Monday, November 4, 2013

Hamlet Act One

1. Due Thursday by class time. Read and take notes on characters, plot, and theme in the rest of act one. (For theme think about the questions: How do people respond to wrongdoing, corruption? How do people respond to traumatic loss and mortality? How do people respond to uncertainty, mystery, and doubt?) These notes will be extremely important as the play progresses.


You will need these notes to participate in class on Thursday.
 
2. Due Thursday by class time. Read and take notes on your conceptual or visual thread. Every time it appears--or you think maybe it appears--write down the act, scene, and line number. You'll need these notes as we proceed through the play.

You will need these notes to participate in class on Thursday.

3. Due Friday by class time. Re-read and answer analytical questions about the act one scene two (1.2) soliloquy that Hamlet gives after Claudius speech. (On page 28 and 30 of your book you'll find helpful notes on this soliloquy. I've put additional notes from About.com below, too. Remember that the notes are there to aid your analysis and should not replace your own critical reading, thinking, and writing.)

Share your responses with me in a Google Doc.


SOLILOQUY
O, that this too too solid flesh would melt (1.2.131-61).

O, that this too too solid flesh would melt
Thaw and resolve itself into a dew!
Or that the Everlasting had not fix'd
His canon 'gainst self-slaughter! O God! God!
How weary, stale, flat and unprofitable, (135)
Seem to me all the uses of this world!
Fie on't! ah fie! 'tis an unweeded garden,
That grows to seed; things rank and gross in nature
Possess it merely
. That it should come to this!
But two months dead: nay, not so much, not two: (140)
So excellent a king; that was, to this,
Hyperion to a satyr; so loving to my mother
That he might not beteem the winds of heaven
Visit her face too roughly. Heaven and earth!
Must I remember? why, she would hang on him, (145)
As if increase of appetite had grown
By what it fed on: and yet, within a month --
Let me not think on't -- Frailty, thy name is woman! --
A little month, or ere those shoes were old
With which she follow'd my poor father's body, (150)
Like Niobe, all tears: -- why she, even she --
O, God! a beast, that wants discourse of reason,
Would have mourn'd longer--married with my uncle,
My father's brother, but no more like my father
Than I to Hercules: within a month: (155)
Ere yet the salt of most unrighteous tears
Had left the flushing in her galled eyes,
She married. O, most wicked speed, to post
With such dexterity to incestuous sheets!
It is not nor it cannot come to good: (160)
But break, my heart; for I must hold my tongue.

NOTES
too too ] The duplication of "too" intensifies Hamlet's feelings of regret. Repetition of this kind was a popular literary device in the Renaissance.
solid ] Many scholars ask whether Shakespeare intended "solid" to be actually "sallied", a form of the word "sullied". The second quarto of Hamlet contains "sallied", but the First Folio prints it as "solid". Modern editors have been quite divided on the issue. Editors of The Arden Shakespeare have chosen to use "sullied", while editors of The New Cambridge Shakespeare have decided upon "solid". The reasoning for the use of "solid" is fairly evident, as it logically corresponds to "would melt" (131). However, there are good arguments to support the claim that Shakespeare did mean "sullied". With "sullied" we have the "suggestion of contamination" (Jenkins 437), which is apparent throughout the soliloquy. Some critics stress "sullied" as the "contrast to 'self-slaughter' the resolving of the baser element into the higher, whereby Hamlet might return from melancholy to normal health, or, if to become dew is to die, then from 'misery' to 'felicity'. But there is surely no thought here of being restored to health or happiness, only of being free of the 'flesh' whether through its own deliquescence or through suicide." (Jenkns 187).
canon ] divine law; the Church regards "suicide" or "self-slaughter" forbidden by the Sixth Commandment, "Thou shalt not kill".
flat ] Spiritless.
unweeded garden ] A well-tended garden was symbolic of harmony and normalcy.
in nature/Possess it merely ] Although Hamlet accepts weeds as a natural part of the garden (and more generally a natural part of life), he feels that the weeds have grown out of control and now possess nature entirely (merely = entirely).
Hyperion ] {hy-peer'-ee-uhn} One of the Titans and the father of Helios, the sun-god.
Satyr ] {say'-tur} A grotesque creature, half-man and half-goat, symbolic of sexual promiscuity. Hamlet's reference to his dead father as Hyperion and to his uncle Claudius as a satyr illustrates Hamlet's contempt for Claudius. His father is godlike while his uncle is bestial.
beteem ] Permit. In anguish, Hamlet remembers the way his father would treat Gertrude with such gentleness and care. His father would not permit the wind to "visit her face too roughly".
ere ] Before.
Niobe ] {ny'-oh-bee} Symbolic of a mother's grief. Niobe, Queen of Thebes, boasted that her fourteen children were more lovely than Diana and Apollo, the children of Latona (Leto). Because of her arrogance, Niobe's children were slain by Latona's children, and Zeus turned Niobe to stone - yet still her tears flowed from the rock.
a beast, that wants discourse of reason ] Hamlet believes that even a creature incapable of speech would have mourned longer than Gertrude mourned for Hamlet's father (here wants=lacks). "The faculty of reason was traditionally recognized as the crucial difference between man and the beasts. This lends further significance to the Hyperion-Satyr comparison above. It was through his reason that man could perceive the relation of cause and effect and thus connect past with future, whereas the beast, precisely because it lacks reason, must live largely in the present moment. Hence the axiom that its mourning would be brief." (Jenkins 438).
Hercules ] {hur'-kyoo-leez} A Greek hero renowned for his super-human tasks. Having a father so strong and noble intensifies Hamlet’s feelings of inadequacy.
unrighteous tears ] See commentary below.
flushing ] Flushing refers to the redness in Gertrude's eyes from crying. She did not wait until the redness disappeared from her eyes before she married Claudius.
galled eyes ] Irritated and inflamed eyes.
dexterity ] One could take "dexterity" in this context to mean either speed or nimbleness.
incestuous ] Even though Claudius and Gertrude are related only through marriage, the union between a woman and her husband's brother, even if the brother was deceased, was considered incest (see Leviticus 16:20), and was explicitly forbidden by the Catholic and Anglican religions.
But break, my heart ] Hamlet's heart is heavy because he must keep his anguish to himself. "The heart was thought to be kept in place by ligaments or tendons (the heart-strings) which might snap under the pressure of great emotion" (Edwards 91).

