One of the most frequently read and performed of all stage works, Shakespeare's Hamlet is unsurpassed in its complexity and richness. Now the most extensively annotated version of Hamlet to date makes the play completely accessible to readers in the twenty-first century. It has been carefully assembled with students, teachers, and the general reader in mind.Eminent linguist and translator Burton Raffel offers generous help with vocabulary and usage of Elizabethan English, pronunciation, prosody, and alternative readings of phrases and lines. His on-page annotations provide readers with all the tools they need to comprehend the play and begin to explore its many possible interpretations. This version of Hamlet is unparalleled for its thoroughness and adherence to sound historical linguistics. In his introduction, Raffel offers important background on the origins and previous versions of the Hamlet story, along with an analysis of the characters Hamlet and Ophelia. And in a concluding essay, Harold Bloom meditates on the originality of Shakespeare's achievement. The book also includes a careful selection of items for further reading.