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You will analyse three different productions of 'hamlet' you have seen, Considering the dramatic effectiveness of hamlet's "to be or not to be" Soliloquy and the "Nunnery" scene.

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Introduction

ENGLISH: GCSE HAMLET COURSEWORK: TASK: YOU WILL ANALYSE THREE DIFFERENT PRODUCTIONS OF 'HAMLET' YOU HAVE SEEN, CONSIDERING THE DRAMATIC EFFECTIVENESS OF HAMLET'S "TO BE OR NOT TO BE" SOLILOQUY AND THE "NUNNERY" SCENE. THROUGH ANSWERING THE FOLLOWING QUESTIONS, DECIDE WHICH PRODUCTION YOU CONSIDER TO BE THE MOST EFFECTIVE. > What setting does each director choose and how does this contribute to the overall effect? > What does the soliloquy show the audience about Hamlet's state of mind and motivations and how is this conveyed to the audience in each production? > What impression is given in each production of the relationship between Hamlet and Ophelia and their motivations for behaving the way they do? > Which Production do you think makes the nunnery scene and the soliloquy most moving for a modern audience? Our three productions of William Shakespeare's 'Hamlet' were Michael Almereyda's 2000 production staring Ethan Hawke and Julia Styles, Franco Zefferelli's 1990 film with Mel Gibson and Helena Bonham Carter, and Kenneth Brannagh's 1998 production where he himself played Hamlet and Kate Winslet played Ophelia. In Zefferelli's production Mel Gibson plays Hamlet in a medieval Danish castle. This gives a certain feeling of tradition and heritage throughout, and seems to emphasise the stature of a royal family. ...read more.

Middle

The Hawke version of the soliloquy at first takes place in a video rental shop, and is a voiceover of his thoughts in his head. As he thinks of what his situation is, and of what he needs to do, he looks toward the 'Action' section, which implies he needs to take action on his father's murder and to seek revenge through the death of Claudius. He shows that Hamlet is very enraged inside, though it does not show so much on the outside, as his facial expressions are unchanging, he seems as if he is in deep thought, contemplating his life. The settings for the soliloquy in this production are very good at getting a simple message across, and show that Hamlet is thinking about taking action. It is a more simplistic setting, not as deep as the traditional productions, but is better for a more modern audience, as it is more to the point. Personally, I find it a little weak, with images of death and violence on the T.V screens in the shop, and a more simple view of the soliloquy, but it suits a modern audience well. The Nunnery scene in the Gibson version occurs in a large open hallway or court, Claudius and Polonius observe from a balcony above, giving a ...read more.

Conclusion

The decision to play out this scene in a modern apartment is an innovative idea, and will appeal to a modern audience, but like the other scene it lacks the atmosphere, it leaves out a lot of the raw, heartfelt emotions which are conveyed much better by traditional settings and acting. Also, this version seems to focus on Hamlets depression, rather than on his humanity and contemplative states of mind, which again will relate to a modern audience more, but lacks a lot of his true character. Overall I think the three approaches were very well thought out and planned, and the use of language, settings and re-arranging the scenes worked well in all three versions, but overall I am more of a fan of the Zefferelli version, perhaps due to Gibson's excellent portrayal of Hamlet as an unstable man with too much to deal with, but I felt he could get the emotional value the audience needs to really feel Hamlets character. Brannagh's version also was very successful at conveying the emotional state of hamlet, but somewhat lacked the antic disposition part, which helps make Hamlet. The Hawke version was also very successful, but I feel it was trying to please the modern day audience rather than produce a really good Hamlet play, focusing on a depressing point, lacking the insane, raw emotional value the other versions succeeded in conveying. ...read more.

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