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Comparative Analysis Of The Ghost In Two Hamlet Movies

1094 words - 4 pages

Comparative Analysis Of The Ghost In Two Hamlet Movies

The play “Hamlet, Prince of Denmark”, by William Shakespeare being of such a complicated variety of themes, contains many different story lines as well as being very extensive in nature makes it quite a challenge to be produced and acted. On paper, the reader can translate things, as they like. Since Shakespeare is not around to tell us the meaning of every theme or the truth about every nook and cranny about his works. It is up to the reader to decide what the importance of everything is. Thus when a producer decides to create a film based on “Hamlet” it is most certain that his creation will vary from any others. Each will create their own version of the story, stressing some issues more than others as well as completely leaving sections out. In this essay I will compare Kenneth Branagh’s presentation of the ghost with Franco Zeffirelli’s.

In Kenneth Branagh’s version, the ghost is introduced at the very beginning of the film. We are unclear as to the purpose of the ghost’s visit through this vague first impression we are presented. Is he a good or evil spirit? He most certainly does not seem to be friendly and is reluctant to speak. One might question the whole purpose of the visit in the first place. It does not state the nature of its appearance and seems to almost attack the guards. However, Zeffirelli skips this first interlude completely and we are aware of the encounter with the ghost through a conversation Horatio and the guards have with Hamlet. In both film versions, as is presented in the play, Hamlet seems to believe what he is told without question.

     The second visit from the ghost is certainly the most important in analyzing the intentions as well as the actual character of the ghost. In Brannagh’s version the second appearance of the ghost is similar to a scene from a horror movie. The way Hamlet is portrayed running through the woods, with thick fog rising from the earth and a fast paced rhythm following his actions all resemble elements of a cliched horror movie. This first gives us the impression that we are to meet some evil stuff. Why else would he create this whole sci-fi image that totally does not fit in with the rest of the movie. Then the very instant we see the ghost’s pale blue eyes we get the sense that this thing has seen the darkest corners of the fires of hell. Right here is where his identity takes shape. (Even though when we cut to the flashback of the King’s murder he has the very same eyes. In the Ghost, the eyes are terrifying evidence of his supernatural ordeals; on a live character, they look artificial and take away from the ghost’s individuality as a supernatural being.) When we hear the ghost speak it is clear that this Ghost is angry. It is also clear that he is a supernatural being and wants things to get done. But what disturbs me is that there is very little, if any emotion being displayed here. The most immediate response is...

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