Monday, June 16, 2008


Manga Shakespeare: Hamlet. Illustrated by Emma Vieceli.

"The year is 2107 Global climate change has devastated the Earth. This is now a cyberworld in constant dread of war. Prince Hamlet of Denmark has come home to face an uncertain future."

The above gives you a clue about the illustrations that follow in Manga Shakespeare's take on Hamlet. (I suppose. I have a hard time deciphering just what it's supposed to mean. What is a cyberworld?) As in previous titles, however, the text remains true to the spirit and times of Shakespeare. Hamlet, unlike Romeo & Juliet and A Midsummer Night's Dream, is not a love story. Rather, it's quite the opposite. It's the story of hate, of revenge, of anger, of bitterness. A young man, Hamlet, returns home to find his father dead--murdered--and his mother married to his uncle, his father's murderer. He's angry and rightly so. The ghost of Hamlet's father inspiring him to take vengeance, Hamlet sets in motion a violent and disturbing plot. I don't suppose Hamlet meant to litter the stage with dead bodies. I believe he only intended to take the life of his uncle, his stepfather, Claudius. But things don't always go according to plan. And Hamlet is indeed a tragedy. Do two wrongs make a right? Well, no, they don't. The death of all these characters--Claudius, Gertrude, Polonius, Laertes, Hamlet, Ophelia--can never make the death of the king, Hamlet's father, okay. All those deaths don't make reparation. No matter how many dead bodies pile up...

© Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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