The so-called “bad quarto,” or first printing of Hamlet has mystified scholars for hundreds of years. It's half as long and far less poetic than the “normal” Hamlet, with garbled-seeming text and a different plot sequence. It may be a touring script or an early draft that was never meant for printing. One theory maintains that it is a pirated version of Hamlet. The brevity and—admittedly—peculiar language of this version jar both actors and audience from the comfort of the play they know so well, which means it's the perfect opportunity to reconsider what Hamlet is.
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