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Shakespeare's Hamlet Receives A 21st Century Makeover

BY Felix Xiao on Sun February 12th, 2012

Shakespeare In Bits: Hamlet iPhone Edition ($7.99) by Mindconnex Learning Ltd. is a voice and video guided version of the renowned tragedy for your iPhone and iPod touch.

Approximately 400 years after the first performance of Hamlet, Shakespeare’s famous play is still widely studied and read. Shakespeare In Bits: Hamlet provides you with access to animated videos of every scene with analysis in a single offline app.

Each of the scenes within the five acts is broken down into minute long video sections. The animations are essentially simple cartoons and nothing fancy, but nevertheless offer a beneficial visual experience. You can follow along by tapping the “text” tab at the bottom or turning on subtitles so that the words and their speaker show up above the animation.

The app includes the full text with comments containing information regarding theme, history, and language. Certain words that are difficult to understand are highlighted in yellow. When tapped, a modern synonym replaces the original word. It is easy to keep up with the audio that plays, as the line being spoken changes color. An auto-advance option is available and lets you sit back and enjoy the play without any breaks.

With every section there are notes that describe setting, foreshadowing, and symbolism. A summary, usually of several short paragraphs, makes sure you understand what has just happened before continuing.

There is a cast section that includes characteristics, relationships, and explanations of each character, major and minor. You also have access to extensive analysis pages regarding plot summary, themes, imagery, language, quotes, and information about Shakespeare. These sections are very specific and contain references to line numbers.

Shakespeare In Bits offers several flexible ways of reading Shakespeare. Simple videos, superb audio, and traditional text are available and can be combined in any way. Notes and analysis are both extensive and accurate. Breaking each scene into many sections allows you to discover meaning that would have otherwise been overlooked.

Regardless of whether you’re a student preparing for a big test or a reader looking for a 21st century approach, Shakespeare in Bits: Hamlet is worth downloading for $7.99; close to the price tag of a hard copy of the play.

Posted In: Media Coverage

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