7 Geeky-Cool Translations of Hamlet


Ser o no ser, esa es la cuestión. Être, ou ne pas être, telle est la question. Att vara eller inte vara, det är frågan. Sein oder Nichtsein, das ist hier die Frage. Lenni vagy nem lenni: az itt a kérdés.

Hamlet has been translated into hundreds of languages. But normal human languages can be so, well, normal. Here are seven translations of Hamlet that go beyond the normal, right into the awesome.

1. Klingon

There's a line in one of the Star Trek movies where a Klingon character says, "you have not experienced Shakespeare until you have read him in the original Klingon." Some members of the Klingon Language Institute decided Wil'yam Shex'pir's classic needed to be restored, so they translated the whole play into Klingon. Here's a taste:

taH pagh taHbe’. DaH mu’tlheghvam vIqelnIS.
(One either continues or doesn’t continue. Now, I must consider this sentence.)
quv’a’, yabDaq San vaQ cha, pu’ je SIQDI’?
(Is it honorable, when, inside the mind, one endures the torpedoes and phasers of aggressive fate?)
pagh, Seng bIQ’a’Hey SuvmeH nuHmey SuqDI’,
‘ej, Suvmo’, rInmoHDI’?
(Or, when one obtains weapons to fight a seeming ocean of troubles,
And, by fighting, one finishes them?)

2. LOLspeak

Writer Mandy Keifetz created a beautiful interpretation of the existential ponderings of Lolcat. He's deeper than we knew.

Iz or no iz:
iz hed-skratcher
iz moar good haf hed liek
sry no can haz cheezburger?
Or do teh invisible kung-fu,
an by dis oh noes dey wuz al ded, srsly?
Iz ded; iz slepe; iz end
an fru slepe we sez no moar bummin,
iz cheezburger an kek an kookeys; we can haz?
Iz ded; iz slepe; slepe, mebbe dreem?
Dis teh hol in da bukkit, oh noes!
Cuz in ded slepe, iz kwazee dreem
iz ovah, oh noes!
Iz dis maik lawng lief bummin.

3. Perl

Perl is a programming language that lends itself well to poetry because its commands are recognizable as English vocabulary words and variables are referred to by names. This is a Perl poem by Colin McMillen that is both an interpretation of Hamlet's soliloquy and a functioning program. If you run it, it will output, rather eerily, "We end the heart-ache, and the thousand natural shocks that flesh is heir to at line 14."

my ($question, $to_be, $asleep); # version 0.1
 my $author = "Colin McMillen";
 my $apologies_to = "William Shakespeare";
 my $to_be = 1;
while ($to_be || (!$to_be)) {
 $question = "that";
 if (suffer($slings && $arrows_of_outrageous_fortune)
 (take_arms_against($sea_of_troubles) && by_opposing() eq "end +them")) {
 do {
 $to_be = 0;
 $asleep = "no more";
 die "We end the heart-ache, and the thousand".
 " natural shocks that flesh is heir to";
 } while ("'tis a consumation devoutly to be wish'd.");
 sub suffer {
 return true;
 sub take_arms_against {
 return true;
 sub by_opposing {
 return "end them";

4. Emoji

This captures Hamlet pretty succinctly.

5. Facebook Hamlet

Sarah Schmelling, wrote a hilarious book of Facebook interpretations of classic literature after she published this version of Hamlet at McSweeney's. A sample:

Rosencrantz, Guildenstern, and Hamlet are now friends.
Hamlet wonders if he should continue to exist. Or not.
Hamlet thinks Ophelia might be happier in a convent.
Ophelia removed “moody princes” from her interests.
Hamlet posted an event: A Play That’s Totally Fictional and In No Way About My Family
The king commented on Hamlet’s play: “What is wrong with you?”
Polonius thinks this curtain looks like a good thing to hide behind.
Polonius is no longer online.

6. Choose your own adventure

Ryan North, of Dinosaur Comics, started this wildly successful Kickstarter campaign to produce an illustrated choose-your-own-adventure version of Hamlet. It hasn't come out yet, but the 15,000-plus backers who put up almost 30 times the original funding goal of $20,000 will get first dibs when it does.

7. Lego animation

It's not the skull but the cowboy hat that makes this soliloquy so spooky. Enjoy!

Smart Shopping
19 Unusual Socks for Snazzy Feet

Kick it in one of these pairs of cool socks.

Mental Floss has affiliate relationships with certain retailers and may receive a small percentage of any sale. But we only get commission on items you buy and don’t return, so we’re only happy if you’re happy. Thanks for helping us pay the bills!

1. ART; $15.99

Make your feet a canvas with these artsy socks. This set of eight pairs features classics including van Gogh's Starry Night and Botticelli's Birth of Venus.

Find it: Amazon

2. BOB ROSS; $12

Look at all those happy little trees! It's impossible not to smile while wearing these Bob Ross socks.

