Hamlet History

Hamlet is one of the William Shakespear stories  based on a real events This is a revenge story (Shakespeare, 2011). The major interest in this work is to evaluate whether Hamlet was insane or not for having executed the vengeful act. This case is subjected to discussion based on the scenario at that particular time.

Proving whether Hamlet was insane can be very complicated but based on the events, the act of revenge is a serious act. In my own view, Hamlet was not insane. This was just an act of revenging his uncle for the mother’s murder. Hamlet is depicted as a philosophically minded person who just delayed in taking action but later fulfilled the intended plan (Spark Notes Editors, 2007). This was exactly due to uncertainty of the murder. In this aspect, Hamlet was just under pretence to confuse the audience. Even though the whole revenge process brings confusion to the whole kingdom, justice was exactly in the air and that what Hamlet was after.

Hamlet’s ability to do investigations on the murder of the mother proved that he was not insane. The evidence that his uncle had murdered his father was however believable even to the audience and this act was just out of anger (Branagh, 1996). He was able to realize that uncle was afraid to watch the murder scene and resorted to praying at a separate point (Spark Notes Editors, 2007). There was actually some proofs in this because the uncle was probably confessed in his sins. This showed that his interpretation of the whole process was synonymous with the view of the crowd and an insane person could have not analyzed the action. In addition, he became obsessed with proving the guilt of his uncle. This made him even to behave impulsively and rashly in demanding for the justice.  He is not very convinced with the state of affairs in family and in Denmark as a whole. This could cause his act of revenge. It is not probably being mad that can results into such action but due to the parental love, he had to seek for fairness. The approach was not justified because no one had been entitled to kill.

Hamlet was very disappointed with his mother marrying the uncle so soon (Spark Notes Editors, 2007).  The quick marriage annoyed Hamlet and this facilitated the anger in him which then reflected in his crime. The uncle’s bold move to reject Ophelia, a woman who he claimed to love further infuriated Hamlet. These are the sources of his action in totality. He thought that it was wise to prevent it through his actions. He could never wait for more humiliations to occur and also he was even more disgusted with women generally.

The story has reflected how anger can be very disastrous in the sense of committing very bad acts. Hamlet did the killings and this had created impact in the entire palace. Many deaths occurred including Rosencrantz and Guildenstern who had died. This is a big misfortune for the entire family.


Hamlet Play

William Shakespeare’s paperback of Hamlet was written between 1599 and 1601. The play sets in DenmarkKingdom. It narrates a story of how Prince Hamlet carries out revenge on his uncle Claudius for taking away the heart of the old king, who is Prince Hamlet's father and Claudius's brother, and then succeeding to the throne and marrying Gertrude. The play version of “Hamlet” and his testimony in the film starring Gibson Mel differ at some pointss. Some things are missing while others are added.

The dialog seems to be devilishly difficult to understand or have too many words removed from the scenes. Some changes can also be seen in other scenes. Franco Zeffirelli directs the film and  Mel Gibson, Alan Bates, Glenn Close, Paul Scoffed and Mel Gibson star in it. There is the use of the original old English in this production of “Hamlet”. In Act 2, Scene 1, Polonius spies on Ophelia and Hamlet understanding Hamlet’s surprising conversation with his daughter and Hamlet’s madness, while Ophelia in the original text of Act 2, Scene 1 tells Polonius of Hamlet’s visit and his unembellished madness.

In the play, in turn 3, Scene 1, Hamlet's famous soliloquy shows his skills in analysis and brings out Shakespeare's ability to control the language used. All along, in the play, Hamlet takes stops so that he can think before he acts. His views do make him not to follow. In both the play and the film, Scene 2 of act 3, he is portrayed as courageous, for the first time, Hamlet has the believe that he can act but he moves to correct and confront Gertrude. Both in the play and the film version, Hamlet is not sure whether he is a student or the prince of the title. This is evident not only in the act 3 scene, but also throughout the play Hamlet faces many choices regarding belief, love, action, conscience and justice. Two sides to him are clearly bringing themselves out. His insane behavior towards his family is on the one side. His will and his thoughts whether to do right or wrong judging on what he has seen portray his other side. We see him as a mirror of the audience in both the play and the film. He reflects all the interpretations by the people in the audience that are watching him and other characters. Polonius as a habit misunderstands his own expectations of Hamlet’s actions. Ophelia describes Polonius in Act III, Scene 1, lines 148-9.

The lines 207-213 in Act 2, scene2, where there is Polonius’s lengthy monologue are missed in the script. The lines where Guildenstern and Rosencrantz get to the scene, are moved to Act 3, Scene 1. A scene directly after Hamlet’s “Mousetrap” play was originally in Act 2. The play has other modifications in this Act which include the famous speech “To be or not to be […],” which moves to Act 1, scene 2. Fortinbras character is not there.

Also in Act 3, scene 1, Gibson’s version of Hamlet’s monolog “To be or not to be” was paced quickly almost like a ranting a bit different from what is in the play. He walks in hellish stumble way. There is difference between Gibson’s performance of the tragedy and the play. One can observe Gibson’s slight attempts to modernize the language used by bringing in his own personal flair to the role that he plays. The way he recites his lines is not so effective, and it brings some freshness in drama that dialogue needs. 

In Act 3, Scene 2, lines 263-373, his talk is a brand of ironical humour. He denigrates himself by saying, “I could blame me of such things that it was more my mother had not borne me”. Then after Ophelia falsely declares that her father is at home, he falls to railing on women and control and says to her,” I heard of your painting. God gives one a look, and they create the other”. Also, in Act 3, Scene1, lines 142-9 he indulges in much humour and banters.

