Kenneth Branagh’s production of Hamlet and The Royal Shakespeare’s Company production of Hamlet are hard to compare with each other. In terms of Hamlet’s famous soliloquy in the portrait scene, his meeting with Ophelia, the queen’s ability to stand up for herself and Hamlet’s reaction and response to his father’s ghost, the Branagh Hamlet exceeds my expectations on how these parts are performed.
The branagh version of Hamlet’s soliloquy in the portrait scene really depicts what I imagined it would sound like. For his soliloquy, his quietness of voice seems proper for this moment with himself. His words, “To die; to sleep; To sleep; perchance to dream; ay, there’s the rub,” are all solemnly said, Branagh creates this serious mood using his tone of voice. No boisterous movements, his slow steady walk to the mirror to look upon himself creates a serious atmosphere. I didn’t expect this soliloquy to be sad or gloomy, and Branagh did an excellent job making this serious. He was amazing acting out this part and taking on Hamlet’s emotion and character seriously. Unlike the Branagh version, The Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) doesn’t depict this certain soliloquy well. Although I am delighted that they did create a serious mood, they did skip part of his soliloquy relative to the original book. Although there is still the serious atmosphere in place, the omitting of several lines takes away some sympathy for Hamlet. As well, Hamlet’s facial expressions go from serious to sad, and over again repeatedly. It doesn’t seem right that Hamlet is depressed; this serious atmosphere doesn’t coincide with his sadness very well. I do get the impression he is serious and thinking deeply at the moment, but his gloomy nature makes me feel and think otherwise of him.
I also like the Branagh Hamlet for his meeting with Ophelia. I feel sympathy for Hamlet as he has a right to be upset. His weeping, even Ophelia’s weeping made my sympathy for him grow. But Ophelia seems to...
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