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Four Tragedies

4.38 of 5 stars 4.38  ·  rating details  ·  9,348 ratings  ·  58 reviews
One of the most famous plays of all time, the compelling tragedy of the young prince of Denmark who must reconcile his longing for oblivion with his duty to avenge his father’s murder is one of Shakespeare’s greatest works. The ghost, Ophelia’s death and burial, the play within a play, and the breathtaking swordplay are just some of the elements that make Hamlet a ma
Paperback, 960 pages
Published April 1st 1995 by Penguin Classics (first published 1982)
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If there is a lesson common to all of these tragedies, it is not to go jumping to conclusions. You may have an enemy muddying the waters (Othello). You may have mispercieved the situation because your ego is in the way (King Lear). You may think you are avoiding fate, when actually you are placing yourself right in the way of it by doing something ethically questionable (Macbeth). Or you may just be a little to self-righteous for your own good (Hamlet). Tragedy in these works is usually brought ...more
Chris brown
Dec 04, 2013 Chris brown rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Up front, I love Shakespeare. I love the sonnets, the comedies, some of the histories, and all of the tragedies. The first play I ever saw onstage was Richard Burton's rehearsal dress "Hamlet" back in the Sixties when I was in my teens. I was so astounded to discover such a thing, such language, that I literally could not get out of my seat for the standing ovation. A whole world had opened up to me. I knew I did not understand everything that had transpired on that stage--I was too naive, too l ...more
Okay, I love Shakespeare! I have read this book over and over, for classes and for leisure, and my absolute favorite play is King Lear. I love the disruption of gender conventions and the vanity of the characters. I love how Lear goes from being king down to being nothing. I think that it's Shakespeare's most brilliant and misogynist play. Regan and Goneril are so united and terribly ambitious and they pretty much throw it away over Edmund, going along with saying that "down from the waist they ...more
Google “Shakespeare” and you will be met with over 36,000,000 results. On my page 14 I found the Shakespeare Animal Fund, and beyond that was Manga Shakespeare, workplace advice taken from Othello, a cluster of bull-shitty Thought Catalog articles, and Canadian Shakespeare. The list goes much further.

What could I possibly add to a 400 year old discussion? Do I really need to add to that pile? Of course the answer is no, but we are so far beyond straws breaking camels’ backs, the camel now crushe
Alexander Arsov
William Shakespeare

Four Tragedies:
King Lear

Penguin Classics, Paperback, [1994].

8vo. 951 pp. Introduction and Notes to all plays by the editors, except Hamlet: Introduction by Anne Barton.

Hamlet edited by T. J. B. Spencer.
Othello edited by Kenneth Muir.
King Lear and Macbeth edited by G. K. Hunter

These editions first published in the New Penguin Shakespeare, 1967-80.


The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark

Further Reading
An Account of the Text

Hamlet [pp. 73-3
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
I know I read Shakespeare in highschool but must have blocked it from my memory because I can't remember a thing. I had to read Hamlet for a college class and it was as horrible as I dreaded it would be. Thank goodness for No Fear Shakespeare!
Thoroughly enjoyed these with great productions on DVD from Netflix and The Teaching Company course "Shakespeare's Tragedies" with lecturer Claire McKinney from University of Virginia.

Movie versions I watched and recommend:

Hamlet: Compare the Royal Shakespeare Company's production of Hamlet starring David Tennant and Patrick Stewart as Claudius (2009) with Kenneth Branagh's chandelier-swinging version (1996).

Othello: Oliver Parker starring Laurence Fishburne as Othello and Kenneth Branagh as Iag
What can really be said about Shakespeare that does him justice or hasn't been said before?

'Not much' is the answer, but I always loved the following quote by Robert Graves:

"The remarkable thing about Shakespeare is that he is really very good - in spite of all the people who say he is very good."

And it's a thought that continues to shine in truth every time I read Shakespeare. He really is the grandaddy, the quarterback, the star, the most beautiful girl in school and so on and so forth.

In sh
I had to read this for school, and only the Hamlet section. It took forever to read, but I'm glad I did. The footnotes really helped me to understand some of the odd phases, which in turn helped when I had to watch the movie for class.
First off you will be surprised to find out that 'Hamlet' alone was this lengthy.
Secondly, it takes unbelievably long because of old archaic words that needs translation almost word by word.
Yes, same English but how words have changed over time!
Last but not least, you thought you knew about the story, maybe so, but not Hamlet himself until you read it with great concentration.
Forget about different versions and missing parts.

