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Consider the three treatments of the Ghost Scene in Hamlet that you viewed. Which do you prefer and why? How would you produce the ghost scene?

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Introduction

Consider the three treatments of the Ghost Scene in Hamlet that you viewed. Which do you prefer and why? How would you produce the ghost scene? I have viewed three different versions of the play Hamlet, written by William Shakespeare. The first film I watched was directed by Franco Zefferelli, and starred Mel Gibson as Hamlet. The next film I saw was directed by, and also starred Kenneth Branagh. The final film I viewed was directed by Michael Almereyda, and starred Ethan Hawke as Hamlet. Firstly, I am going to focus on how the ghost scene of the Gibson version was produced. This scene is set around the same time the play was written. It takes place on the roof of the castle, and it fits in well with the language. Hamlet is wearing a black cloak, which shows that he is in mourning over his father's death. He is also wearing a sword. He is running up steps, following the ghost of his father. The sound is emphasised on footsteps and breathing, which creates a feeling of tension. There is eerie, high-pitched music that can be heard throughout the scene. This music almost seems like the wind. The lighting is very subtle, like the moonlight shining on the ramparts of the castle. ...read more.

Middle

We also see some flashbacks of when the king was alive. He lived in a very expensive, rich-looking palace. He and his wife are both wearing bright red outfits. This could connotates the passion between Hamlet's father and his "most seeming virtuous queen." Another flashback shows Gertrude and Claudius playing a game in the palace. It is in slow motion, which emphasises the passion between them. Whilst we see these flashbacks, creepy eerie music is playing. The ghost says, "Let not the royal bed of Denmark be a couch for luxury and damned incest." When he hears the word "incest," a close up of Hamlet shows him disgusted at the thought. The ghost reaches for his son's hand, and then disappears, leaving Hamlet on his knees in sadness. Hamlet says, "O all you host of Heaven! O earth! What else?" It sounds like his is about to cry. He remains quite calm, although we can tell he is very upset. The scene ends with Hamlet swearing to get revenge, holding his sword like a crucifix. This is a very similar ending to the Gibson version, only much calmer, and with less anger. I am now going to look at the treatment of the ghost scene in the Hawke version of the play. This film is set in present day, meaning that the language is very peculiar for the era. ...read more.

Conclusion

Hamlet's uncle would be seen pouring a liquid into his brother's ear. Then we would see the king wake and fall to the ground. He will look as if he is in pain, holding his ear, and looking terrified and anguished, knowing that his brother has killed him. The ghost will finish his speech and walk off, slowly fading away. He will leave his son in tears. Hamlet will look shocked for a minute, then come to his senses, and get angry. He will shout out in rage, "O most pernicious woman! O villain, villain, smiling damned villain!" At the end he will say, "So uncle, there you are." in a tempting way, as to show that he will get vengeance. The ghost scene in the Gibson film is set in medieval times, and fits in well with the language and costumes. The Branagh film is set in more modern times, around the eighteenth century. The costumes are unrealistic, and the scene is very supernatural and paranormal. The Hawke version of the ghost scene is set in present day and is the most realistic scene I have viewed. I would have my production set in the same era as the Gibson version, and I would use flashbacks, like in the Branagh version. Some of the shots and lighting effects I would use would be totally original, and not taken from any of the accounts I have watched, for example the blue lighting effect. ...read more.

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