RESPONDING TO SHAKESPEARE’S/HAMLET’S RHETORIC
1.        Word choice in context. If you were hired as the editor of a new edition of Hamlet would you choose “solid” or “sullied”? Write a focused paragraph defending your answer.
2.        Analysis and Evaluation. Write a paragraph (or paragraphs) addressing the following questions. What is Hamlet’s attitude toward his own life? Why does he feel this way? How does the imagery in the soliloquy convey Hamlet’s attitude toward the world? Cite and explain textual evidence to support your answers. Also, given his circumstances is his attitude justified? Why or why not? If not what do you think his attitude should be? Dig below the surface. Have empathy. Put yourself in his shoes. Don’t just answer the questions address them in a cohesive paragraph (or paragraphs).
3.        Analysis and Evaluation. How does Hamlet feel about his mother? Why? In your paragraph, cite and explain at least two quotations from the speech to support your answer. Also, given what you know from the play is his attitude justified? Why or why not? If not what do you think his attitude should be? Dig below the surface. Have empathy. Put yourself in his shoes. Don’t just answer the questions address them in a cohesive paragraph (or paragraphs).
4.        Analysis and Evaluation. In a paragraph write about Hamlet’s attitudes towards his father and Claudius. In the paragraph you should explain the two contrasts Hamlet uses to show that his father (King Hamlet) is superior to King Claudius. (The notes will help you with these contrasts. Hint: Allusions help to reveal Hamlet’s attitude.) Also, given what you know from the play is his attitude justified? Why or why not? If not what do you think his attitude should be? Dig below the surface. Have empathy. Put yourself in his shoes. Don’t just answer the questions address them in a cohesive paragraph (or paragraphs).

4. Due Tuesday by class time. Go to the class of 2013's blog to watch five versions of this soliloquy. Then, write a response in which you rank the five performances from best to worst. To determine best and worst think not so much about whose voice you like or who is better looking. Think about which performances and which directorial choices best convey the richness and meaning of the language, which convey the dramatic situation.

To support your choices discuss specific acting and directing choices made in each scene. Students often make the mistake of not referring to specific details to support their opinions. Think about phrasing, facial expression, gestures, movements, staging, lighting, music, etc. Think about these choices in relation to specific phrases in the soliloquy. Try to convince me and try to convince your peers you're right.

Here is a resource to help you think about the soliloquy and possible ways of performing it.

Respond in the comment box below. Use your first name and last initial.

27 comments:

  1. The version with tennant was the best. His performance showed the greatest range of emotion. When he was incredulous and in despair you could clearly tell because he cried and was curled up on the floor, but as he becomes angry, he stands with purpose. The cold opulence of the surroundings, with it black stone also added to the despair of the performance. Second was Gibson, he had not enough facial expressions but it was clear when he was talking about God and when he was talking about the earth. His staring down at others made him seem like an outsider. In third place is Ethan Hawke’s performance. He only showed anger it seemed in his eyes during part of the soliloquy and I did not like the director’s choice to set hamlet in modern times, where the idea of royalty is very different. At the fourth slot is Olivier’s performance, which lacked a lot of emotion. It was also very confusing to see if the words were coming from his mouth or not. Finally, in the last spot is Branaugh’s version. He seemed to only be angry and came off as spoiled and more selfish, with a very haughty facial expression.

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  2. Spencer T.
    BRANAGH(2ND): very emotional, as it should be, this performance of the soliloquy really conveys a desparation and hopelessness that the soliloquy provides. Branagh emphasizes terms such as Rank and gross in nature” and then speaks some lines after that very softly, to convey n erratic and sorrowful mindset. However, some lines seem to have an inappropriate tone. Such as after the hyperion to satyr comparison when he gets teary-eyed and his voice breaks down into a sort of whimper.

    GIBSON(3RD): Besides the fact that it’s Mel Gibson and that’s hilarious, he performs the soliloquy very interestingly. He starts very somberly and quietly, building in intensity and passion as it goes, not really seeming depressed so much as angry, then back to slow and contemplative. it is also notable that he is actually looking at claudius and Gertrude while he speaks, better conveying what exactly he is talking about to the audience.

    HAWKE(5TH): Right away, his tone of voice seems very fast, almost too fast. he seems almost uncaring about his scenario, and not really ruminating on his situation as talking directly about it. However it is notable that Hawke conveys the comparisons such as Claudius to Hamlet as Prince hamlet to Hercules very clearly. That characterizes this whole version of the soliloquy, it is clearer, but seems like less of a character study and more of a retelling of plot.

