The Brief Reign and Death of King Claudius (digital download)

The Brief Reign and Death of King Claudius (digital download)

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The Brief Reign and Death of King Claudius (digital download)

This downloadable PDF contains text extracted from the "full" text of Hamlet, creating a play with King Claudius, rather than Hamlet, at its center. Read more about this special text: 

This text, published in a limited edition as The Brief Reign and Death of King Claudius, a play within the text of Shakespeare’s Hamlet, won “Outstanding Book of the Year” recognition in the 2014 Independent Publishers awards. From among the 5600 books entered from 34 countries, nine received this distinction.

The first step in developing this character narrative was to identify plot elements of three kinds: those in which Claudius speaks, those involving evidence of his guilt, and those involving his contention with Prince Hamlet. This initial step produced a ‘core script’ of just over 1600 lines. The next step was to read the core script and supply additional passages to establish context or continuity, where necessary. Short horizontal marks have been printed between passages throughout each of these character narratives. They are to help directors determine where lines from the full text have been omitted. These marks can be ignored by those reading for pleasure.

Considering that not a single non-Shakespearean line has been imposed on this text by the editors, all passages in the Claudius play will be recognizable to readers and theater audiences as being elements of Hamlet. Therefore, a key objective in staging this play, an objective the reader may share, is to be continually mindful that this drama revolves around the perspective of King Claudius rather than Prince Hamlet. The Claudius narrative begins at Act I Scene 2 with the first lengthy speech by King Claudius. Picture the elevated throne of Claudius at the center of the stage in this initial scene of the Claudius narrative and throughout the play as you read this text. Of course directors will add and delete passages depending on staging emphasis. 

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