London: H. Heringman and R. Bentley, 1683
[D.-L.L.] (XVII) Bc [Shakespeare – Hamlet - 1683]
The adapter of this Restoration quarto adaptation of Hamlet is thought to be Sir William D’Avenant (1606-1668), who also adapted Measure and Measure, Macbeth, and (with Dryden) The Tempest. The text follows an earlier quarto. It has been cut ruthlessly for performance purposes, as a preface states:
This Play being too long to be conveniently Acted, such places as might be least prejudicial to the Plot or Sense, are left out upon the Stage: but that we may no way wrong the incomparable author, are here inserted according to the Original Copy with this Mark “.
The omissions, which range from couplets to entire scenes, are intended to retain the dramatic, and to reduce lyric and sententious passages; even Hamlet’s soliloquy beginning: “O that this too too solid flesh would melt” (I,ii.129-59) is not exempt. Almost all the material pertaining to the Norwegian prince Fortinbras is excised, thereby removing two characters, the ambassadors Voltimand and Cornelius. The text has been changed to enhance clarity (for example, changing inverted word order) and to dilute oaths.