Friday, May 15, 2009

Video Branagh: Blog 2

The three videos from Branagh’s Hamlet Act 2 Scene 2, helps the readers get a better interpretation of the scene. One video in particular, establishes Hamlet’s state of mind more well than the others. The video between where Polonius and Hamlet are having a conversation (Shakespeare 66-67) demonstrate different aspects of Hamlet’s personality; such as his incoherencies, his insulting sarcasm, and his serious and determined side.

Starting from the bottom up, the first video, I believe did not cover much of Hamlet’s personality. It instead focus more on the First Player’s acting than showing off Hamlet. In this video, the First Player is showing Hamlet his acting skills (Shakespeare 75-77) and spends most of the time reciting this long speech (with various images appearing as he speaks). Hamlet barely gets time in the video to speak and show the audience his "distinct" personality. Even though in this particular video Hamlet does not play the main role, the whole idea of creating a play and auditioning the players demonstrate a part of Hamlet’s personality; it shows that he takes time to analyze and choose correctly his moves in order to operate his revenge.

Following this video, the next one is between Hamlet and his two closest friends, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern. In this video, Hamlet appears more than in the last video. But it still does not gives the audience a well-understanding of Hamlet’s state of mind. Both Rosencrantz and Guildenstern came to visit Hamlet because of the Queen’s request. She believes that Hamlet is acting quite different and is afraid of what he might be able to do. Therefore, she decided to bring his two closest friends so they can get Hamlet to be back to his normal self. Hamlet spends most of the time in this part of the scene trying to get his friends to confess that they were both sent for; "what more dear a better proposer can charge you withal,/ be even and direct with me, whether you were sent for or/ no!"(Shakespeare 201-203). With the arrival of his two friends, Hamlet still manages to act in such a different manner that his friends noticed right from the beginning. Both Rosencrantz and Guildenstern tried to act as if they didn’t know that Hamlet was talking about and kept repeating "To visit you, my lord, no other occasion" (Shakespeare 266), "What should we say, my lord" (Shakespeare 272), and "To what end, my lord" (Shakespeare 277). They are trying to hide the fact that they know there is something wrong with Hamlet, but their attempt failed. This video is a proof to what Shakespeare’s play indicates about Hamlet’s personality; he is "crazy in craft". Even when his two friends came to help, Hamlet maintain a delusional status and did not even tried to hide the personality he has been showing to the rest of Denmark’s inhabitants.

The last two videos explained above, only indicate one thing about Hamlet’s personality: his will for revenge. No other aspect of his personality is being shown in the past videos. I believe the last (or first) video show Hamlet’s real state of mind. In this next video, Polonius runs up the stairs in search of Hamlet. A strange and mysterious skeleton mask appears right in front of Polonius’ face, this be Hamlet being the "mysterious" man he has been after he met his dead father’s ghost. In the first 10 seconds of the video, the audience gets to see a different part of Hamlet. Besides being the mysterious man the readers have imagine of, they now see this strange and unusual man. Following this, Polonius asks "Do you know me, my lord", "Excellent well, you are a fishmonger" Hamlet responds with a ease tone, somehow pretending to be polite. To prove it, the next lines carries an angry tone, as if Hamlet was getting annoyed by Polonius; "Then I would you were so honest a man" (Shakespeare 176). In the play by Shakespeare, the tone seems to be the same, an ease tone. But Branagh delivers the lines differently, making it easy for the audience to see the changes in Hamlet’s personality. To follow with his insulting sarcasm, besides pretending to be polite, Hamlet also uses the book he was reading before Polonius arrived to insult Polonius in an intellectual way. Hamlet starts off by saying that the book says "that old/ men have grey beards, that their faces are wrinkled, their/ eyes purging thick amber and plum-tree gum, and that they/ have a plentiful lack of wit" (Shakespeare 195-198). In the video, as he says these lines, Hamlet makes various silly faces, twisting his mouth, and using a sarcastic tone.

Another new aspect of Hamlet’s personality appears in this video, the incoherencies that comes out of his mouth most of the time. For example, when Hamlet randomly asks Polonius "-Have you a daughter" (Shakespeare 182) even after he knew and has met his daughter Ophelia. Then he follows "Let her not walk i’th’sun. Conception is a blessing," (Shakespeare 184) with a horrifying look and a frightening tone. The faces Hamlet makes, the way he delivers his lines, his high to low tones, make him look somehow fearful in the eyes of the audience. And his incoherencies contribute to his craziness in craft.

Hamlet also develops a serious and determined side. Towards the end of the video, Polonius states in a threaten tone "My lord, I will take my leave of you", provoking Hamlet to change from being this sarcastic man into a serious one. "You cannot take from me any thing…- except my life, except my life,/except my life" (Shakespeare 212-214). And then from serious to angry, "These tedious old fools!" (Shakespeare 216). Being able to watch Branagh’s version, the way Hamlet delivers these last lines, demonstrate his ability to change his personality depending on the situation.

The last (or first) video of Act 2 Scene 2, Branagh effectively captures Hamlet’s state of mind. I was able to distinct each of Hamlet’s aspects of his personality with no difficulty. The last video, even though it was a short conversation, it contained important information for the reader to understand the crazy in craft idea. Hamlet demonstrates to be in control of the situation by always showing others his confidence. He always manages to leave questions in other people’s head with his incoherencies and his sarcasm.

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