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Interpretation Of Conflict Within Hamlet Essay

1941 words - 8 pages

Throughout a variety of movie interpretations of a given film, one version proves to be the most effective for distinct reasons. Within Act 3, Scene 4 of Hamlet, Shakespeare provides little direction by which the scene should be interpreted, but the play, taken in its entirety, proposes a certain way in which Hamlet and Gertrude express their emotions. This has led to distinctive cinematic interpretations of this scene, all in which portray the storyline in a unique way. Kenneth Branagh’s version of the closet scene provides a more realistic portrayal of the conflict between Hamlet and Gertrude than the Gregory Dovan and Campbell Scott versions; Branagh’s view on the mother-son relationship, Hamlet’s reaction to the ghost and Gertrude’s guilt is closer to the original text in which Shakespeare leaves room for audience interpretation.

Branagh’s view on the mother-son relationship in the closet scene is a more practical portrayal in comparison to Gregory Dovan and Campbell Scott’s versions. Firstly, in the film directed by Kenneth Branagh, the relationship between Hamlet and Gertrude is portrayed with emotional intensity, as they both struggle to come to terms with reality. When Hamlet says “I must be cruel only to be kind” (Ham. III.iv.180), he and Gertrude place their foreheads together, as they both repent on the conflict apparent within their relationship. At this point in their conversation, Hamlet has lowered his vocal tone, speaking to Gertrude in a calm manner (Branagh 1996). This action proves that Branagh believes Hamlet and Gertrude have a close connection as mother and son. Although Branagh allows for Hamlet’s emotions to get the better of him earlier in this scene, Hamlet’s true anxiety is portrayed as a result of his concern for the vulnerability of his mother. This scene in Branagh’s film reflects the true feelings of these two individuals, as Hamlet releases his anger at his mother’s betrayal, while Gertrude reveals her true inner struggle as she does not understand the intent of her son. By showing Hamlet’s realization of his mother’s innocence, Branagh allows for Hamlet and Gertrude to connect on an emotional level which holds true to the original delineation of their relationship. Secondly, the violence displayed within the Gregory Dovan version of the Hamlet and Gertrude relationship lacks sensibility, proving Hamlet is actually insane. When Hamlet says “eyes without feeling, feeling without sight,/ Ears without hands or eyes” (III.iv.78-79), he is grabbing and shaking Gertrude by her hair, viciously damaging her both physically and emotionally (Dovan 2010). At this point in the scene, Dovan portrays Hamlet having physical dominance over his mother; the act of violence reflecting his belief and anger of her involvement in regicide. By using violence in association with this quote, the audience is led to believe Hamlet is insulted by Gertrude assuming his naivety of the murder. This interpretation portrays both Hamlet and...

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