Hamlet Movie Interpretation

Only available on StudyMode
  • Download(s) : 176
  • Published : September 25, 2008
Open Document
Text Preview
William Shakespeare’s Hamlet tells the story of how betrayal and the supernatural lead Hamlet, the prince of Denmark, down a path of self-destruction. Gertrude, Hamlet’s mother, also plays an instrumental role in his decline. Her quick marriage to his uncle, Claudius, who kills his father, devastates Hamlet. He ponders adopting the Greco-Roman philosophy of revenge, but questions its morality because he respects the Judeo-Christian virtue that honors fathers, old or new. These elements lure Hamlet into a psychological metamorphosis and nourish his emotional insecurities. In the movie versions of Hamlet, specifically in the Gertrude bedroom scene, Laurence Olivier and Franco Zeffirelli examine Hamlet’s sanity and his relationship with Gertrude. Both Olivier and Zeffirelli use aural and visual representation, but Olivier’s Hamlet retains more of the original structure and text of the play, allowing for some interpretation, while Zeffirelli edits the lines of the play generously and incorporates explicit imagery to present his position of Hamlet’s story. In exploring Hamlet’s mental state, Olivier incorporates ghostly sounds and howling music, and he uses a close-up of Hamlet’s face to promote the idea that he is unstable. For instance, in the Gertrude bedroom scene, a physical ghost is never seen. Olivier uses the haunting sounds to indicate the possibility of a ghost in the room when Hamlet and Gertrude are physically struggling. Hamlet stops and stares quizzically around the room, looking for a figure. Fear and panic consume him as he releases Gertrude. Olivier’s imagery encompasses Hamlet in a powerless state as he fumbles on the floor, speaking to an indistinguishable image and empty space. Olivier places the audience in the “ghost's “point of view, and we observe Hamlet in his mentally fragile state. Olivier forces us to consider whether Hamlet really sees a ghost or is having a mental breakdown. Through his imagery, Olivier creates the possibility that...
tracking img