Tough Love in Mel Gibson's Hamlet and Branagh's Hamlet

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Tough Love in Mel Gibson's Hamlet and Branagh's Hamlet One of the most emotional and moving scenes in William Shakespeare's tragedy Hamlet is in Act III, Scene I lines 90-155 in which the title character becomes somewhat abusive toward his once loved girlfriend Ophelia. It is interesting to examine the possible motives behind Hamlet's blatant harshness in this "Get the to a nunnery" scene toward the easily manipulated and mild mannered girl. While watching Kenneth Branagh and Mel Gibson's film adaptations of the play, the audience may recognize two possibilities of the many that may exist which may explain the Prince's contemptible behavior; Kenneth Branaugh seems to suggest that this display of animosity will help the troubled man convince his enemies that he is in fact demented, whereas the Mel Gibson work may infer that Hamlet's repressed anger toward his mother causes him to "vent" his frustrations upon Ophelia, the other female of importance in his life. Though the reader realizes Hamlet's extreme anger and brooding throughout the entire play, he has no actual confrontation with another character until the aforementioned lines in Act III Scene I. One may notice the Prince's biting tone aimed at Claudius, Polonius or even Gertrude, but until his "Get the to a nunnery!" speech, no outbursts of pure rage in the presence of others can be found. This harshness in relation to Ophelia may be one of Hamlet's first moments of "action." The Prince seems reluctant to act upon any of his emotions toward anyone, though he often does give off an aura of discontentment and sorrow over his father's death. However, in these specific lines the audience sees Hamlet take an active stance in purging this young lady's once p... ... middle of paper ... ...he primary cause of the violent reaction to Ophelia. Living in an environment of deception and hostility, the reader can easily identify with Hamlet's anger. Most all compassionate audiences will be sympathetic to his plight. However, the origins of Hamlet's vehement actions toward his once beloved Ophelia can be debated from several different points of view. Whatever his reasoning may be, it is probably correct to assume that he regrets deeply every harsh world spoken toward Ophelia. He only realizes again what a beautiful and kind person she was- after her death. Works Cited Hamlet. Dir. Franco Zeffirelli. Perf. Mel Gibson and Glenn Close. Videocassette. Warner Home Video, 1990. William Shakespeare's Hamlet. Dir. Kenneth Branagh. Perf. Kenneth Branagh, Derek Jacobi, and Kate Winslet. Videocassette. Castle Rock Entertainment, 1996.

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