    TENNANT(1ST): His delivery is very teary and distraught from the beginning, with the actor’s body language conveying a broken, clearly emotionally turmoil-ridden person. He plays it very sad and hyper-emotional, using the words as a way of truly revealing everything about the character, instead of seeming angry from the get-go, he transitions from broken and distressed when talking about his own state, then rage when talking about Claudius and Gertrude.

    OLIVER(4TH): Like the Hawke version, this one is thought and not directly spoken, and as such suffers from the same issue of being very quick and sort of vague. however, it also conveys the overall theme very well, even though the individual lines are sort of lost in a big block of pure meaning.

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  3. 1.Fourth clip: 1.2 soliloquy, directed by Gregory Doran, Hamlet played by David Tennant (2009) [soliloquy ends at 3:32]
    The actor starting the speech crouched down on the floor was an interesting decision, that worked in terms of showing anguish, but camera-wise it gave a really awkward angle for the audience. There was a lot of genuine emotion, and I think Hamlet facing the camera at one point during the speech was a good idea, for it created intimacy with him and the audience. However, at first I thought this decision was meant to have a comedic element to a serious speech, but towards the end I saw that it was meant to be serious.


    2.First clip: 1.2 soliloquy, directed by Kenneth Branagh, Hamlet played by Kenneth Branagh (1996)
    The walking made the speech come alive. The actor had a whirlwind of emotions that is evident in the soliloquy. The petals from the celebration falling from his shirt , juxtaposed with his emotions as he said: “O, that this too too solid flesh would melt, Thaw and resolve itself into a dew!”. When he brushed his hand through his hair in a dramatic fashion, I forgot that it was a serious speech and had to chuckle for a second. The fact that he started with hands on the two thrones, was symbolic, and an interesting choice for the director. However, sometimes when he changed his tone, it ruined the flow of the speech.

    3.Second clip: 1.2 soliloquy, directed by Franco Zeffirelli, Hamlet played by Mel Gibson (1990)
    I liked the realistic change of emotions the actor gave throughout the speech. The director was smart enough to have a light and dark element to the scene. The dark element was Hamlet sitting with not a lot of lighting around him reflecting his emotions. The light element was when Hamlet looks out of the window, and a couple (I’m assuming his mother, and uncle) has just married, and is running off for their honeymoon. The speech felt rushed at some points, and the actor should have had more pauses in this speech. Mel Gibson's facial expressions were a good mixture of anger and sorrow, with a hint of madness.
    .
    4.Third clip: 1.2 soliloquy, directed by Michael Almereyda, Hamlet played by Ethan Hawke (2000)
    The director’s decision to have the speech be the actor’s thoughts, made it a more intimate journey into Hamlet’s mind. His speech felt rushed, and was a little flat in terms of conveying the sadness, but was spot-on in showing anger. His facial expression was too flat, but that’s probably because he was staring at some footage. Having the author look at the footage while this speech was running, was a good idea in terms of showing his anguish, but it was the reason why his facial expressions fell flat.




    5.Fifth clip: 1.2 soliloquy, directed by Laurence Olivier, Hamlet played by Laurence Olivier (1948)
    It was an interesting decision to have sudden breaks from the actor’s thoughts, and then having the actor say the lines. It made Hamlet seem a little crazy, which in this case works for the speech. The tone of the speech was too flat, and didn’t have the rollercoaster of emotions evident in the way the soliloquy was written.

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  4. Meagan H.
    The best delivery of this soliloquy was done by Tennant by far. I think this is because of how quick and effective he was with his emotions. Unlike the others, he really expressed his sadness and grief about his environment in the beginning, when he was contemplating suicide and the rush of emotions around that decision, he was kneeling down on the ground. When he broke through and looked right at the camera I think that was a good directional decision, because it was like the character was talking to you directly, telling you what he felt. This makes more sense because he could just say all of this in his head, but he wants someone to hear his pain. He also transitioned his emotions well, not weeping then all of a sudden angry, it was longer than the other versions because of this, but also better bringing you through the journey of his emotions.
    I would rate the Olivier version second due mostly because of the directional style. This one was a little different from the other versions because he broke out between thinking the soliloquy and saying it aloud. He said "within a month" out loud to express his disgust for the hasty marriage. He had both anger and sadness throughout his tone, and because it was his thought process, I saw it as much more real. You were welcomed into what he was thinking, and the parts that he spoke aloud were emphasized so you knew what he was most upset about.
    The third best soliloquy would be the Hawke version. This is because of what was going on during the time the actor was speaking. He was reviewing old footage of his father, and that really helped to capture how Hamlet felt about his father, with the words "Hyperion to a satyr" really sticking out to explain the relationship he felt from his father to his uncle. This version also helped to discover the way he felt about his mother more than any of the other versions, because you could tell how disgusted he was with how she disgraced the family and got married so quickly. The way he was a little more bland in his words during the beginning I think was a creative decision on the part of the director. Originally, the soliloquy is supposed to be performed more dramatically, but this was a much more modern rendition, where he was so run down by everything happening, that he was just so done and dissatisfied with his life he wanted it over.
    The Mel Gibson version I would place fourth. While talking about his uncle taking the place of his father, the camera shoots the new King walking down the steps wearing the royalty well. This is very effective in showing the anger towards Claudius, and how everyone else is over the death of his father but him. When Gibson looks up while talking about how suicide is not allowed in Christianity, it captures how he is thinking that whatever heaven he might go to would be better than this hell on Earth he is living in. The birds chirping in the background also help to capture it seems like everything is only wrong for him, and everyone else is perfectly fine forgetting about his father.
    The soliloquy that I thought did the worst expressing how Hamlet felt was the one Branagh acted out. I feel like this rendition could be very good, because all of the emotions were there, the atmosphere, the pacing of Hamlet. The only thing was how fake it seemed. I could not take the acting seriously at all. His transitions between each emotion was very quick, making it a little difficult to follow. Like when he talks of how a beast would have mourned longer he screams, but then a second later he is almost whispering. It's hard to relate to this version because of how staged it all feels and disconnected from our own emotions. This version did not grab me at all, in the beginning you can not really tell how sad and upset he is, much less that he is thinking about suicide.

