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In this essay I will be examining Act 1 Scenes 4 and 5 of the play 'Hamlet'

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Introduction

Nathan Beck Hamlet In this essay I will be examining Act 1 Scenes 4 and 5 of the play 'Hamlet', imagining I am the director of the play. Hamlet was written by William Shakespeare between 1600 and 1605. The purpose of me doing this is to try and understand the dramatic effect of the scenen and in doing this, explaining how I would portray this to the audience. I will explain what dramatic effects I will use including how I will have the characters speak and move, the stage design, sound and lighting, effects and costume among other things. To help me do this I need to understand the importance of the scene and in order to do this, it is essential to establish it's context within the play. In the play, Hamlet's father recently passed away and his father's brother Claudius has become the new king of Denmark, marrying Hamlet's mother in the process. In Act 1 Scenes 4 and 5 the ghost of Hamlet's father appears to him on the battlements of the castle and takes him away to inform him that it was Claudius who murdered him to take the throne and that it was Hamlets position to even the odds. Then follows the rest of the play in which Hamlet fakes insanity to kill Claudus and get away with it but unfortunately causes the death of many others he didn't wish to die. ...read more.

Middle

Say what is this? Wherefore? What should we do?' are short, direct questions. These should be delivered without taking breath - not waiting for an answer, this should show the audience how bewildered and panicked he is. I would have Hamlet follow offstage after the ghost to get ready to be on the lower part of the stage for the next scene. I would have Horatio and Marcellus try to follow after him but stop before the edge of the curtain for a few seconds to discuss whether to follow Hamlet before leaving the stage after Hamlet. This part of the stage will then fade into black as a soft earie light appears on the lower, wooded part of the stage with more dry ice to create an earie scene, then Hamlet and the ghost appear onstage. I would have the ghost speak at a moderate speed so as not to bore the audience but to maintain the effect of the ghost. I would have him speak quite low but not too cliche of ghosts. I would have him speak quite monotone and with laboured breath - as if he is weak and tired, with many large intakes of breath. I would have him wearing robes fit for a king - but no crown to signify his loss of leadership. His clothes will be grey and covered in dust or some grey flour which should give off small clouds of dust when he moves. ...read more.

Conclusion

As the ghost talks about his brother I may have a low chord progression played on an instrument such as the violin to give a eerie, minor sound to increase the power of the scene. But the overall effect I wish to achieve through all this - the costume, lighting, scenery and props, sounds, music and how the characters generally act is for the scene to seem as dramatic and powerful as possible. The supernatural plays a key element in Hamlet, therefore it is important to understand how it was relevant to the time Shakespeare was writing. Firstly - at this time there was still a great belief in the supernatural. Witchcraft was punishable by death and in general people were intruiged by it. Therefore it made itmore appealing and popular to audiences. Secondly, James I was very interested in whichcraft and the supernatural. The king was also Shakespeares patron. Therefore it was in Shakespeares interest to include elements that James liked, to ensure that his patronage continued. The third reason relates to the death of his son - Hamnet. He died in 1596 and Hamlet was written between 1600 and 1605. After his son's death, Shakespeare became slightly obsessed with life and death. It was at this time that the darker tradgedies were written. Shakespeare used the ghosts to express his opinion that communication could take place between the living and the dead. It is no coincidence that Hamnet is so similar to Hamlet. ...read more.

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