"You have not experienced Shakespeare until you have read him in the original Klingon." Klingon Chancellor Gorkon in Star Trek VI: The Undiscoverd Country
It is pushing 45 years since I last read Hamlet. I am not sure what prompted me to reread it now.
Shakespeare has a very good claim to be called the best writer who ever lived. I think I might have been prompted to reread it now through my recent readings of classic French writers like Proust, Balzac and Zola to try to climb as high as one can in the reading life, to experience possibly the very best. I see Hamlet epitomized Italo Calvino's definition of a classic work of literature as one that is inexhaustible, that can be read over and over always knowing you will discover more about the work and yourself with each reading.
I found I recalled parts of the plot and parts I had totally forgotten. I remembered many of the lines that have passed into the culture. Reading it again was not like rereading an old friend like Oliver Twist but seeing without fear it was not beyond reading as enjoyment and for the sublime pleasure only rereading the very best works of literature can bring.
If you have old memories of pedantic pedagogical professors doing their best to make you hate Shakspeare then purge these. In fact in a shameful moment this morning on the American TV Fox Network the hostess suggested only the pompous and prentitious pretended to read Shakespeare. I fear for a culture where those who read great literature are mocked.
I hope to reread Hamlet at least once in 2015. I will next reread King Lear.
If you first read Shakespeare in college and then reread it years later just because you felt like it, please share your experiences with us.