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  5. J Cominelli

    1. Gibson:
    At the beginning of the soliloquy, he seems genuinely depressed and his teary eyes make the acting seem very realistic, and conveys Hamlet’s confused feeling well. I like how he is sitting down and slowly builds up his anger until he has to stand up and looks out the window. Cutting to the scenes of his mother with his uncle lined up well with the soliloquy and made the scene more interesting. It is timed up so we see Claudius when Hamlet is comparing him to a satyr, which helps to show how Hamlet is targeting Claudius. He gets angrier as he continues to talk to himself, and does not change his emotions too quickly, which is how someone might actually behave if they were in Hamlet’s position. I think he could have been more dramatic when saying, “O God! God!” and not use such a long pause, like what Branagh did, but it is not a major flaw. The setting and costumes seem very accurate for the period and adds to the realism of the scene.

    2. Branagh:
    His depressed tone and frequent pauses in the beginning of the soliloquy do a nice job of conveying Hamlet’s anguish. In the middle, his pace speeds up appropriately, but he changes his emotions too quickly while reciting lines 144 and 145 which takes away from the realism. Although he as probably just trying to convey the message that Hamlet is confused and overwhelmed with emotion, he could have used more steady build up of emotion, similar to that of Gibson. He does raise his voice a few times toward the end as he gets angrier which adds dynamic, and adds a level of humanness to his emotions. While he does use hand gestures sometimes while expressing frustration, there are some times he just stands there and yells, which seems unrealistic. At the end, he slows down his pace too much and pauses more frequently and for longer periods of time. This would be understandable if Branagh was trying to convey that Hamlet was trying to think of how to express his feelings, or if Hamlet was realizing he cannot do anything to change his situation, but Branagh pauses after only saying a few words, and makes the last lines of the soliloquy very choppy. The setting seemed appropriate for the time period the play was set in, and helped make it more realistic.

    3. Oliver:
    Throughout the soliloquy, Oliver used common, natural pauses that helped make his acting seem realistic and not rushed. He does not change his emotion that much, but keeps his voice in a depressed hopeless tone, which takes away from the parts of the soliloquy when Hamlet is usually portrayed as angry. Walking around aimlessly and stopping to stare off to nowhere was a little distracting, and did not really add to the mood. He used little movement, which might have helped to make his acting more dramatic. He appeared to honestly be sad, which made it seem realistic or genuine. The setting seemed old and authentic and the darker lighting adds to mood of the soliloquy.

    4. Tennant:
    The beginning is very dramatic and Tennant starts to cry and adds very long pauses in between lines, that make the soliloquy boring and drawn out. His choice to just sit there and cry for a while was confusing and unrealistic. Moving around and using more hand gestures might have helped add anger to his feeling of despair. He ignored the audience in the beginning, but the switched to dramatically staring into the camera. I do not like the choice of switching between ignoring the audience and then acknowledging them, and thought it would have been better if he had chose to do one or the other. He does a nice job at the end when he gets interrupted by Horatio, and tries to hide his tears, which shows he must truly hold his tongue. The setting was more modern than Hamlet was probably intended for, but the dark room and dim lighting added to the mood.

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    Replies
    1. 5. Hawke:
      Hawke speaks too fast throughout the soliloquy, and does not add many dramatic pauses. He is very mono tone, and expresses little emotion. There is almost no change in his voice and he seems like he is rushed. I think Hamlet’s soliloquy was meant to be very dramatic and convey Hamlet’s complex emotions, but Hawke conveys almost no emotion. The soliloquy was set was in a more modern styled room, that had a computer and lights which I thought took away from the scene, because it seemed out of place.

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  6. 1. Tennant
    Out of all the soliloquies Tennant's versions was by far the best. The emotion he portrayed when delivering the soliloquy was the most dramatic and added to the overall emotion that one is supposed to feel when hearing Hamlet's speech. Tennant's attitude while delivering the lines was very raw and real showing just how Hamlet is supposed to be angry and grieving. Tennant was by far the best Hamlet.

    2. Branagh
    Branagh's lacked the emotional depth that Tennant's performance had but it still managed to connect with the audience.Branagh's performance seemed to convey Hamlet's anger a bit more than his sadness which I found more true to the play. This anger Branagh held on to also conveyed Hamlet's distress to the situation he is in which is very important to Hamlet's characterization.

    3. Gibson
    I found Gibson's tone very even and when he did seem to raise his voice it didn't have the same effect on the audience like Tennant's or Branagh's. Throughout the soliloquy he seemed very monotone at times and his face nor attitude conveyed much emotion to how he felt about his situation. Though the pans to his mother and uncle did add some information to the audience it did not distract from Gibson's poor performance.

