Hamlet Essay

Topics: Hamlet, Existentialism, Kenneth Branagh Pages: 3 (948 words) Published: April 22, 2013
In Shakespeare’s Hamlet, through his protagonist, he explores ideas relating to conflict. Using detailed textual evidence, how has your personal response to Hamlet been shaped through the composers use of dramatic techniques? ‘ [Hamlet] is a success, for he gets his man, but a failure, for he leaves eight bodies, including his own, where there was only meant to be one’- B.Nightingale Shakespeare composed Hamlet as a representation of the conflict inherent in issues surrounding life and death and the many reinterpretations of the text attest to Catherine Belsey’s theory of the ‘myth of an unchanging human nature’. Modern interpretations of Hamlet such as Kenneth Branagh’s 1996 film use the medium of film and existential issues to create new meaning from Shakespeare’s original text. In using the conventions of the revenge tragedy genre, expectations are created for an audience who understand the conflict that looms under Claudius’s leadership unless Hamlet revenges his father’s ‘most foul and unnatural murder’. Yet Hamlet is conflicted over the moral dilemma that confronts him, expressing this through his Judeo Christian perspective of ‘O cursed spite that ever I was born to set it right’. His powerful use of soliloquy throughout the play explores the paradigm shift between Renaissance and Judeo-Christian ideas on life and life after death. ‘To be or not to be...’ asks Hamlet, reflecting the philosophical existential concerns of this context and supporting the plays longevity for these paramount concerns remain relevant to every context. Here Shakespeare has successfully mirrored the ferment and change in his society, whilst modern directors mirror theirs in ways that reflect their values and beliefs. It is for this reason that Shakespeare’s work is described as ‘not of an age, but for all time’ (Ben Johnson). Shakespeare’s exploration of the conflict caused by the ferment of the times underpins Hamlet with Shakespeare’s use of verisimilitude consistently used...
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