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Hamlet Film Essay

1576 words - 7 pages


Hamlet Film Essay  Hamlet is a play that transcends generations and has been placed on a pedestal of fame  along with its author, the legendary William Shakespeare. Every word in every line of dialogue  has been analyzed repeatedly and broken down by numerous experts of Shakespeare, not to  mention that thousands of high school students every year pay homage to the playwright by  reading and interpreting his famous text. Despite all of the time and effort invested into decoding  arguably Shakespeare’s most famous work, the true meaning he put behind the pen and paper  still remains wildly debated and surrounded with intrigue. Film directors and visionaries have  ...view middle of the document...

 Later, when she is let out in front of an audience of the king and the queen 


she is first on the ground, immobilized in a straightjacket. When she is let free, she fights against  her the people restraining her and her voice often raises to a shout in her insane exchange. A  particularly memorable scene is when she is singing, or rather screaming, her nonsense songs,  and presses against the king at the lines, “‘By Gis and by Saint Charity, alack, and fie for shame!  Young men will do't if they come to't by Cock, they are to blame.’” At the exact moment when  she says “cock,” she thrusts her hips directly at the king’s private area, sending him stumbling  back. In her madness, Ophelia’s strong will is emphasized through her fearlessness when she  faces the king and forceful and wild way she portrays her insanity. She drops to the ground at  “Quoth she, 'Before you tumbled me, you promis'd me to wed.' He answers: 'So would I 'a' done,  by yonder sun, an thou hadst not come to my bed,’” jabbing the air with her hips and writhing  around in a sexual manner. One can tell that Ophelia is not a sheltered girl, but a woman who has  had experience with her own sexuality. The additions of various sex scenes between her and  Hamlet reinforce this.   Branagh’s film portrays Ophelia’s madness as a way for her to strike out and express  anger and frustration against the unfortunate events happening around her; although her mind is  clouded, she does not lose dignity. During her last exchange with Laertes, her voice remains  even and her composure calm. She begins singing with the words, “And will he not come  again?And will he not come again? No, no, he is dead; go to thy deathbed; he never will come  again.” Turning away from her brother, she sings in a clear and pure voice, her expression  sorrowful and desolate. At the end of her singing, she turns back to her brother and casts a loving  look on his face. She quietly tells him, “God b' wi' you,” before standing up and walking away.  At this moment her insanity melts away and she appears dignified and strong. Later in the movie, 


after being hosed down by guards, she reveals the key to her cell hidden in her mouth. She hardly  seems insane; she is woman with a plan to break out and to continue on with her life. The last  time we see Ophelia is a cut to her lifeless form floating in the river. Her dignified and calculated  actions towards the end of the movie makes it seem like it was her plan to drown herself. In the  end she is a woman who chose to deal with her pain by choosing to end her own life.  The Ophelia in the 1990 Zeffirelli version of Hamlet is in stark contrast to Kate Winslet’s  portrayal. Played by Helena Bonham Carter, this Ophelia is shy and meek. Her body language  throughout the entire movie creates an image of a lost little girl. Ophelia is constantly averting  her eyes while speaking and placing her hands near her mouth or fluttering around her face. Her ...

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