    4. Olivier
    Though Olivier seems to have the same monotone throughout the soliloquy he still manages to make the scene at least a bit dramatic. He uses his surroundings more than the others which in some cases would help him convey his attitude but this fails because of the lack of emotion in his voice. He seems more curious about his situation rather than upset or angry like Hamlet is portrayed in the play. This is a different take of how Hamlet handles his feelings and it just doesn't work with the soliloquy's extensive language and overall meaning.

    5. Hawke
    The performance that disappointed me the most was Hawke's. He sits the entire time not reacting to anything and you may think that this is how he is supposedly dealing with his rage but his placid tone distracts from that. Hawke tries to convey that Hamlet is basically in shock and doesn't know how to deal with this but this fails because of his tone. Hawke coneys no anger or grief in his tone so the soliloquy sounds boring and meaningless.

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  7. The David Tennant version of Hamlet's soliloquy I felt was the best. Tennant did the best job at conveying the emotion through the soliloquy. With the crying at the beginning and then the focus of him starring into the camera through the end, you can feel the attitude change from sorrow to anger. Next was the Branagh version. I liked as how the scene progressed the anger was brought out in Branagh's voice. I also liked the beginning where he leaned against the chairs, it really brought out the sadness and frustration Hamlet felt. The Mel Gibson version lacked the emotion that the Tennant and Branagh versions had but it was still interesting. When Hamlet looked out the window at his mother and uncles wedding there was a sense of distance that the viewer could feel. In the Ethan Hawke version I didn't like how the scene wasn't really focused on Hamlet. Instead of seeing Hamlet, the director decided to focus it on videos of his parents. I couldn't feel the emotion as I watched it because the actors voice stayed the same through the entire scene and nothing interesting happened. My least favorite was the Laurence Oliver version of the soliloquy. Oliver just walked around the room and showed no emotion towards anything. I also didn't like how the actor didn't say his lines during the scene, instead they were prerecorded. That made the scene uninteresting and dull.

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  8. 1) Tennant:
    The emotion in this version is so rich. Tennant puts the most emphasis into his acting to portray each line, including heavy breaths and crying. However, as thoughts of soliloquy, Tennant fails. Tennant spends a lot of time staring into the camera and emphasizing the presence of an audience, meanwhile in a soliloquy the actor is seen on stage talking with no notice of an audience at all.

    2) Gibson:
    The emotion portrayed by Mel Gibson is magnificent. The gilmour in his eye and his low voice at the beginning show large amounts of depression and the hopelessness Hamlet feels at the beginning of the soliloquy when he wants to melt away to inexistence, “O, that this too too solid flesh would melt”. Each break in speech portrayed the depression of the lines and emphasized each word. When Gibson’s voice changes, the anger is easy to detect. As Gibson looked out his window, at the Queen and King Claudius, the anger and sudden change from personal feelings to resentment towards his mother, made sense.

    3) Branagh:
    This version of Hamlet’s first soliloquy, puts a nice emphasis on the emotion of Hamlet’s words. Each pause shows immense thought and allows the words prior to sink in. Then, at each point where the actor shouted, it truly drove home the feelings behind each word. I also liked the setting of this video, because the hall with the King and Queen’s throne shows the back stabbing being portrayed in the speech. King Hamlet’s chair is there next to the Queen’s and now you can see how that same chair has been taken by his unforgiving, evil uncle. Meanwhile, nothing appears to be changed, which reflects on the descriptions Hamlet uses for his mother.

    4) Oliver:
    In this version, there is no emphasis, through pauses, on certain parts, but rather there is a pause after each individual line. Also the way that he appears to be thinking the words and then he will add physical emphasis to the lines, at times, can be confusing.

    5) Hawke:
    I do not like the voice in this portrayal of Hamlet’s soliloquy. Hawke’s voice stays constant throughout the speech. There is no true distinction between the depressed words and the anger expressed within the soliloquy. The actions of the characters and the setting also do not hold true to the original version, distorting the true meaning of the soliloquy.

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  9. 1.) Gibson
    The Gibson rendition of the Hamlet soliloquy was the best because his speech had great pace- it was slow enough to understand what he was saying and it got faster when his emotion grew. The reason this one stands apart from the other is because it has other things going on. The cuts to his mother outside and the new King put his emotions into perspective and made it feel like you saw what he saw. The birds int he background and the cheering outside make you have empathy for Hamlet because while he is inside suffering, the rest of the world is moving on.

    2.) Tennant
    The second best portrayal of Hamlet's soliloquy was Tennant because of his almost over-acting. His extreme emotions and sadness convey the real emotions Hamlet was feeling. The whole scene is a little different because the actor actually looks at the camera but by doing that I think he made it personal. He has long drawn pauses between each phrase and he actually cries on the floor. I think his enthusiasm and pronunciation on each word gives this scene attention which is ultimately, what the director wanted.

    3.) Branagh
    Branagh's interpretation of Hamlet was very straight forward. This is exactly what I would picture as I read Hamlet, the setting and his tone is what I imagine. He stresses certain words like "heaven and earth" and as his voice cracks with tears, you feel the raw emotion he is feeling. Within the next phrase he is yelling, his roller coaster of emotion portrays how Hamlet was actually feeling. The setting is simple, putting the full focus on Hamlet's words and the acting is simple. What really makes this scene is the stresses he puts on the words and his quick changes in emotion.