Find it: Amazon

3. ALIEN VISITOR; $11.50

I want to believe—in fancy footwear. These alien socks are perfect for Ufologists and other conspiracy theorists who always have an eye on the sky.

Find it: Amazon


shark socks

These fun socks make it look like sharks are eating your feet.

Find it: Amazon

5. TAPATIO; $10

These socks are hot! Just like the hot sauce they show.

Find it: Amazon

6. LIBRARY CARD; $10.25

Out of Print makes a variety of book-themed products for bibliophiles—and, even better, they donate one book for each pair of socks purchased. This particular pair looks like the library cards you might have found in libraries back in the day.

Find it: Amazon


Here's another excellent selection from Out of Print. This pair of socks is dedicated to Where the Wild Things Are. The bottoms say "Let the Wild / Rumpus Start."

Find it: Out of Print

8. STUDIO GHIBLI; $12.50

Lovers of the films by Studio Ghibli will get a kick out of these striped socks. Each pair features a scene from a different movie: Spirited Away, My Neighbor Totoro, Kiki's Delivery Service, and Howl's Moving Castle.

Find it: Amazon


These adorable socks have polka dots and giant dog faces on the front. Each pair comes with floppy ears that peek over the edge of the socks. The breeds include what looks like a Pomeranian, a Boston terrier, and a French bulldog.

Find it: Amazon

10. EINSTEIN; $12

These are the perfect socks to wear while filling up a blackboard with equations. The pair comes with a picture of Einstein sporting some cool shades.

Find it: Amazon


These fun socks feature a few constellations, including Ursa Minor and Orion.

Find it: Amazon

12. DOCTOR WHO; $14.95

Doctor Who Tardis Women's Knee High Socks

Doctor Who fans are going to want to get their hands on these knee high TARDIS socks.

Find it: Jet

13. POKEMON; $2.42

Pokemon Ankle Socks

Show off your love of Pokemon with Pikachu, Charmander, Psyduck, and Squirtle socks.

Find it: AliExpress

14. SAILOR MOON; $9.99

Defend the world against evil in the name of the Moon, with these Sailor socks. The pack of six comes with Sailor Moon, Sailor Mars, Sailor Mercury, Sailor Venus, Sailor Jupiter, and Chibiusa.

Find it: Amazon


According to the pilot in Antoine de Saint-Exupéry's classic book The Little Prince, the titular character probably hitches a ride off of his planet (B-612) and across the universe on a flock of birds. These Out of Print socks depict the pilot's drawing of the Little Prince taking to the skies.

Find it: Amazon

16. PENCILS; $10

Pencils are key for crosswords, drawings, and jotting down important notes. Celebrate the beloved writing utensil with these incredible socks.

Find it: Amazon


Stormtrooper socks

These cool socks look just like Storm Troopers from the Star Wars franchise. They fit shoe sizes 9–12.

Find it: Buckle

18. SUSHI; $19.99

Sushi socks

At first, this looks like a plush platter of sushi. When you unravel the "food," you'll discover it's actually two pairs of socks rolled to look like salmon and cucumber sushi.

Find it: Amazon

19. LEGO; $12

LEGO socks
Lord & Taylor

Stepping on LEGO bricks hurts, so protect yourself! We recommend this pair of LEGO-themed socks, plus a pair of slippers for good measure.

Find it: Lord & Taylor

Open Einstein
You Can Now Print 3D Replicas of Einstein's Childhood Toys
Open Einstein
Open Einstein

For children, playtime is an essential part of cognitive development. Now, you can give them toys that befit their genius: 3D replicas of the ones that Albert Einstein himself played with.

The LEGO Foundation, Unilever, and IKEA have launched Open Einstein, a site where you can download a 3D printing kit that allows you to make exact replicas of the wooden blocks the Nobel Prize-winning physicist played with during his childhood in Germany. "Play empowers children to create and learn for the rest of their lives," the site declares. "It is a fundamental right for all children."

The 3D printing kit provides designs for 36 toy blocks of various sizes and shapes. Einstein's wooden boxes of blocks, made by the German company Anker-Steinbaukasten, are currently held by a collector named Seth Kaller. (According to his website, you can buy them if you have $160,000 on hand.)

A dark image labeled 'Open Einstein' with wooden blocks in the background
Open Einstein

The 3D printing kit contains model instructions for only a fraction of the 160 blocks in the original set, which Einstein reportedly used throughout his childhood to erect complex structures at home. He wasn't the only famous fan of the toys: Frank Lloyd Wright, Buckminster Fuller, and other notable creatives played with the same blocks.

If you're looking for a particularly erudite toy to nurture your child's mind, blocks—whether Einstein-related or not—are a pretty good choice. The National Association for the Education of Young Children says that playing with blocks can enhance problem-solving skills, fine-tune motor skills, and boost creativity.

Your child may never come up with world-changing scientific theories, but if nothing else, hopefully the set will impart some of the genius's sense of creativity. Or at least his delightful playfulness.


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