This website uses cookies to ensure you have the best experience. Learn more

Inaccessible Oedipus: Comparing Olivier's And Branagh's Women (An Contrast Between Gertrude And Ophelia In Lawrence Olivier's Hamlet And Kenneth Branagh's Hamlet)

1153 words - 5 pages

Strong, clearly defined characters can make or break a film. While a movie may advertise the best special effects ever seen or have a plot filled with unforeseen twists, few viewers will pay any attention if the characters are bland or difficult to identify with. This is especially true for the many adaptations of Shakespeare’s works, and it can lead to challenges as modern filmmakers try to create a film that the masses can enjoy. Both Branagh and Olivier created film versions of Hamlet that were critically acclaimed, but only one has resonated with the contemporary viewer. Branagh’s rejection of the oedipal themes seen throughout Olivier’s film makes Branagh’s women more accessible to a modern audience than the women in Olivier’s film.Freud first introduced the idea of an Oedipus complex; he described it as a part of normal psychosexual development where a young boy falls in love with his mother and may even develop sexual feelings towards her. The boy sees his father as a rival for his mother’s love, and the child often develops aggression or even jealously towards his father (Coleman) The problem with using the Oedipus complex in describing Hamlet is that the Oedipus complex peaks between ages 3 and 6. While parents of young children may readily identify with the concept as seen in their children, few can relate to the idea of a grown man who harbors sexual feelings for his mother. People best identify with characters or ideas that are often seen in their own lives; if a character’s portrayal is too dependent upon a foreign idea, such as an Oedipus complex, today’s viewer will not be able to understand or relate to the character because of it.Olivier’s film has very overt oedipal themes, and this is most obvious in his portrayal of Gertrude. Olivier started by casting Eileen Herlie as Gertrude. Herlie was 13 years younger than Olivier; Crowl notes that her younger age helped create the moments between Herlie and Olivier that are full of a sexual tension not seen between any other characters in the film (148). The sexual tension is most apparent in the scene in Gertrude’s closet. Gertrude and Hamlet twice kiss passionately, and Gregory notes that the sexual overtones go even further, until “Hamlet nestles in his mother’s breasts and lays his head in her lap” (6). During this scene, when Hamlet says “Leave wringing of your hands” (3.4.35), he shoves Gertrude down upon the bed; it seems that only the appearance of the ghost stops the two from having sex. The scene also ends with a fade out on Gertrude still sprawled across the bed, leaving the scene with a lasting impression of the sexual tension between Hamlet & Gertrude.In Branagh’s Hamlet, Gertrude’s relationship with Hamlet is missing the oedipal overtones found in Olivier’s film; this portrayal emphasizes Gertrude as a mother, making her more accessible to the modern audience than Olivier’s...

Find Another Essay On Inaccessible Oedipus: Comparing Olivier's and Branagh's Women (an contrast between Gertrude and Ophelia in Lawrence Olivier's Hamlet and Kenneth Branagh's Hamlet)

Comparing Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein and Kenneth Branagh's Frankenstein

1201 words - 5 pages Comparing Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein and Kenneth Branagh's Frankenstein Most Americans have some idea of who Frankenstein is, as a result of the many Frankenstein movies. Contrary to popular belief Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein is a scientist, not a monster. The "monster" is not the inarticulate, rage-driven criminal depicted in the 1994 film version of the novel. Shelley’s original Frankenstein was misrepresented by this Kenneth branagh

Hamlet - Comparing the Dissimilar Characters of Gertrude and Ophelia

2009 words - 8 pages .html.   Lehmann, Courtney and Lisa S. Starks. "Making Mother Matter: Repression, Revision, and the Stakes of 'Reading Psychoanalysis Into' Kenneth Branagh's Hamlet." Early Modern Literary Studies 6.1 (May, 2000): 2.1-24 <URL:>.   O’Donnell, Jessie F. “Ophelia.” The American Shakespeare Magazine, 3 (March 1897), 70-76. Rpt. in Women Reading Shakespeare 1660-1900. Ed. Ann Thompson

Hamlet´s Treatment of Ophelia and Gertrude

2087 words - 8 pages . Gertrude is viewed as an incenstous person to Hamlet since he tells her God will judge her based upon her acts of incest and murder. Gertrude's involvement with the murder of King Hamlet has cost her the mother-son connection with Hamlet which leads to him having an unstable relationship with Gertrude. Hamlet discovers elements of false love in Ophelia as he relates her flaws with Gertrudes'. Ophelia is part of a plan to set up Hamlet which will

Essay Contrasing Gertrude and Ophelia of Shakespeare's Hamlet

1884 words - 8 pages Contrast of Gertrude and Ophelia in Hamlet         Queen Gertrude and Ophelia, the main female characters in Shakespeare’s dramatic tragedy Hamlet, have a variety of contrasting or dissimilar personal qualities and experiences. This essay, with the help of literary critics, will explore these differences.   John Dover Wilson in his book, What Happens in Hamlet, discusses what is perhaps the greatest dissimilarity between Ophelia

