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Interpretation of Conflict within Hamlet Essay

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Throughout a variety of movie interpretations of a given film, one version proves to be the most effective for distinct reasons. Within Act 3, Scene 4 of Hamlet, Shakespeare provides little direction by which the scene should be interpreted, but the play, taken in its entirety, proposes a certain way in which Hamlet and Gertrude express their emotions. This has led to distinctive cinematic interpretations of this scene, all in which portray the storyline in a unique way. Kenneth Branagh’s version of the closet scene provides a more realistic portrayal of the conflict between Hamlet and Gertrude than the Gregory Dovan and Campbell Scott versions; Branagh’s view on the mother-son relationship, Hamlet’s reaction to the ghost and Gertrude’s guilt is closer to the original text in which Shakespeare leaves room for audience interpretation.

Branagh’s view on the mother-son relationship in the closet scene is a more practical portrayal in comparison to Gregory Dovan and Campbell Scott’s versions. Firstly, in the film directed by Kenneth Branagh, the relationship between Hamlet and Gertrude is portrayed with emotional intensity, as they both struggle to come to terms with reality. When Hamlet says “I must be cruel only to be kind” (Ham. III.iv.180), he and Gertrude place their foreheads together, as they both repent on the conflict apparent within their relationship. At this point in their conversation, Hamlet has lowered his vocal tone, speaking to Gertrude in a calm manner (Branagh 1996). This action proves that Branagh believes Hamlet and Gertrude have a close connection as mother and son. Although Branagh allows for Hamlet’s emotions to get the better of him earlier in this scene, Hamlet’s true anxiety is portrayed as a result of h...


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... the mother-son relationship, Hamlet’s reaction to the ghost and Gertrude’s guilt is closer to the original text in which Shakespeare leaves room for audience interpretation. Had Shakespeare not penned a true reflection of human behaviour in all its subtleties, the Dovan and Scott versions of Hamlet might not have been questioned for their legitimacy.



Works Cited

Branagh, Kenneth dir. Hamlet. By William Shakespeare. Per. Kenneth Branagh, Julie Christie,
Derek Jacobi. 1996. DVD. Warner Brothers Home Entertainment, 2007.
Dovan, Gregory dir. Hamlet. By William Shakespeare. Per. David Tennant, Patrick Stewart.
2010. DVD. BBC Worldwide Americas Incorporated, 2010.
Scott, Campbell dir. Hamlet. By William Shakespeare. Per. Campbell Scott, Blair Brown,
Roscoe Lee Brouwne, Lisa Gay Hamilton. 2000. DVD. Hallmark Entertainment, 2000.


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