The character of Hamlet, both in Shakespeare's play and in Mel Gibson's portrayal in the film, is a youth beset by injustice and indecision.In adapting the play for cinema, certain liberties have been taken however, for better or worse. …
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The character of Hamlet, both in Shakespeare's play and in Mel Gibson's portrayal in the film, is a youth beset by injustice and indecision.In adapting the play for cinema, certain liberties have been taken however, for better or worse. The most obvious discrepancy is the age difference: for Hamlet to fit into his period role he could have ranged from the age of 13 to possibly as old as 21. Gibson, to be generous, is at least 28. On the other hand, Shakespeare's mention of rapier and dagger for the final duel is probably more Elizabethan in time, while the film attempts a more period placement by the use of single and two handed broadswords, as well as short swords for the two sword duel. Considering that both are the same character (for the sake of description they shall be referred to as Hamlet or Gibson), there are a number of differences between the play and the version directed by Franco Zeffirelli. The most obvious place to begin comparison would be to analyze the structure of both.In order to understand the scene rearrangement in the movie, one must first examine the original order of the play. It is vital to have a listing of the order and elements Shakespeare wrote in order to see the movie's purpose for leaving out certain elements and for shuffling others. In order to conserve space, one can focus the summary on the scenes most directly in conflict with the film. The opening act of the play involves the watch both discussing the history of Fortinbras and the deceased Hamlet, as well as witnessing the latter's ghost. The final scene of Act I has Hamlet receiving instructions from his father's ghost while his friends support him while keeping their distance from the spirit. Act II encompasses two scenes, the latter half of which follows a quick succession of events: the King and Queen welcome Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, an update on the activities of Fortinbras, Hamlet mocking Polonius and then greeting Rosencrantz and Guildenstern only to then berate their reasons for coming to Ellsinore, ending with Polonius announcing the arrival of the players. Act III scene one involves the King and Polonius receiving the report from Hamlet's friends, then testing Hamlet's madness by using Ophelia to bait him. Act VI is somewhat scattered, as the first three scenes all deal with Hamlet's murder of Polonius and subsequent departure for England. The fourth scene is the only meeting between Hamlet and Fortinbras; the next shows Ophelia's descent into madness and Laertes's return. Hamlet informs Horatio via a letter that he will be returning to Ellsinore in scene six, while the final scene involves the King and Laertes, having learned of Hamlet's return, plot his demise until they learn of Ophelia's death. The final act has but two divisions: the first at Ophelia's grave site and the latter at the duel, in which most of the major characters die, an English ambassador reports the death of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, and Fortinbras appears to reclaim the lands his father lost. The evolution of the plot in this format serves to define a Hamlet tormented by indecision and grief, a character that can take action through events (such as through the players performance) but rarely initiates events himself he is pushed around more often than he chooses to push.
Just as Shakespearean theatre operates around the seven-element formula, so to do movies work around a cinematic formula. Yet, while there is always room for interpretation with plays, the leap of mediums to the big screen also involves the daunting task of editing a four-hour play to roughly two hours. The movie begins to bend the play's structure immediately in the first act. In lieu of the first scene of the play, the movie opens with the interment of the elder Hamlet, a scene in which Claudius, already wearing the crown over his dead brother's corpse, asks Gibson to look upon him as a father. While there is an edit done between this
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e the play’s lasting impact has a variety of reasons, one of its most seminal aspects is the brilliant means Shakespeare develops the characters, with the protagonist Prince Hamlet the most complex. Indeed, T.S. Eliot noted, "We find Shakespeares Hamlet not in the action, not
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There are also many flashbacks of biblical scenes of Jesus’ early life with Mary; his
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