About textual differences

One always needs to be careful when talking about "mistakes" in a particular edition of Shakespeare. There are many varying "original" editions of Shakespeare's plays, and it is only in a few cases that one can claim that a particular edition is more "authentic" than another. It is also important to realise that in most Elizabethan texts the punctuation was decided by the printer more often than by the author; punctuation varies significantly from copy to copy and it is likely that manuscripts and prompt books had little or no punctuation.

The source of these texts is the Mody (tm) Shakespeare. It is provided by many people on the net, including Project Gutenberg.

As an exercise, let us look through the text of Hamlet's "To be or not to be" speech compared to the Arden Hamlet. The differences are highlight below, but if you're interested in this yourself you might get a good scholarly edition of Hamlet which lists all the differences between early texts; some good choices are: an Arden single-play edition, the complete works edited by David Bevington, or the Riverside complete works.

So this is where the speech on the server differs from the speech as edited by Harold Jenkins for the Arden edition. The text is the one from the server, a line beginning with > indicates a difference.

To be, or not to be: that is the question:
Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles,
And by opposing end them? To die: to sleep;
> a period instead of a question mark

> a dash instead of a colon
No more; and by a sleep to say we end
The heart-ache and the thousand natural shocks
That flesh is heir to, 'tis a consummation
> a colon instead of a comma
Devoutly to be wish'd. To die, to sleep;
To sleep: perchance to dream: ay, there's the rub;
> the first colon is a comma, the second a dash
For in that sleep of death what dreams may come
When we have shuffled off this mortal coil,
Must give us pause: there's the respect
> a dash instead of a colon

> etc. there are several other minor differences in punctuation below but I'm not going to bother with the rest of them
That makes calamity of so long life;
For who would bear the whips and scorns of time,
The oppressor's wrong, the proud man's contumely,
The pangs of despised love, the law's delay,
> Jenkins chooses "dispriz'd" instead of "despised"; "dispriz'd" comes from the Folio, "despised" from the second Quarto
The insolence of office and the spurns
That patient merit of the unworthy takes,
When he himself might his quietus make
With a bare bodkin? who would fardels bear,
To grunt and sweat under a weary life,
But that the dread of something after death,
The undiscover'd country from whose bourn
No traveller returns, puzzles the will
And makes us rather bear those ills we have
Than fly to others that we know not of?
Thus conscience does make cowards of us all;
And thus the native hue of resolution
Is sicklied o'er with the pale cast of thought,
And enterprises of great pith and moment
> Jenkins chooses "pitch" from the second Quarto; "pith" is from the Folio
With this regard their currents turn awry,
And lose the name of action.--Soft you now!
The fair Ophelia! Nymph, in thy orisons
Be all my sins remember'd.