    4.) The next best soliloquy was Hawke's. I think that the directional choices in this version were very bold. He had the footage in the background and he cuts the scene to just hamlet's eyes. One of the things that makes this version different was how his voice was in the background, as if this was actually just hamlet thinking to himself. I find this more realistic because if he was contemplating suicide he wouldn't say it out loud, he would more likely be thinking about it as he thinks about his father and mother. The only thing I didn't like was that I think the emotion could've been richer, he could've gone deeper. Hamlet is suicidal, he's crazy- i think he needed a little more emotional severity than what Hawke displayed.

    5.) Olivier's version of Hamlet was kind of boring compared to the others. It's not because it was in black and white, it's because the actor showed no emotion. The lighting was fake-looking, and it wasn't genuine. The way he just walked around didn't make me feel empathy for him at all. The music in the background makes it not as intense or real. It is almost like a dream, not a real confession of his utter despair.

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  10. The version of Hamlet’s soliloquy that I believe was the best is the one by Branagh. In his version Hamlet seemed to have the most natural response of someone in his situation. With his pacing around the room, leaning on the two chairs, and changing the tone of his voice with his change of emotion, convinced me that this was the best portrayal of the soliloquy. The second best soliloquy was the one directed by Almereyda. I liked how the voice was coming from his head and not spoken. This directorial choice made it seem more real for no one in the era of the film would have spoken out loud to himself. I also liked how he was depicted watching films of his mother and father together, this strengthened the point that his mother “would hang on him.” A variation in the tone and more action from the actor would have made for a better performance. Next, the soliloquy directed by Doran. The actor showed very strong emotions, from crying on the floor to appearing very angry. The movement of the actor also showed his emotions and restlessness from the nightmare he is living. A bad choice by the director was to have the actor speak to the camera versus himself. Then we have the version directed by Zefirelli. I enjoyed how he had the actor see his mother and uncle through a window. This action was especially significant because it portrayed an intimacy between the mother and uncle, both of whom were smiling only a month after the kings death. The actor could have shown more emotion in his facial expressions. Lastly the performance directed by Olivier. In this Hamlet spoke from his head and not out loud which was the strongest aspect of the performance. It was weakened though by its extreme lack of emotion in both language and in expression. A good choice by the director was to have him speak “within a month” which did portray his anger and disgust at the quick marriage of his mother and uncle.

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  11. Winslow L.
    I’d say the best rendition of Hamlet’s soliloquy in Act 1 Scene 2 would be the one performed by David Tennant and directed by Gregory Doran. What I was looking for in these videos was an accurate displaying of both developing craziness within Hamlet and his own struggle to suppress these emotions. I thought the scene that best illustrated these themes was Tennant’s. In his first few lines, he doubles over to show us that having to live his life is literally causing himself pain. He is very emotional, as he should be. The other videos don't do as good of a job expressing his actual emotions. Also, the way he looks to the camera with the desperation visible in his eyes really shows the pain he's experiencing. It's as if he's asking the audience whether his feelings are justified which I believe they are. Finally, when Horatio and friends appear, he wipes his face off and turns to face them as if nothing was wrong, which was part of what was causing him so much pain.
    Second best I have Kenneth Branagh's version of the soliloquy. He is also visibly experiencing pain by doubling over within the few first lines. Also, he changes his emotions from calm to chaotic rapidly, almost in a bipolar fashion, to reflect the struggle Hamlet is having dealing with his situation. The realization of his mothers decision to marry his uncle causes Hamlet so much pain that he literally has to scream in agony. These are all accurate to my views of Hamlet's soliloquy.
    Third I picked Mel Gibson's rendition and fourth I chose Ethan Hawke's. Both are very similar in the way the soliloquy is delivered. It was clear both directors went with a listlessness approach to the scene instead of a clear display of emotion. I don't agree with this strategy because I don't think it accurately displays the build up of anger going on within Hamlet. Gibson brings up the subject of suicide with a facial expression that doesn't accurately express the pain that goes along with the subject. He does do a good job expressing his resentment and anger towards his mother by grinding of his teeth and slamming of the window when he says "frailty thy name is woman." Hawke shows very little emotion during his performance. He gives off an angry disdainful look when comparing his mother to a beast, but quickly shields it into a look of melancholy. Although this does represent the suppressing of his feelings, Hamlet's true feelings are more dramatic then Hawke portrays them to be.
    My least favorite was the portrayal by Lawerence Olivier. I feel that he, like Hawke and Gibson, struggles to find a balance between too dramatic and not dramatic enough when portraying Hamlet. Unlike Gibson and Hawke though, I believe Olivier's portrayal of Hamlet's struggle is too dramatic to the point it become cliché. For example, his turn after he delivers the line "I shall not think ont' it" doesn't come off as realistic to me, but more like theatre. He does show that he's upset through his tone and drained stares but at some points I'm not sure he accurately displays how much pain Hamlet is going through in that moment. Hamlet is discussing suicide and all Olivier is showing a look of deep thought rather than one of intense pain. Personally, I believed all 5 videos were decent in portraying Hamlet but having to rank them this I believed was the worse.

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  12. Kate P

    1. Branagh:
    My favorite overall performance, Branagh accurately expresses the anger and sorrow that Hamlet holds when compartmentalizing the tragedy of his father's death and his mother's remarriage. In his ways of coping, Branagh allows Hamlet's anger towards his mother to bubble to the surface in his interpretation of the soliloquy. I especially like the building tension in the scene; at first Branagh expresses defeat and despair in his hunched over position speaking the breathy and hopeless way line, "...oh God...God.", but you see his emotions turn from anguish to resentment when he speaks the line, "...but two months dead." The way Branagh literally spits out this line makes his audience feel and hear the audible shift. Finally, Branagh alters Hamlets emotions from resentment to outright loathing of his mother and uncle in the line, "...Oh God! a beast, that wants discourse of reason." These emotional transitions, and finally returning his emotions to despair, make Branagh's interpretation of Hamlet's soliloquy the most advanced.

