Topic 1: the portrayal of the King and Queen: How are the moments leading up to their deaths presented? Does this direction suggest the audience should convict them or absolve them-or a combination of the two?
Topic 2: the portrayal of the entrance of Fortinbras: how is this important entrance staged? How has the director interpreted Fortinbras role in the conclusion of the tragedy.
Due to the popularity of Hamlet, many versions of it have been made in film and theatre. The large amount of versions made means that each one is subject to the director’s interpretation to the text, and modifications are made to suit such interpretation.
The film adaptation of Hamlet directed by Kenneth Branagh was the most accurate from the 3 films viewed in class. The portrayal of the King and Queen was the same as in the play, written by William Shakespeare. As the fencing match commences, King Claudius tells everyone that he will drink to Hamlet’s better health if he gets the first hit. “Stay, give me drink.—Hamlet, this pearl is thine. Here’s to thy health.” Once Claudius drops the earl in the goblet, he tells Hamlet to drink, but hamlet refuses. As the fencing match carries on, Hamlet gets another hit and this time the Queen grabs the poisoned drink from the King and she drinks it. “The queen carouses to thy fortune, Hamlet”. She drinks it without the consent of her King. As she drinks the poisoned drink, the fight is still going on. And once Gertrude has the effects of the poisoned drink, everyone can see that she is feeling uncomfortable, yet Hamlet continues to fight and Claudius is by Gertrude’s side telling her she will be fine. When Hamlet figures out the King is to blame, he stabs him in the arm with his sword causing Claudius to fall on to a chair. Then Hamlet cuts a rope making the chandelier collapse on the King. From there, Hamlet forces the poisoned drink into Claudius’s mouth causing him to die instantly. As all this drama is happening, Fortinbras is smashing through windows and killing several guards to take over the castle. In the last scene, when everyone is dead, Fortinbras comes in and steals the throne, but still gives Hamlet a proper funeral. As he says, “Let four captains/Bear Hamlet like a soldier to the stage,/For he was likely, had he been put on / To have proved most royally. And, for his passage,/The soldiers' music and the rites of war/ Speak loudly for him./ Take up the bodies. Such a sight as this/ Becomes the field, but here shows much amiss./ Go, bid the soldiers shoot.”
Hamlet, directed by Mel Gibson, was the most precise in terms of setting. The appearance of the castle, the clothing was all so accurate. This version however, was very difficult from the Kenneth Branagh version. In Mel Gibson’s version, there were a lot of scenes that were cut off. This film was different too. When Hamlet and Laertes started their sword fight (in this version, instead of using Epees, they use actual swords) Hamlet was teasing by acting of how heavy the swords were. In the Branagh and the Olivier version, Hamlet is very serious about this fencing match. In the Gibson’s version, when Gertrude drinks to Hamlet’s first hit, instead of grabbing the goblet from the King’s hand ( she did that in Branagh’s film) she takes the goblet from the table and drinks the poisoned wine. The big shocker in this film was that, after she drank the wine, she then realized the King was to blame. He was the one who poisoned the drink, and she figured out that Hamlet was right all along. As soon as the Queen starts to feel uncomfortable, she falls off the chair and instead of Hamlet continues to fight, he rushes to her side and