Thursday, May 22, 2008

Hamlet portrayed by Kenneth Branagh

In the whole blog, Kenneth Branagh’s version of Hamlet’s soliloquy captures Hamlet’s feelings and mentality toward his uncle in the current situation the best. Compared to the other two videos, this version gives off a better understanding toward Hamlet. In the Branagh’s video, it set the stage in a room similar to a palace room, which is more relative to the setting of the actual play and the royalties of Denmark. The use of the mirror on the wall and the knife give a better view of Hamlet’s current state. The mirror reveals his inner soul and consciousness and the knife shows the state of mind.

As he stands several feet parallel to the mirror with his reflection in it and asks “To be or not to be, that is the question:” (81, line 55), it produces the image of Hamlet taking a deeper look at his own thoughts. As he continue with the words “Whether ‘tis nobler to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, or to take arms against a sea of troubles, And by opposing, end them.” (81, lines 56-59), it reveals what is going on in his mind. It also gives a sense of his subconscious mind speaking directly to him. All of those words were spoken in a soft voice similar to a voice in a dream. The lines of “To die, to sleep” (81, line 59) are repeated more than once in the soliloquy giving the continuous feelings of a dream. It is as if he views of another world reflected through the mirror. Also as he pulled out his sword and point to the mirror, it reveals an image of another person that could be Claudius in a flash. It gives of him looking at an unreal world because of how he speaks and that flash of an image. It shows also he is thinking of revenge by that single image. His sword was pointing the knife at that image showing his consistent mindset of revenge.

Hamlet voices his words softly and draws toward louder tone as if he is going from sanity to insanity and also furious of the occurred events. Hamlet says the lines of “the law’s delay, the insolence of office, and the spurns that patient merit of th’ unworthy takes” (82, lines 71-74) shows the premonition of Claudius’s demise by his hand in his way. It shows his disturbed side to his hidden audience. Also as he speaks on the lines “no travelers returns, puzzles the will” (82, lines 79), he hold the knife to his head. It gives the evidence of his insanity or disturbed mind. It seems the anger, disturb, and insane mindset occur when his thoughts come upon Claudius because the flashing image appears just right after he predict Claudius’s demise and as he explain that about the mere knife which represent Claudius’s killing and the “fardels bear”(line 75) as in the guilt of killing king Hamlet.

In Branagh’s video, it shows Hamlet’s feelings and mentality toward his uncle directly. His disturbed mind and feelings are shown in a comprehensive manner. The other two is a bit confusing. The first video by Laurence Olivier portrays Hamlet’s soliloquy in a good way, yet the subject of who Hamlet is talking about is not clear. It is where Hamlet is all alone on a tower which give no indication of who he is talking about and a setting not relevant to the text. It shows that Hamlet is truly insane and that is all. The second video by Alexander Fodor portrays his version in a modern version, yet in a confusing manner. It is hard to connect what is going on in the background to the words. It seems that the lines and the actions do not match. The action of young people kissing a person who is either dead or sleeping does not connect to the idea that Hamlet is speaking the lines other than insanity.

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