March 15th 2018
Heartbroken or Hateful Hamlet?
Hamlet is an iconic Shakespearean tragedy that has many themes and quotes that have been prominent in society. The play has been adapted to the big screen twice, both renditions varying in style and modernization. Many of Shakespeare’s plays have been transformed into a movie rendition, and Hamlet was even nominated for an Academy Award. The director of Hamlet (1996), Kenneth Branagh, who also starred as Prince Hamlet, is known for his creativity and impeccable screen work. Although he is a prestigious director and Hamlet did very well in the film industry, did it capture the true themes of Shakespeare’s Hamlet? The main character is always hard to accurately portray, and the film unfortunately missed the mark on Hamlet. Branagh changed Hamlet in many ways, mostly through the main character, Hamlet, by turning him into a crazed henchman for the ghost of his father. Most young people enjoy watching a movie over reading a book, but are they really getting the full experience, especially when the main character has been tampered with?
Hamlet in the play was portrayed as ‘emo’ and very suicidal. This proved that he was quite depressed and nothing seemed to help him ease the pain he was feeling. However, Branagh portrayed Hamlet as insane. It was clear that Hamlet was troubled, but the film showed Hamlet acting very crazy in many situations. Shakespeare allowed the readers to assume for themselves if they considered Hamlet to be crazy. The play dictated him as a weak, young boy, due to the loss of his father, and portrayed him to be searching for his own identity. However, the movie depicted him as arrogant, and that he knew what he wanted from the kingdom. The play never once said that Hamlet was dying to be king, nor was the fact that he wanted to kill Claudius made very clear to the readers. He was depressed, and the only thing on his mind was suicide. In the play, Claudius disregarded and degraded Hamlet by claiming his sadness was “unmanly grief” (Act 1, Scene 2, Page 4) and wanted Hamlet to stop grieving. The story of Hamlet is meant to be very harrowing and sad, due to the betrayal and death. Hamlet’s Uncle killed his brother, Hamlet’s father, and then re-married Hamlet’s mother. It is very easy to feel sympathy for Hamlet, as his life turned upside down because of his corrupt family. The movie did not allow for such sympathy. The director turned Hamlet into an action film full of drama. Thus, dissolving most of the character’s true emotions.
It was very clear in the play that Hamlet was an unhappy child, yet the movie showed him as cocky and outspoken. In particular, he was very rough with his girlfriend, Ophelia, during their breakup. Shakespeare noted that he was more sad than angry, but the movie showcased an angry version of the breakup. Hamlet in the play never voiced any distaste for Ophelia, let alone manhandle her. Branagh...