Loyalty in Hamlet

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“Loyalty” in 2009 television film Hamlet

The performance to be analyzed in this article is the 2009 blockbuster television film version of Hamlet. The article attempts to explore one of the major themes in the performance --- loyalty. In the following paragraphs, the selected version will be firstly introduced. A brief summary of plot of the film will also be provided. Of course, most of the writing will concentrate on “loyalty” in the film, including “loyalty” reflected on the important characters as well as the tactics utilized in the film to highlight the theme. Finally, a concise conclusion will be presented.

Introduction of the play
The 2009 television film version of Hamlet is an adaptation of 2008 award-winning modern-dress stage production of Hamlet produced by the Royal Shakespeare Company (Wilson, 2009). The television film was released on December 26, 2009 in UK and it was broadcasted on BBC (Wilson, 2009). The film is directed by Gregory Doran and the whole play lasts 185 minutes (Wilson, 2009). This television film receives much attention partly because it has employed many modern elements to make William Shakespeare’s masterpiece Hamlet reappear to the audiences in a fresh style. Modern devices such as guns, security cameras and one-way mirror are adopted in the performance. Hamlet is wearing modern T-shirt and jeans while Claudius is suited and booted. Another reason to make the film attractive lies in the selection of actors. Hamlet is acted by David Tennant, who is famous for performing in the Doctor Who. Claudius is acted by Patrick Stewart who is one the main characters in X-men. The author of the article believes that this is a wonderful version to be probed. Although the properties are contemporary and the settings are splendid which are in accordance with taste of many modern audience, the story is true to the original. Both the plot and the temperament of characters comply with the original play. Another reason to choose this version is that “loyalty” which is primarily one of the major themes in Hamlet is especially highlighted in this television film. It is worth exploring why “loyalty” is especially presented to us modern audience.

Summary of the plot
Hamlet (both original play and this film) tells a story of revenge. While away at university, Prince Hamlet learns the death of his father who is the king of Denmark. Prince Hamlet returns home, finding that his mother (Gertrude) has married Claudius who is the brother of his dead father. Conventionally, it is Prince Hamlet who succeeds the crown but not his uncle Claudius (Hunt, 2007). What makes Prince outrageous is his mother’s incestuous conduct since it seems that his mother has forgotten the love with his respected father (Hunt, 2007). Later, Prince Hamlet learns the existence of the apparition of his father from Horatio. The ghost informed Hamlet that he is murdered by Claudius. The apparition charges Prince Hamlet to avenge for him and Prince Hamlet declares his loyalty to his father (Hunt, 2007). Based on this, the battle between Hamlet and Claudius commences. In order to realize revenge, Prince Hamlet pretends to be mad, killing Polonius who is the aged counselor to Claudius (Hunt, 2007). Finally, although the revenge is accomplished, the denouement is tragic. Many people die, including Claudius, Gertrude, Prince Hamlet, Laertes, Ophelia, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern. Although some of the characters have not been introduced in this session, they will be emerged in the analysis of “loyalty” in Hamlet since loyalty has been reflected on these important characters.

Analysis of “loyalty” in Hamlet
Loyalty is one of the most salient themes in the original play of Hamlet. Maybe this theme is inevitable because of the origin of the story and the produce background. Hunt (2007) stated the story of Hamlet originated from the script written by the Danish historian Saxo Grammaticus. The theme “loyalty” seems to be suggested in the...
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