Eng. 102 B50
20 March 2015
Hamlet Play to Film Comparison
Shakespeare's tragedy Hamlet was originally written as a play, but as time has passed it has been produced, on many different occasions, as a motion picture. The two forms share many similar scenes throughout the work. Three of these scenes are Hamlet's encounter with his father's ghost, Hamlet's killing of Polonius, and Hamlet's final battle with Laertes.
The first major similarity between the play and the movie comes when Hamlet sees and talks with the ghost of his recently murdered father. In lines ten through thirteen the ghost exclaims to Hamlet, "Doomed for a certain term to walk the night and for the day confined to fast in fires till the foul crimes done in my days of nature are burnt and purged away." Likewise in the movie, this emotion fills Hamlet's mind with both sorrow and hatred for his uncle. "Revenge his foul and most unnatural murder." (lines 30-33) The ghost makes an emotional plea for Hamlet to revenge against Claudius. Hamlet replies with a promise to his father's ghost, "Haste me to know’t that I, with wings as swift as meditation or the thoughts of love may sweep to my revenge."
Hamlet is a complex character and all actors who approach the role tend to do so in their own way and chose which aspect of the character they want to focus on or what light they'd like to be perceived in. Gibson zeroed in on the internal conflict of Hamlet. Mel also put much stow into Hamlet's impending madness and his sadness over the hardships Hamlet encountered over the duration of the play. The play gives footing to both of these emotions. Gibson's portrayal of Hamlet stayed faithful to the original play and its source material, The originator was unable to film what his true vision of the character should be, leaving much of Hamlet's emotion, mannerisms, and expression to the imagination. In both the original and the adaptation, the basic foundation of the character was kept as close as could be, aside from that it's all subjective.
Another major comparison between the movie and the play comes when Hamlet goes to confront his mother about her involvement in his father's death and ends up killing Polonius. Gertrude, feeling Hamlet's disgust for her actions, fears that he might murder her. As seen in lines 22-33 of Act III scene IV she calls for the help of the hidden Polonius. "What wilt thou do? Thou wilt not murder me? Help, ho!" In the movie Gertrude has an extremely worried expression on her face and as she calls for help there is motion behind a giant tapestry. This enrages Hamlet even more because someone has overheard his suspicions. "How now? A rat?…