He delights in plaguing conventional Polonius by using his nonsense and tricks. When Polonius asks him whether he knows him, Hamlet replies that he is the fishmonger. Sense of humour is also apparent in movie section 3 during the infamous closing scene. Another crucial difference is that Zeffirelli takes a bit of Oedipus’ complexity. Some text in the play implies these feelings but the bedroom incident took it too far. When the movie commences, we see Gertrude crying over older Hamlet's case, after removing one of her hairpins from her hair, she places it inside the the casket. The character of Gertrude does not seem to be weak as Zeffirelli makes her to be. She moves up and down the set like one who is sixteen years old. Gertrude's lines in Shakespeare's edition are far too complex to rationalize her acting.

There is also no reason to suggest Hamlet has Oedipus’ feelings. Gibson's Hamlet was also more effective and 'crazier' than we see him, there is nothing in the argument that precludes such an interpretation. When writing “Hamlet”, Shakespeare did not write the funeral scene of King. This part is present in the movie. This replaced the original opening of the play. In the play, we see the ghost of the King going to the guards that were on .

This scene does not appear even once in the movie. The scene where Horatio tells Hamlet about the ghost is the first introduction of ghost to the movie. The play shows Fortinbras taking a vote from Hamlet who is dying to become the new king of Elsinore. After a short time, Fortinbras gives a speech naming himself the new king and accepting the honour. The film does not show to the end as Fortinbras is delivering his speech.  Another part of the play that the film leaves out is the scene when Polonius asks Reynaldo to go to France and inquire secretly for his son Laertes. However, the movie does not air this scene. Reynaldo is missing in the movie.

The play and the film bring out the cowardice in Hamlet. We see that he does not shows his personality when he has the opportunity. During the prayer, he sees the king... He acquires a golden opportunity to avenge for his father’s death. He thinks that if he takes the king’s life away with his prayer, his soul would gain happiness and become restrained from working. He misses a crucial chance for his lack of desire, for an evil soul enjoying the pleasure of heaven longing for other occasion when the king is indulged is some evil deed.

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Experience Reading and Watching Hamlet

Reading and watching Hamlet, a play by Shakespeare is a rich but a challenging experience. This is because the play covers a wide range of themes that include ambition, guilt, revenge, and lust, fear of death, craziness and nature of power versus authority among others. All these themes are expressed with plot twists and dramatic irony evident throughout the chess game played by Hamlet himself and Claudius. Therefore, reading and watching becomes two different exercises in practice but similar in identification and in perception. The diversity in practice brings about the aspect of challenging experience, while identification and perception brings about the richness experience.

There are a number of things that are not noticed while watching the play performed. This does not mean that those things are not present in the performance but it takes place too quickly in less or two hours such that, those things go hardly noticed. Such things include grammatical, semantic, idea, and phonetic in the words. When reading the play, attention is paid to the action of the play’s words, which have grammatical, semantic, ideational, and phonetic interrelationship, most of which are unlikely to be detected while watching. Reading directly from the pages and listening to those words as spoken by actors creates different experiences. Reading holds back and interrupts the forward motion of the play but watching sweeps one along with the play, allowing one to reflect on details of the acted text at leisure. These two diverse experiences dazzles one with the play’s spell, thus making reading and watching a challenging experience. However, both exercises enable one to understand how words unfold continuously across a series of actions and extend the meaning of the elements in the play in all dimensions (Ratcliffe xiv). This creates perception and identification bringing richness experience.

What I Think of the Play

The play in itself is a rebirth and revenge tragedy that ends with eight violent deaths. It is evident that the play mostly deals with upper class. This comes out clearly when Ophelia is advised by her father and brothers to break up with Hamlet due to his social status and class. The act would appear more ironical if they both loved each other passionately. The play also employs a sense of humor in it, thus becoming humorous. This is evident in the serious fun seen when Hamlet conferences an itinerant group of players and solicits their unsuspecting aid in acting a scene to arouse conscience of Claudius despite the play being somehow public and done for Claudius and in his court. One of the actors weeps for a historical figure Hecuba that he even never knew and Hamlet is left wondering why the actor cannot weep for his father. At the same time, a commentary regarding nature and purpose of drama and acting is given.

It is also worthy noting that the play is fashionable to date. Although it takes account of duals and armies marching across kings and castles, it is to date read due to its universal teachings. Some of these universal teachings expressed include jealousy between brothers and step-brothers, corruption, devotion of children to their parents, ambition, deceit, love, suicide mentality, meddling families, death finality and assassination among others. In general, although the play begins as a retribution tragedy, it turns into an entertaining play set around a character who fakes to be mad in the middle of naïve characters (Lee 1).

Hamlet Himself

Hamlet can be seen as the supreme dramatic character (Mabillard 1). He is a character of radical inconsistencies. For instance, he appears reckless but cautious, courteous but uncivil, and tender but ferocious. This character meets the death of his father outrageously and with honest resentment but shows no regret for the deaths he caused like Polonius’. He is full of mistakes although he takes a tragic hero position. The first impression created by Hamlet as pale faced, brood eyed and with tousled hair sets the entire’s play tone. In addition, he displays all moods and forms of grief. For instance, when his mother notice mourning appearance in him, he indicates that obvious grief signs do not closely convey the extent of grief he feels.  It is also evident that Hamlet is a hesitant person. His hesitation is frequently contrasted with Fortinbras, who appears to be a man of heroic action. However, he can hardly put out of his mind his father despite all the rest resuming to their normal lives.

Despite the faults that surround him, his permanent introspection eventually assists him to overcome anxiety in him. In Act V when he resumes from exile, he presents a completely changed man. He is rational, less death fearful and calm after realizing that lives are controlled by destiny. He uses fate to show that he never killed Claudius, admitting that he does not fear anything of the world. Even after his death, his princely traits remain in ones mind as “the observed of all observers” (Shakespeare 156).

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