A young prince meets with his father's ghost, who alleges that his own brother, now married to his widow, murdered him. The prince devises a scheme to test the truth of the ghost's accusation, feigning wild madness while plotting a brutal revenge. But his apparent insanity soon begins to wreak havoc on innocent and guilty alike. Hamlet's combination of violence and introspection is unusual among Shakespeare's tragedies. It is also full of curious riddles and fascinating paradoxes, making it one of his most widely discussed plays.
Illustrated throughout by Sir John Gilbert (1817–1897), famous for his depictions of historical scenes. As well as Shakespeare, he illustrated works of Sir Walter Scott, Cervantes, Wilkie Collins and Wordsworth. (hb)