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Consider Kenneth Branagh’s Screen Version Of “Hamlet”. How Successful Is His Presentation Of Act Five Scene One? Consider The Scene In Detail, In Order To Show Your Understanding Of The Original Text.

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Introduction

Christopher Tattersall 10E2 RAC 6 / Shakespeare's "Hamlet" T.A.F.W - 3 DP and 1HWK 02 May 2007 Consider Kenneth Branagh's Screen Version Of "Hamlet". How Successful Is His Presentation Of Act Five Scene One? Consider The Scene In Detail, In Order To Show Your Understanding Of The Original Text. The play, "Hamlet", was written over four hundred years ago, by the famous play write William Shakespeare. For that reason, the language and jokes in the play are difficult to understand for the people of the twenty first century. Shakespeare writes in poetry and blank verse for the more elevated characters in the play, also using rhyming couplets to end scenes. However, prose is the style for the lower class of his characters. Many screen versions have been made of this play, but Branagh's adaptation is one of the only versions that keep the original dialogue from this Shakespeare classic. This play tends to be very popular with the people of modern society, whether as a film version or a theatre production. The reason it's so popular is because it deals with the issues that most of us have to face in modern day life, for example, it contains a breakdown of trust and friendship, and it faces such issues as morality and mortality. "Hamlet" has been given a 'revenge tragedy' plot by Shakespeare. When we say 'tragedy', as in the modern usage, we don't just mean a sad event, it is a particularly literary genre. 'Tragedy' has a number of characteristics, taken originally form Greek drama, and developed by later dramatists in Europe and Britain. There is a predominant flowering of 'tragedy' in Elizabethan and Jacobean periods. In a 'tragedy', the protagonist is usually someone of high position and he or she is the central character. Also, the protagonist falls from their high position, generally to their death. In this fall other people are brought down in a fatal flaw, this flaw causes a reverse in fortune. ...read more.

Middle

Kenneth Branagh has decided to make a change here because in a theatre the audience is sat away from the stage, therefore, they would not see something small, like a trowel. Whilst in a film you can use such techniques as zoom, consequently you wouldn't need something as big as a spade to be seen by the viewers. The jokes between the two gravediggers are preparing us for a more serious subject. 'What is he that builds stronger than either the mason, the shipwright, or the carpenter...'A gravemaker'. The houses he makes last till doomsday.' This joke between the pair reminds us of the finality of death and gets the audience thinking. As Hamlet is thinking about the gravediggers he mentions Cain. Cain was the first murderer in the Bible, this is ironic because Cain killed his brother, Abel, and the "Hamlet" is about a brother killing a brother. The reasons for killing Hamlet though are different for the reasons of killing Abel, Claudius killed Hamlet because he wanted his wife and the throne, whereas, Cain killed Abel because he was jealous that God accepted Abel's sacrifice but not Cain's, so one was greed and the other jealousy. In Act Three Scene Three, Claudius tries to repent his sins, but he wants to keep what he has stolen. As one of the gravediggers depart, the remaining individual starts to sing. His song begins with a verse about when you are young and in love, and the second verse is a lot more serious, talking about aging, and that once you are older it's as if you were never young. The structure of this song is rather like that of the scene. Starting off light heartedly then finishing off on a more serious note, in the scenes case with death and burial. So, once Hamlet and Horatio approach the gravedigger in the film the dialogue is matched by cinematography, sometimes using reaction shots, showing the listeners face. ...read more.

Conclusion

In this fight between the two, Shakespeare makes Laertes the aggressor, in order to keep sympathy for Hamlet. The Queen puts this sudden burst down to Hamlet's manic depression and tells the party that he will be calm in a while. Hamlet agrees to have a dual with Laertes; oblivious of the fact that Laertes' sword would be poisoned. Hamlet talks to Horatio just before he goes to the duel, in which he faces his death. Horatio says he's lost this bet because Laertes is a class swordsman. But Hamlet says that he is favourite because he has been in practice whilst Laertes has been in France. But then he says something in contrast of his confidence, 'Thou wouldst not think how ill all's here about my heart; but it is no matter.' Saying this phrase as if someone had just walked over his grave, again coming to terms with his own mortality. The duel is immediately arranged, and we see the King arranging the chalices. Hamlet and Laertes then fight. There is some confusion, and the swords are exchanged; the poisoned sword wounds Hamlet, and the Queen drinks from the poisoned chalice, prepared for her son. The truth is then revealed about Laertes and Claudius' plan. Hamlet strikes Laertes with the poisoned sword, but not before he begs forgiveness from Hamlet, and forgives him for killing him and his father. Hamlet then turns to Claudius and forces him drink from the poisoned chalice. So now dead are Laertes, the Queen, and Claudius. Whilst Hamlet is dying, Horatio offers to end his own life, but Hamlet stops him so that there is someone to tell his story. On stage the play ends with Young Fortinbras entering on a diplomatic visit. Whereas, in the film, Fortinbras and his army raid the castle, and Fortinbras takes the throne, it is unknown why Branagh chose to have this ending, he probably thought that it would be more spectacular than just carrying off the bodies, like on stage. ...read more.

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