“Though this be madness, yet there is method in ‘t”: Hamlet Help

Posted: March 20, 2017 in Shakespeare and Drama

insantiyAs we begin reading Hamlet, I thought I’d highlight just a few of the numerous resources on the play:

Chop Bard is an entertaining podcast (well, at least to lit nerds like me) that you can listen to online or download in itunes.    If you’re looking online, scroll down to Hamlet, which begins with episode 21.


Another great audio source is Librivox.org.  Librivox has hundreds of open source titles available as audiobooks for free.  The readings are by volunteers, so some are better than others.  The three versions of Hamlet they offer aren’t the greatest recordings I’ve found on Librivox (Elizabeth Klett’s Pride and Prejudice, Jane Eyre, and Turn of the Screw are fantastic), but they might be helpful.

Listening while reading can really help speed up annotations.  Click through the page break for more:

Or, if you’re having trouble getting it the first time through, sometimes listening to it a second time while going for a run or doing some menial task like washing dishes can really help reinforce your understanding.

Librivox can be downloaded as podcasts, streamed online, or accessed via apps for Android and Apple to either stream or download on phones and tablets.

Want the whole play boiled down to 25 minutes to get you started?  Here’s an overview of the text from BBC’s Animated Shakespeare series:


Looking for a fuller length performance?  Head over to PBS/BBC’s 2010 Hamlet starring Patrick Stewart (X-Men, Star Trek) and David Temnet (Dr. Who).  

And if you get stuck, SparkNotes’ No Fear Shakespeare version can be found online to supplement the original with a “translated” version.  (Note, I hate air quotes, but I needed something to communicate the audible scoff I made as I typed translated — Shakespeare wrote in modern English, NOT Old English or even Middle English, which would require a translation).

Just remember, this is Shakespeare.  There are no substitutes for the original, only supplements.

Find something useful in your studies?  Post it in the comments and maybe your classmates will find it beneficial as well!


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