Shakespeare's Hamlet

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A Different Version

One of Shakespeare’s great pieces of work, Hamlet, has been divided to alternate versions Quarto 1and Quarto 2. Focusing on Act I Scene iii, apparently the differences in these two versions are mainly on the way the characters are formed and the language that is used. Quarto 1 is a much more compact version that has weakly defined characters and uninformed language. As for Quarto 2 this lack of complexity is not so. This version has a higher quality of character depth and a language that is more comprehensible to allow more meaning to the play. Nonetheless the mutuality between these two versions main idea are clearly the significant mutilations to these scene are factors that make the play have a different meaning. The Quarto that would be most appealing to actors and the one that would be more fulfilling to the reader would be the second one because of it richness in characters and language.

The two versions of Hamlet create a new and different way of looking at the play. Quarto 2 has a more affective impact on a reader because of the greater depth to understanding the characters true intentions. This is first disclosed to the reader when in Quarto 2, Laertes is speaking to Ophelia about Hamlet and he says, “And sister, as the winds giue benefit/ And conuay, in assistant doe not sleep/ But let me heere from you”(463-465). This passage shows a deeper relationship between Laertes and Ophelia by expressing Laertes concern about Ophelia’s relationship with Hamlet. This underlying concern is missing in Quarto 1. In Quarto 1 it reveals Laertes main intention to specifically tell Ophelia that Hamlet is not truly in love with her. This can be seen when Laertes says, “Beware Ofelia, do not trust his vowes,/ Perhaps he loues you now, and now his tongue,/ Speaks from his heart, but yet take heed my sister”(592-3, 477-8, 496). The first line of this passage is said by Polonius in Quarto 2 and it seems to be in a different tone. When Laertes is telling Ophelia that Hamlet’s love for her is not true love in Quarto 1, it is said as more of a command. Where it is said by Polonius in Quarto 2 as more of a warning later on in the play. This difference between the two have a major affect on how the character is defined in Quarto 1 Laertes is left saying these line without having any true reason to say them, where as Polonius expresses them as point to Ophelia not to embarrasses him.

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