Or it would be written down later by an actor or group of actors, which, according to the theory, has been termed “memorial reconstruction”. Bad quartos are considered to include the first quartos of Romeo and Juliet, Henry V, The Merry Wives of Windsor, and Hamlet. The concept has expanded to include quartos of plays by other Elizabethan authors, including Peele’s The Battle of Alcazar, Greene’s Orlando Furioso, and the collaborative script, Sir Thomas More. Jonathan Bate states that “late twentieth- and early twenty-first century scholars have begun to question the whole edifice. ”The concept of the “Bad Quarto” as a category of text was created by bibliographer Alfred W. Pollard in his book Shakespeare Folios and Quartos. The idea came to him in his reading of the address by the editors, John Heminges and Henry Condell and this address is titled, “To the Great Variety of Readers. ”In this address Heminges and Condell refer to “diuerse stolne, and surreptitious copies” of the plays. It had been thought that that reference was generally to quarto editions of the plays, Pollard points out that the texts contained “badness”, but also that there was badness in those who pirated the plays. The scholar W. W. Greg, worked closely with Pollard, he published the bad quarto of The Merry Wives of Windsor, which is a work that is significant in the history of the “bad quarto” theory. For Shakespeare, the First Folio of 1623 is the document, of the thirty-six plays contained in that collection. The idea caught on among Shakespeare scholars, the concept of the bad quarto was extended to play texts by authors other than Shakespeare, and by the second half of the twentieth century the idea was widely being used. However, by the end of the century, considerable doubt had been cast on the concept of memorial reconstruction by the work of Laurie Maguire, some problems exist with the bad quarto hypothesis. The first quarto of Richard III is considered a bad quarto, alexander himself recognized that the idea of memorial reconstruction did not apply perfectly to the two plays he studied, which possessed problematical features that could not be explained this way. He maintained that the quartos of the two histories were partial memorial reconstructions. In this view, memorial reconstruction is a modern fiction, individual scholars have sometimes favored alternative explanations for variant texts—in some cases, revision. Steven Roy Miller considers a revision hypothesis in preference to a hypothesis for The Taming of a Shrew. Other studies have questioned the view on bad quartos, as in David Farley-Hillss work on Romeo. She found that actors typically add, drop or invert single words, however, the larger-scale errors expected if actors were attempting to piece together the plays some time after their performance failed to appear in all but a few of the bad quartos. The study did, however, uncover some circumstantial evidence for memorial reconstruction in the bad quartos of Hamlet, The Merry Wives of Windsor and Pericles. According to Maguire, virtually all the bad quartos appear to be accurate renditions of original texts that merit our attention as valid texts in their own right
Hamlet Q1 (1603), the first published text of Hamlet, is often described as a "bad quarto".
Comparison of the "To be, or not to be" soliloquy in the first three editions of Hamlet