Quarto 1

One thing I noticed in “Quarto 1” is that the dialogue is remarkably short.

FIRST SENTINEL: Oh, you come most carefully upon your watch.
BARNARDO: An if you meet Marcellus and Horatio,
The partners of my watch, bid them make haste.
FIRST SENTINEL: I will. See who goes there.
Enter Horatio and Marcellus.
20HORATIO: Friends to this ground.
This creates a choppy dialogue that was unpleasant to read. Additionally, varying with the original text, this excerpt lasts much longer, detailing the meeting of these characters, whom while relatively unimportant, except for Horatio, start the play off. Although I suppose the abruptness of the dialogue could be explained by their uneasiness with the ghost, I think that is a bit of a stretch.
In Act II, the character Polonius no longer exists and neither does Ophelia. Okay, that’s a little bit of a stretch, Ophelia’s name is just misspelled to “Ofelia” but Polonius is now a character named “Corambis”. I prefer Ophelia over Ofelia simply due to the aesthetics of the letters. On the other hand, I prefer the misnaming of Corambis over Polonius; it seems more masculine.
Also just “King” is a little vague as to his relation to the other characters. I much prefer Claudius, a sinister sounding name. Furthermore, having a King talk to the prince about the prince’s father just seems like a situation I would be rather confused about if having to watch this play without prior knowledge of the characters.

2 thoughts on “Quarto 1

  1. Lol, I never noticed that about the short dialogues! XD

    How even? I don’t know, character trait, I guess. The sentences were definitely very choppy and kind of irritating to read. Especially since Shakespeare was known (is known?) for his eloquent language (that is definitely just a giant poem in disguise). Many of the lines also lack proper transitions (a pet peeve of mine, even though I’m not really all that good at them myself), which was not only irritating, but flag the First Quarto as a pirated version of the original play.

    But Corambis over Polonius? I don’t know…. I think I mainly prefer Polonius because that’s what I’m used to. Them misspelling Ophelia’s name also irritated me, and did you notice that Montano magically reappears as a certain servant?

    I’m kind of surprised that people didn’t try to wipe the First Quarto out of existence, but at least we can still get a good laugh out of it today.


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