatio to kill himself for two reasons: 1) to tell his story; and 2) to make known that Hamlet has named Fortinbras as his successor.

Remember that guy?

Young Fortinbras was the son of the old king Fortinbras the old king Hamlet fought once to keep the autonomy of Denmark intact so that his son, young Hamlet, could rule it one day!

So, yes – young Hamlet’s last wish makes no sense whatsoever.

Hamlet Characters

Family 1

Hamlet – the depressed son of Hamlet and, if he had lived to have a child with Ophelia, probably the father of at least one or two Hamlets as well; also – the nephew of Claudius, and a talented playwright and actor.

The Ghost – the old Hamlet, a bit deadish.

Claudius – young Hamlet’s uncle/stepfather and old Hamlet’s brother/murderer; also, the King of Denmark.

Gertrude – the Queen of Denmark and Hamlet’s mother.

Family 2

Polonius – the King’s chief counselor and the father of Ophelia and Laertes.

Ophelia – Polonius’s daughter, the inspiration for a painting you won’t be able to take your eyes off.

Laertes – Polonius’s son.

Friends

Rosencrantz and Guildenstern – childhood friends of Hamlet and Claudius’ spies.

Horatio – Hamlet’s friend.

Marcellus – Elsinore sentry.

Bernardo – Elsinore sentry.

Fortinbras – Prince of Norway and, by the end of the play, Denmark as well; son of Fortinbras, the dead King of Norway.

Gravediggers, Actors, Osric and other unimportant people who appear for a scene because Shakespeare had an actors troupe and had to give a role to each and every one of his members.

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“Hamlet PDF Quotes”

This above all: to thine own self be true, | And it must follow, as the night the day, | Thou canst not then be false to any man. Click To Tweet Doubt thou the stars are fire; | Doubt that the sun doth move; | Doubt truth to be a liar; | But never doubt I love. Click To Tweet There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so. Click To Tweet There are more things in Heaven and Earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy. Click To Tweet Brevity is the soul of wit. Click To Tweet

Our Critical Review

“Hamlet” has influenced so many things that there are more Wikipedia articles about the play than there are articles overall in most of the encyclopedias you’ve read as a child!

And some of these articles are about people whose only appearance in “Hamlet” is as a dead man’s skull (looking at you, Yorick!)

So, yeah – it’s pretty essential that you know a thing or two about this play. Because some people want to know absolutely everything about it!

So see what the fuss is about.

But we feel that we need to warn you: be prepared to become a “Hamlet” addict!

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