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How would you direct Act 3, Scene 4 of Shakespeare's Hamlet? Look closely at characterisation, plot, stagecraft, and themes. Explain all of your choices by making close reference to the text.

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Introduction

How would you direct Act 3, Scene 4 of Shakespeare's Hamlet? Look closely at characterisation, plot, stagecraft, and themes. Explain all of your choices by making close reference to the text. Hamlet is a play that has proved successful throughout the years. This type of play is known as a revenge tragedy, which was particularly popular in Shakespeare's time. It also appealed to all social classes, since there was murder as well as sexual innuendoes for the lower classes and reference to the Gods for the upper classes. A typical revenge tragedy contained five sections; exposition; anticipation; confrontation; delay; completion. There were also standard themes, which included: a melancholy and hesitating avenger; a villain who was to be killed by revenge; plotting; murders; madness; a ghost who calls for revenge; the death of the avenger. Hamlet, being a revenge tragedy, contains most of these points. Hamlet is a melancholic play about a son, Hamlet, avenging his father's unlawful murder, also named Hamlet, which was committed by his own brother, Claudius. Who then married Old Hamlet's wife, Gertrude, after a few weeks of his death. And as Hamlet says "You are the queen, your husband's brother's wife, and would it were not so, you are my mother". There are two quotes that sum up the play. "All is not well, I doubt some foul play"(Act 1 Scene2) ...read more.

Middle

However Branagh most probably did it this way to show the aggression building up in Hamlet and also reinforcing the idea that it could be the king. What shocks people the most is the fact that Hamlet did not even think about killing him, he just did it. This may be because he had just seen Claudius and still had the anger and hatred inside him and he did not really care who it was as long as he had killed someone. He could have thought it was Claudius as he says later "I took thee for thy better." Hamlet had the extra aggression building up as he felt that Gertrude must not trust him or otherwise why would she have Polonius spying on them. All through the scene Hamlet is very aggressive this can be shown in his facial expressions. In all three films Hamlet is portrayed as being very forceful to his mother and in Zeffirelli's film he is depicted as having sexual feelings towards his mother as he is shown thrusting on top of her. This is known as an Oedipus complex, where Hamlet unconsciously desires his mother in a sexual manner, and is extremely jealous of Claudius as not only did he inherit the crown but his mothers bed. This may also make him unable to commit in a loving relationship with Ophelia. Gertrude becomes shocked at what Hamlet has just done "Oh me, what hast thou done?" here she stands in shock. ...read more.

Conclusion

The lights dim all is quiet and all that is heard is the rain and the scene will end with a flash of lightning and a clap of thunder. This scene prepares us for what is to come as it gives us an insight into what Hamlet is capable of. Additionally this is the first time a murder has taken place besides King Hamlet's murder. This scene contains so many emotions that it is practically a play itself. I believe that the Branagh production worked the best as there was much more emphasis on the important parts of the scene although there was too much violence when killing Polonius. Also Gertrude does more to get away from Hamlet in this film than the others do as she turns away much more when he talks to her about Claudius and her failure to control her sexual feelings. His production also had more emotion to it and showed what was happening much more clearly. This play has proved so popular through the ages as it contains something for everyone, as it ranges from romance to murder. Furthermore everyone can relate to it as it has many components of real life situated within the play, this made it, and made it stay so popular. There is also much more room to interpret the script so every time you see Hamlet performed by a different company you can be assured that you will get a new play each time. Ava Alamdari 10NC/10YE1 1 ...read more.

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