Consider Kenneth Branagh’s Screen Version Of Hamlet
Consider Kenneth Branagh’s Screen Version Of Hamlet

Consider Kenneth Branagh’s Screen Version Of Hamlet

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  • Pages: 7 (3521 words)
  • Published: October 9, 2017
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The play, “Hamlet”, was written over four hundred years ago, by the famous play write William Shakespeare. For that reason, the language and jokes in the play are difficult to understand for the people of the twenty first century. Shakespeare writes in poetry and blank verse for the more elevated characters in the play, also using rhyming couplets to end scenes. However, prose is the style for the lower class of his characters. Many screen versions have been made of this play, but Branagh’s adaptation is one of the only versions that keep the original dialogue from this Shakespeare classic.

This play tends to be very popular with the people of modern society, whether as a film version or a theatre production. The reason it’s so popular is because it deals with the issues that most of us have to face in modern day life, for example, it contains a breakdown of trust and friendship, and it faces such issues as morality and mortality. “Hamlet” has been given a ‘revenge tragedy’ plot by Shakespeare. When we say ‘tragedy’, as in the modern usage, we don’t just mean a sad event, it is a particularly literary genre.

Tragedy’ has a number of characteristics, taken originally form Greek drama, and developed by later dramatists in Europe and Britain. There is a predominant flowering of ‘tragedy’ in Elizabethan and Jacobean periods. In a ‘tragedy’, the protagonist is usually someone of high position and he or she is the central character. Also, the protagonist falls from their high position,

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generally to their death. In this fall other people are brought down in a fatal flaw, this flaw causes a reverse in fortune. ‘Tragedy’s’ have the biggest effect on the audience than any other literary genre.

There is identification, where the member of the audience ‘identifies’ with the protagonist; there is always suspension of belief; it is also a vicarious experience – this is where we go through something at second hand, this allows us to encounter danger and death without actually going through it; lastly, the audience goes through such catharsis as pity and fear. Because it is a ‘revenge tragedy’ it means that something has happened to the protagonist to make him want revenge, and it is whilst taking their revenge when the tragedy aspect happens.

There are quite a few characters in “Hamlet”, which influence the proceedings of the play, firstly we have Hamlet, and he is the Prince of Denmark, son of the Queen, Gertrude, and nephew to Claudius. At the very beginning of the play, he is presented with a great problem, the ghost of his father appears to tell him of how he was murdered by his brother, Claudius, and then he demands revenge, placing a moral imperative on Hamlet. Hamlet isn’t sure for a while, and he pretends to be mad for a certain amount of time.

But when he knows what his father said was true, by putting on a play where the player king is killed in the same way which Claudius killed King Hamlet, the expression on Claudius’ face had guilty written all over it. So, once he had proven

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the truth of what his father had told him, to himself, he is resolute and fearless in his acts to get revenge. The Two Brothers of “Hamlet” are King Hamlet (deceased) and Claudius. King Hamlet is the father of Prince Hamlet, he died before the play begins, and therefore we only see him as a ghost.

But other characters in the play, particularly Hamlet, speak of his courage and merits. Claudius is the brother and murderer of the dead King, and is and now King of Denmark himself. He married Gertrude shortly after the death of King Hamlet, much to the disgust of Hamlet. Claudius, at first, seems to be a genuinely courteous and efficient man, but as the play goes on he is revealed as a ‘smiling, damned villain’. The next six characters are described to be the Victims Of Disaster.

Firstly, Gertrude, the Queen of Denmark, killed in Act Five Scene Two. Since she married Claudius she acquiesces in all of his plans. Polonius is the one who triggers off the action in the play, he takes himself very seriously, and he has two children Laertes and Ophelia. He is killed by Hamlet in Act Three Scene Four, he was hiding behind a curtain whilst Hamlet was talking to Gertrude, Hamlet thought he was Claudius and stabbed him through the curtain.

Next, Ophelia, daughter of Polonius, sister of Laertes, she and Hamlet are in love, but sometimes it doesn’t look that way, for example, in the ‘Nunnery’ scene (Act Three Scene One), Ophelia gives Hamlet back his ‘remembrances’, this angers Hamlet and he lets loose on Ophelia all the bitterness he has been feeling since his mothers marriage to Claudius, ‘Are you honest… Are you fair? Get thee to a nunnery! ‘ Here Hamlet is saying that Ophelia is impure, and that her lies cloud her beauty, Ophelia’s distressed by Hamlets treatment of her. Ophelia kills herself, by drowning, in Act Four Scene Seven.

After that we have Laertes, son of Polonius, passionate in defence of his family honour, as we see in Act Five Scene One. Lastly, we have Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, said to be Hamlet’s school friends, summoned to the court Claudius, then used as tools to spy on Hamlet. The Survivors of the play are Fortinbras and Horatio. Fortinbras, Prince of Norway, becomes King of Denmark at the very end of the play. Horatio, dear friend to Hamlet, always trusted and at all times gives sensible advice. The characters used in Act Five Scene One are Hamlet, Horatio, Gertrude, Claudius, Laertes, Ophelia (deceased), a Priest, and two gravediggers.

Act Five Scene One begins with Hamlet and Horatio observing two gravediggers preparing a grave, which we know is Ophelia’s but Hamlet doesn’t, this is a drama technique where the dramatist lets the audience know something before some of the characters get to know, in this case the dialogue concerns the person to be buried. But before Hamlet realises whose funeral is about to take place, he talks with Horatio about human flesh and blood returning to earth, and how you could be King whilst alive, but once dead you have nothing.

Whilst

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