'Cause you still have enough to carry on!
I originally bought this book years ago when we read Macbeth and Hamlet. I just finished King Lear and it was good (we read Othello earlier in high school). The thing I Telly like about this text is that it leaves the text itself pretty much alone. It does make notes, but they are all at the bottom of the page leaving the reader as interrupted as they choose. Its also really nice to have four of Shakespeare's greatest tragedies right there.
Good texts of four of Shakespeare's key plays. The Macbeth text includes some of the scenes with Hecate that were likely written by other authors, and the Hamlet text is inclusive of scenes that appear only in Q2. Those of you who haven't read these plays - drop what you're doing and get an edition and read them. The Ardens are the best, but if you are in China and only have access to the Bantam, then the Bantam it must be.
Aug 21, 2007 Mercer is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: a.p. english students
i'm rereading hamlet for the first time since high school, and this time around, my favorite line comes from polonius: this is too long. that guy cracks me up.

i read the history plays earlier this summer, and the difference between their more-or-less constant plot movement and hamlet's indecision is pretty great. i think prince hal might have finished off claudius while he was praying.
I loved it. I have read Hamlet and watched the Branagh film of it too many times to count. I first read Hamlet in November of 2005. I read King Lear in the fall of 2008 and was in a play called Lear's Daughters where I played Regan. Othello I also read in the fall of 2008. I am embarrassed to admit I have never read Macbeth. There is nothing better than Shakespeare in my opinion.
e luce fu
well.. my liking to these four tragedies varies from one to another. Yet I enjoyed the whole collection!! Feel like I would have never enjoy if I read some of them & left the others!!
It was a pleasure to meet four different glorious personae, regfardless their flaws. It just helped me heave a deep sigh of releif saying to myself: it's not only me who make disateroud things :-|
Introductions for each play give a brief synopsis, inserting factoids like, Hamlet is the longest play, Macbeth is the shortest, as well as, the ways Shakespeare himself adapted many of the plays from earlier sources.

According to Prof. Huang, "Folgers is good for K-12, but this is for serious grad students." Emphasis on serious.
From Othello the moor of Venice:
Iago: ”Zound, sir ,you are robbed. For shame ,put on your gown, your heart is burst, you have lost half your soul. Even now ,very now, an old black ram is tupping your white ewe. Arise, arise, awake the snorting citizens with the bell or else the devil will make a grandsire of you. Arie, I say.
So I loved Othello because of Iago, and Macbeth was interesting because of Lady Macbeth. Lear, and Hamlet were okay, but they didn't really grab my attention. I'm seeing a pattern though, and it's pointing to deviously insane people. Especially because one of my favorite Harry Potter characters in Bellatrix.
Excellent collection of Shakespeare's finest tragedies at a reasonable price. The footnotes are a nice addition that eases the unfamiliar reader into Shakespeare. The one problem with this edition is the book's quality itself, and for that, I took away a star. The content itself earns a five.
In English class, we read Othello from this book. My rating is based solely on Othello because we didn't have enough time for the others. Anyway, I really enjoyed Othello. The majority of it was very easy to understand. I'm actually really glad we read this, but we were rushed too much.
The most important thing I could not forget about Shakespeare is that he creates haunting-personalities and dramatic stories that somehow in one way or another reflect our own selves and our own shadows and the particular world in which we born into.
this isn't the exact book i read, but it was the best one i could fine to represent othello, especially since ive already read the others, lol.

i thought othello was pretty good, i really enjoy shakespeares tragedies for the most part.
Janet Wilcox
One of Shakespeare's greatest tragedies. At one time I had 100 lines memorized from this, but only remember, "Beware my Lord of jealousy, It is the green-ey'd monster, which doth mock the meat it feeds on.. ."
So far, just Hamlet. It takes some time to wade through, that's for sure. Sometimes I ask myself, why am I reading this? But then I see how many of our idioms are (mis)used that come from the Bard.
For some reason, this edition was quite slow to read in comparison to other Shakespeare plays I have. What mostly distracted me were the footnotes, as there were many when it wasn't quite necessary.
Jennifer Tellez-Carson
These are all four of the most amazing tragedies ever... my favs are Hamlet and Othello. I had the opportunity to play Desdemona in a summer program once, and it was amazing. Good job Delmy!
So much can be learned from Shakespeare's tragedies. I guess it simply comes down to not letting your ego get in the way. These four protagonists were responsible for their own undoing.
Cornwall: Why, art thou mad, old fellow?

I about died when I realized Shakespeare was the first troll in the English language. Such a beast. So much respect and awe for Billy.
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William Shakespeare (baptised 26 April 1564) was an English poet and playwright, widely regarded as the greatest writer in the English language and the world's pre-eminent dramatist. He is often called England's national poet and the "Bard of Avon" (or simply "The Bard"). His surviving works consist of 38 plays, 154 sonnets, two long narrative poems, and several other poems. His plays have been tr ...more
More about William Shakespeare...
Romeo and Juliet Hamlet Macbeth A Midsummer Night's Dream Othello

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“Zounds, sir, you are one of those that will not serve God if the devil bid you...I am one, sir, that comes to tell you your daughter and the Moor are making the beast with two backs.” 2 likes
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