Kenneth Branaugh's Hamlet or William Shakespeare's Hamlet?

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Kenneth Branaugh's Hamlet or William Shakespeare's Hamlet? Kenneth Branaugh may have had the script of William Shakespeare's Hamlet spoken down to every last thee and thou, but one must remember that this is Hamlet through Branaugh's eyes, not Shakespeare's. Therefore, dismissing obvious additions made for adapting the play to film, such as having a real castle instead of a stage, it is possible to observe the unique characters, interpretations, actions, and setting that make this version the director's own. In the time of Shakespeare, one of the actors main challenges was to use the words to paint the scene for the audience, since, for the most part, they were looking at a bare stage. However, this use of imagination and portrayal is no longer needed when the script is brought to film. Every pearl and snowflake have been placed strategically before the audience, so that there is no need to listen to the language to create your own vision of Hamlet's world. Branaugh's world is full of lavish affairs, freezing winters, and halls of mirrors. The use of the camera has some definite advantages and disadvantages. First, since the characters are no longer limited by a defined space, they are able to deliver their long speeches while being in a constant state of motion. This occurs in the scene with the guards, and most noticeably in the scene with Laertes and Ophelia, before he leaves for France. This same scene demonstrates how the camera enables the characters to switch from one setting to the next, as when Laertes, Ophelia, and Polonius are taken from outside to the church. This, in turn, helps Branaugh set the scene for Ophelia and Polonius, in which, Ophelia confesses everything to her father, perhaps only because she is in a confession booth. Filming also allows for clarification of what is being said through silent plays. During characters' dialogue, the scene switches to actions of the past, present, and even to things that could happen. This seems to be used to give the audience a better understanding of what is happening, and it also helps to further develop the characters so that the story is built up to the audience, rather then being tossed into the middle of the storyline. Young Fortinbras is often shown in these silent plays and is the only way his character is able to be developed to such an extent. This technique is... ... middle of paper ... ...h Hamlet being carried out in a cross formation, perhaps suggesting that Hamlet's pursuit of vengeance was his crucifixion. There are so many ways this work can be interpreted and acted out, and that makes it hard to be critical when there is no standard to compare it to. This film was Kenneth Branaugh's vision of Hamlet, and so to him it is magnificent. To myself, this film had many brilliant spots and was very thorough and well acted out. However, at times, the action and music became a bit overwhelming. Perhaps Branaugh got a little to caught up in the moment, it is hard to say. The silent plays that were shown throughout ( King Hamlet's death, the drowned Ophelia, Hamlet's childhood days with Yurich, Priam's slaughter, Fortinbras) added a lot to the film, because it gave the characters a history and allowed for a non-shakespearean audience to better understand what was being said. The adaptation from play to film is not always very easy, and obviously some changes have to occur. Branaugh's version of Hamlet definitely had some additions, but it still captured the essence of Shakespeare making it an interesting piece of work, and an enjoyable film.

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