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Edwin Forrest as Hamlet
 
The following article was originally published in Hamlet From the Actor's Standpoint. Henry P. Phelps. New York: Edgar S. Werner, 1890.

Edwin Forrest as HamletEdwin Forrest (1806-1872) was not physically suited to represent Hamlet, although it was a favorite with him, and it was admitted that he read the part with great discrimination, and that his conception was excellent. "Hamlet," says Barrett, "added nothing to his fame."

Hackett says:

"I was present at Forrest's original début as Hamlet (1829), but he seemed out of his element; his spirit seemed incapable of being subdued to the normal quality and meditative propensity of Hamlet's philosophic mind; his iron nerve and powerful physique appeared to pant continually for opportunities or pretext to display themselves; his evident uneasiness suggested to me such as I would conceive natural to a young but full-grown and newly-caged lion; indeed, it struck me that could Mr. Forrest's Hamlet have been, though some accident, allowed to ventilate his own impulses for a few moments as soon as his father's Ghost had bidden him 'Adieu,' etc., he would have bounded unceremoniously into the presence of his uncle Claudius, and with the impetuosity of an enraged and sinewy athlete have driven his rapier through and through his heart, and ended the play in the first act."

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