Bad vs. Good (Hamlet)

The biggest difference between the two versions is the lack of detail. The first quota is straight to the point and short which makes it altogether more boring. One of the first examples of this lack of information is when Claudius is escorting Cornelius and Voltemand to Norway. Although Hortio kind of explained what was going on in Scene 1 of Q1, Claudius’ first monologue glued all the facts together and explained what the origin of the battle was and his detailed plan of how he was going to prevent the battle from actually happening. Without these details, we wouldn’t have as well of an understanding of who Fortinbras is, know that the king of Norway is really really old or understand the mixed feelings within the kingdom of Denmark. In his next dialogue, we also wouldn’t understand the loyalty the king has for Polonius and his family which we are informed of when Laertes asks to be pardoned to France.

Another difference is when Q1 jumps directly to the King and Polonius spying on Hamlet instead of saving it for Act 3 like Q2 does. This makes the play move much faster and loses details along the way. By jumping into the spying scene, we lose ability to understand how much planning is being put into finding the cause of Hamlet’s madness; it seems like a spur of the moment idea instead of a planned progression. In fact, The King and Polonius plan much more than the Q1 makes it seem like. The lack of detail also comes from shortening of monologues. Monologues are an important part of Shakespeare’s play because that is where the audience learns about the characters, especially when reading the play versus watching it. These spotlights given to the characters are what connect them to the audience and demonstrate their dominating role in a play; shortening these simply breaks the connection between the audience and the characters.


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