    2. Tennant: Though I am partial to David Tennant, His performance fell behind Branagh's, in my opinion, solely for the direct eye contact with the camera. I hated that he addressed the audience in the soliloquy, and I think that the director misinterpreted the scene as one that would be more powerful being directed at the viewers. I disagree, and feel that the eye contact was distracting and made the scene feel disjointed from the rest of the play, for instance how Tennant went right into the scene with Horatio as if he was not aware of the cameras presence. Despite my feelings towards the directors choice, Tennant's allowed Hamlet's entire persona to appear completely unhinged in his performance, almost like he was going mad with emotions. Had the camera issue not come up, I would have rewarded Tennant's performance first place, as his display of sorrowful emotion- though not as dynamic as Branagh's transitional emotions- was deeper and slightly more believable than that displayed in the first place scene.

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    1. 3. Oliver:
      Oliver's portrayal of Hamlet was very well thought out here, and though I don't agree with the director's choice to perform the soliloquy as a voice over, I have to complement the complexity of Oliver's voice. Even without seeing his face change much, or his lips move, we pick up the depth of anguish solely by listening to his voice. Referring to what Gloria K commented earlier, I like how the director chose to cut away from the voice over when Hamlet says "nay, not so much, not two," as if he is taking to himself; it appears like Hamlet possesses a dual personality. This adds a nice effect by providing insight as to how the character reacts and deals with the tragedy, as it makes him appear crazy and unstable when he contradicts his own thoughts out load. I wish that Oliver showed voiced more of Hamlet's emotionally distraught attitude in his voice and his physical gestures throughout the soliloquy.

      4. Gibson:
      Gibson had all the emotion shown on his face, which is understandably a very hard thing for an actor to do, so in this aspect alone, Gibson portrayed Hamlet spot on. But the consistency of his voice seemed to lack depth as he spoke, which made is hard to become captivated and emotionally moved by his performance. In my opinion, he used the "I'm defeated" voice too often throughout, and it made his character seem somewhat unbelievable and more bored with the subject than anything. Also, I like the director's choice in keeping Hamlet physically speaking the scene, but the way the camera cuts away creates too distracting an atmosphere. More confusing was the directors choice of attire for PRINCE Hamlet, and had I not known beforehand that this was Hamlet's soliloquy, I would not have identified him. One of the few things Gibson had going for him in this scene was the anguish seen in his eyes, but when the camera cut away, it drew from that and made the scene less personal and serious.

      5. Hawke:
      My least favorite performance, Hawke's portrayal of Hamlet failed to capture any depth of relevance to the story whatsoever. His voice was uninterested and consistently monotone as he droned on about his troubles that seemingly had no impact on him. There was little to no emotion on his face, making it hard to empathize with a person who didn't seem concerned with his problems in the slightest. His impersonal voice made it sound like he was reading straight from the script, and the cut away to the screens he was watching was confusing and further distracted from the scene.

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  13. 1ST: Tennant: His performance was the best match to Hamlet's soliloquy. He was the only one who put that much emotion into it. Tennant showed many emotions such as anger, sadness, and outrage. Body language and setting incorporation into Tennant's performance were great He broke down crying and even sat on the floor showing the immensity of his grief and sadness and then he also his rage by getting up more determined and less melancholic, speaking up directly to the camera (audience). He took the acting a little further than expected and it worked because it conveyed the dramatic words of Shakespeare.

    2ND: Branagh: He showed his emotions a little differently from Tennant because he did it with his voice instead of excessive body language. Branagh raised his voice to put emphasis where needed like "and yet, within a month..." to show his outrage of how Hamlet's mother did not wait to get married. The setting is very fitting and time appropriate which helps the performance with the whole Victorian feeling.

    3RD: Gibson: His performance was very unique because of what he was doing while talking. He sat in his room, away from people giving the feeling of loneliness Hamlet portray in his words. Gibson also gets up and talks while looking down from his window and seeing his mother being happy with his uncle giving him the perfect setting to show his emotions of disgust while he keeps tilting his head away from the scene. It ends great with him closing the window showing how much he despises the situation he is in. His voice did not range a lot with emotions, but he did a great job with facial expressions.

    4TH: Hawke : The performance lacks emotion and body language. Hawke's version is very dry with no real emotion shown and the voice is not seen because it is supposed to be his thoughts which is a great idea but it was portrayed poorly. His version is what I guess to be a modern version of Hamlet's soliloquy. The video he was watching of some girl and some guy are what I imagine to be his mother and uncle are the only link I could see to Hamlet and the lack of emotion did not help.

    5TH: Olivier: Despite the setting being fitting, Olivier's version of Hamlet's soliloquy did not do a good job. His facial expressions seemed to be confused as at what to feel and he creepily turned his head too many times during the performance. He walked around which was good but his voice barely change tone during the whole soliloquy and there was scarcely any emotion in his body language and expressions. His whole act together did not portray feelings as Hamlet's soliloquy is supposed to.

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  14. Melanie M.

    Branagh:
    Branagh’s performance of the soliloquy was the best in my opinion. He used different tones of voice, along with powerful facial features to portray emotion to the audience. While the other performances were good, I felt this one stood above the rest in the above the rest because of the way he emphasizes the way certain words, for example, “discourse of reason would have mourned longer”. The audience is aware of how he is feeling, and how the emotion changes from sadness to anger.