Custom Written Essays: Contrasting Gertrude and Ophelia of Shakespeare's Hamlet

2040 words - 8 pages Contrasting the Ladies in Hamlet         How can anyone view or read the Shakespearean tragedy of Hamlet without observing an obvious differentiation between the characters of the two female characters? And yet, not all critics agree on even the most salient features of this contrast.   Quite opposite the criminality of the king’s wife is the innocence of Ophelia – this view is generally expressed among Shakespearean critics

The Troubled Relationship Between Gertrude and Hamlet

1960 words - 8 pages The Troubled Relationship Between Gertrude and Hamlet In Shakespeare’s Hamlet, Claudius murders his brother, the King of Denmark, and subsequently usurps the Danish throne. Shattering the purity of the royal family, he allures Queen Gertrude into an incestuous wedding so hastily that “The funeral baked meats / Did coldly furnish forth the marriage tables” (I.ii.180-1). Lost in this sullied household is Prince Hamlet, shrouded in the black of

Hamlet and Ophelia Comparison

672 words - 3 pages truly mad in public (even hismother believes it) that possibly he acts mad in private too.After Polonius tells Ophelia to repel Hamlet's letters, Hamlet entersOphelia's room and looks at her with such a piteous and saddenedface that even Ophelia begins to think there is something wrong withhim. Shortly after that Hamlet encounters Polonius in a corridor andharasses him and says crazy things. In an aside Polonius says, "Thoughthis be madness, yet

Hamlet and Ophelia

1254 words - 5 pages The relationship between Hamlet and Ophelia being as unclear as it is, there are two points where there is no doubt:1.Hamlet did at some time love Ophelia sincerely.2.When at her grave he cries:I loved Ophelia; forty thousand brothersCould not with all their quantity of love,Make up my sum,He must have spoken sincerely. Furthermore we may take for granted that he uses past tense because she is dead and not because he no longer loves her.This

The Oedipal Relationship between Hamlet and Gertrude

1160 words - 5 pages Throughout William Shakespeare's Hamlet, Shakespeare portrays Hamlet with the same types of behaviors and frustrations in humans that Sigmund Freud saw at a much later date. When the relationship between Hamlet and his mother is analyzed Freud's oedipal complex theory comes to mind. The oedipal complex is a theory created by Freud that states that "The child takes both of its parents, and more particularly one of them, as the object of its

Custom Shakespeare's Hamlet Essay: Hamlet and Gertrude

2010 words - 8 pages king?   I confess that Shakspere has left the character of the Queen in an unpleasant perplexity. Was she, or was she not, conscious of the fratricide? (364-365)   Remember that the ghost does tell Hamlet not to prosecute the queen, but only Claudius. So she would seem to be innocent of the murder.   Gertrude has a contrasting character in the person of Ophelia, who is the picture of purity and innocence. Ophelia obeys

Shakespeare's Hamlet and its Gertrude

1898 words - 8 pages Hamlet and its Gertrude         How queenly is the current queen in Shakespeare’s tragic drama Hamlet? Is she an unprincipled opportunist? A passion-dominated lover? A wife first and mother last? Let’s study her life in this play.   Courtney Lehmann and Lisa S. Starks in "Making Mother Matter: Repression, Revision, and the Stakes of 'Reading Psychoanalysis Into’ Kenneth Branagh's Hamlet," comment on the contamination of the queen

Similar Essays

Hamlet: Branagh's Ophelia And Showalter's Representing Ophelia

2060 words - 8 pages Hamlet: Branagh's Ophelia and Showalter's Representing Ophelia       Ophelia falls to the floor, her screams contrasting eerily with the song pieces she uses as her speech.  In an instant she is writhing and thrusting her pelvis in such a gross sexual manner that it becomes clear that, in his film interpretation of William Shakespeare's Hamlet, Kenneth Branagh wants to imply a strong relationship between female insanity and female

Comparison Of Ethan Hawke And Kenneth Branagh's Versions Of Hamlet

1057 words - 4 pages Comparison of Ethan Hawke and Kenneth Branagh's Versions of Hamlet Modern day directors use a variety of methods to hold ones interest. Ethan Hawke and Kenneth Branagh’s created versions of Hamlet that shared some similarities, but ultimately had many differences in respects to an audience’s appeal. An appealing movie is one that has an alluring ambiance and an intellectual stimulus. With these two movie versions, a setting and a mood forced

Comparing The Opening Sections Of Kenneth Branagh's And Franco Zeffirelli's Film Versions Of Hamlet

3846 words - 15 pages Comparing the Opening Sections of Kenneth Branagh's and Franco Zeffirelli's Film Versions of Hamlet So exactly why is it that Hamlet is still so popular with our modern day audiences when it was written for the naïve audiences of the 17th century? Personally I believe this is because Hamlet deals with many fresh issues including corruption, love and the supernatural, which still appeal to contemporary audiences. These

Tough Love In Mel Gibson's Hamlet And Branagh's Hamlet

781 words - 3 pages her father. This act seems to be directly aimed to the men hiding behind the door, not Ophelia.   From the beginning of "Mel Gibson's" Hamlet, the audience recognizes that the Prince is more subdued and introspective than in Branagh's version. Though this Hamlet is still angry with his mother, he seems more reluctant to express any disappointment in her direction. In the very first scene of the film, Gertrude asks Hamlet to stay in