The Tragedy of Laertes (digital download)

The Tragedy of Laertes (digital download)

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The Tragedy of Laertes (digital download)

This downloadable PDF contains extracts from the "full" text of Hamlet, creating an abbreviated play with the character of Laertes, rather than Hamlet, at its center. Read more about this special text: 

The Laertes narrative represents one of three possible responses to the death of a loved one and other oppressive circumstances. Hamlet chooses to be cautious, concluding that divine providence plays a role and for his part, “the readiness is all.” Ophelia is overcome with her rejection by Prince Hamlet and the death of her father, and she takes her own life. Laertes chooses to lash out without regard to consequences: “I’d cut his throat in the church.” This response to a question from King Claudius is a most profound statement of a lack of regard for consequences.

The Laertes narrative is the shortest, and therefore might be staged as part of a package of narratives, perhaps a three-part play illustrating the choices outlined above. The Ophelia narrative could be followed by the Laertes narrative, with a compact version of Hamlet following the intermission. A post-intermission short version of Hamlet might be viable because the audience will have already been exposed to several scenes, which can be alluded to in the compact Hamlet.

The editors have extracted this short narrative from the full text of Hamlet for both the staging option outlined above and for readers to compare the three reactions to overwhelmingly oppressive circumstances. Following the academic experience in early 2014, and as these narratives are being prepared for the press, several staging options are being investigated with one scheduled for production. Each of these opportunities involves adding and delete passages depending on staging emphasis. 

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