Hamlet´s Soliloquy Through the Years

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Cinematic art has portrayed popular literature in a variety of ways throughout its history. A plethora of movie directors have put their depiction on certain scenes from these famous works. Hamlet, from William Shakespeare’s timeless classic, Hamlet, has had his famous soliloquy, “To be or not to be”(III.i.56), reproduced in a variety of tones throughout history. Specifically, there have been three persistent tones that have been in the majority of the soliloquy’s vast interpretations. In Laurence Olivier’s, Hamlet (1948), Hamlet is portrayed as a confused, lost character that ponders some of life’s toughest questions. Mel Gibson’s 1990 version of Hamlet depicts Hamlet as a dark, reticent character who only speaks in a dismal way. Finally, in Kenneth Branaugh’s Hamlet (1996), Hamlet is portrayed as deranged individual who is insane, within the context of the scene. Hamlet’s famous soliloquy, “To be or not to be”(III.i.56), has been reproduced by modern moviemakers as either dark, insane or confused in different versions because of Hamlet’s multifaceted and complex character. Laurence Olivier’s interpretation of the soliloquy portrays Hamlet as a confused individual, searching for the answer in life. Olivier uses a variety of movie techniques such as tone, setting and character portrayal to carry his perception of the famous soliloquy to his viewers. In the opening of the scene, Hamlet speaks the words, “To be or not to be”(3:19-3:33) as he stares out to the ocean in front of him. This initial shot of the scene gives the viewer a look into what is going on in Hamlet’s mind. His head, like the ocean, is filled with vast confusion as he tries to mull whether to live or to take his own life. There are a variety of instances throughou... ... middle of paper ... ...anaugh portray Hamlet as an insane individual. The film industry has evolved in its understanding of Hamlet in the twentieth century. It is left up to the audience to decide what the real explanation of the story is. Works Cited Hamlet. Dir. Kenneth Branaugh. By William Shakespeare and Kenneth Branaugh. Perf. Kenneth Branaugh, Julie Christie. Castle Rock Entertainment, 1996. Film. Hamlet. Dir. Laurence Olivier. By William Shakespeare. Perf. Laurence Olivier, Jean Simmons. Learning Corp. of America, 1948. Film. [Hamlet--trailers]. Dir. Franco Zefferelli. By William Shakespeare and Christopher De Vore. Perf. Mel Gibson, Glenn Close. Warner Bros. Pictures, 1990. Film. Ritter, Maddy. "5 Hamlet "To Be or Not to Be" Soliloquies." YouTube. YouTube, 23 Oct. 2012. Web. 01 Dec. 2013. Shakespeare, William, and A. R. Braunmuller. Hamlet. New York: Penguin, 2001. Print.

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