Tough Love in Mel Gibson's Hamlet and Branagh's Hamlet
One of the most emotional and moving scenes in William Shakespeare's tragedy Hamlet is in Act III, Scene I lines 90-155 in which the title character becomes somewhat abusive toward his once loved girlfriend Ophelia. It is interesting to examine the possible motives behind Hamlet's blatant harshness in this "Get the to a nunnery" scene toward the easily manipulated and mild mannered girl. While watching Kenneth Branagh and Mel Gibson's film adaptations of the play, the audience may recognize two possibilities of the many that may exist which may explain the Prince's contemptible behavior; Kenneth Branaugh seems to suggest that this display of animosity will help the troubled man convince his enemies that he is in fact demented, whereas the Mel Gibson work may infer that Hamlet's repressed anger toward his mother causes him to "vent" his frustrations upon Ophelia, the other female of importance in his life.
Though the reader realizes Hamlet's extreme anger and brooding throughout the entire play, he has no actual confrontation with another character until the aforementioned lines in Act III Scene I. One may notice the Prince's biting tone aimed at Claudius, Polonius or even Gertrude, but until his "Get the to a nunnery!" speech, no outbursts of pure rage in the presence of others can be found. This harshness in relation to Ophelia may be one of Hamlet's first moments of "action." The Prince seems reluctant to act upon any of his emotions toward anyone, though he often does give off an aura of discontentment and sorrow over his father's death. However, in these specific lines the audience sees Hamlet take an active stance in purging this young lady's once precious role from his life.
Kenneth Branagh places emphasis on the fact that Hamlet may be trying to convince his "enemies" that he is certainly mad. Other than the amusing "fishmonger" and "words, words, words" scene, a more serious approach to conveying this insanity could be taken; Hamlet's scurrilous behavior toward the fair Ophelia could be taken as a sure sign of craziness, for Polonius is quite positive that Hamlet is deeply in love with his daughter. By mistreating Ophelia, perchance Hamlet can trick Polonius into believing that he has gone mad; Hamlet's display...