    Tennant:
    I feel that the performance by Tennant was the second best. It was a good choice to have him hunched over in the beginning, and slowly get up and move around. He uses deep emotion throughout the entire soliloquy, and in order to portray this he uses different tones of voice, to illustrate how he is feeling; whether it be sadness and depression, or deep hatred. I thought it was a smart move on the director’s place to have the audience view the scene through a security camera, because I felt it added a modern touch, and distanced the viewer in the beginning. The reason Tennant’s performance was not the best performance was because I felt the pauses in between phrases were a little too drawn out. Branagh had pauses, let the audience focus on how his face portrayed emotion, but I felt he timed the breaks better.

    Gibson:
    In my opinion this performance of Hamlet’s soliloquy was good enough for third place.His face captures the emotion that Hamlet is feeling, but I thought that his tone of voice was more monotone compared to the first and second versions. In this version, Gibson got up and looked out the window, which showed his mother and Claudius riding away on horses, with many people around. I thought this was a very smart move on the director’s part, because it emphasizes what is going on with the rest if the people. Gibson seemed to show more anger towards the end, when he was looking out the window, which emphasizes his discuss. I also felt him looking on from above showed that he was not involved in his family’s life, and he did not want to be.

    Hawke:
    In fourth place is Hawke’s version of Hamlet’s soliloquy. I felt throughout the entire piece was too rushed, and he did not take enough time to deeply emphasize words or phrases like some of the others had done. Hawke, however, did try to put emotion in his face. By just looking at him, the audience could get a sense of how he was feeling, which I thought was a good touch. This version was the most modernized version, in my opinion. Hamlet was looking at old video clips of his parents who seemed to be in love. This was a smart choice on the director’s part, because it allows the audience to visualize how his father was, and why Hamlet is so upset about the remarriage.

    Olivier:
    Out of the five versions I saw, this version was my least favorite. I felt that his voice was too calm, and it did not provide the great emotion that some of the others included. While speaking, Olivier wandered around the room he was in. I thought this was a nice touch, because it made him more personable compared to if he was sitting down the entire time, however, it lacked the powerful movements and body language the others included. He only spoke a few words in the entire soliloquy, and the rest were thought. I think I understand what the director was trying to do (give emphasis on a particular phrase), I did not think it was portrayed as well as it could have been. All in all, I do not think this version was particularly bad on its own, compared to the others this was my least favorite.

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  15. After watching the five clips it became clear that Branagh's was the best of the five. He didnt put too much emotion into his words like Tennant who i liked the least. Certain words were more stressed than others which did a terrific job highlighting the point. Many of the versions i feel overacted to the point that you could tell they were just actors not the people they were portraying. They definetly should have held their emotions back a little to make it seem a bit more realistic. Body language also portrayed the mood of the soliloquy. All actors did this very well but i feel as if Tennant did this the best. His posture really set the scene.

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  16. Of course, all five performances of the Hamlet soliloquy are “good” - they are professional productions. However, I still found myself deeming some better than others if I thought they better conveyed the material in the text. I suppose it is ultimately a matter of opinion, although Shakespeare certainly must’ve wanted it a certain way. My rankings, from best to worst, are as follows: Olivier, Branagh, Hawke, Gibson, Tennant. I liked Olivier’s performance. The camera followed Hamlet as he pondered his situation. It wasn’t “overly intense” while still delivering the emotions of the text. Olivier showed the sadness throughout, vocally and facially, which made the text as painful as it should be of an experience. Branagh’s performance was really very good, I thought. The way he delivered every line just seemed “right” to me, and like the lines were made to be performed precisely. He took a radical approach, seemingly pondering with himself his own situation, and ranting. He was almost hyper. But it worked somehow, because he maintained a look of genuine distress overall in his gestures. Hawke, who I presume was in some sort of modernized version of Hamlet, delivered the soliloquy well. I loved the music, which backed his tone perfectly. He spoke intensely, and the camera followed his eyes and face as well as a video he was watching and discussing (of his mother, I believe), the talking acting as narration in the background, mostly. This was a cool “modern” technique, that still captured the intensity of the original soliloquy fairly well. Gibson’s performance was good of course, however, he took a very different approach than the other actors. He played very glumly, which, in my opinion, did not fit the character properly. It got better towards the end, when, in the light, he was more energized and the camera following the people sort of distracted from him for a bit. But still, his glumness did not convey itself in the way Hamlet should be sad, I think, because Gibson made his character have no real courage or spirit to be coupled with it. Tennant, finally, was my least favorite performance. His delivery of the lines was okay - although quite bold and angry at times, a bit too much - but what truly bugged me was the choice the director made to have him looking into a camera, still, for a long time. All actions - yelling into the camera, the crying, interactions with other characters - were extreme, and I think Hamlet should have some more defeat in him rather than all anger. He should be more confused and hurt, rather than merely determined. Tennant could’ve been more like Gibson, just a bit, in his own performance. All soliloquies, however, were certainly solid performances in their own right - they’re just very, very different.

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  17. 1st: I would consider Gibson’s version of the soliloquy to be the best, for it focuses on more than one emotion. He appears wistful, disgusted, pained, and angry throughout the scene. The scene is divided in two pieces: the wistful lines spoken while Hamlet is sitting in his room are very self-centered, whereas the lines spoken while he is looking out the window are laced with disgust and anger towards Claudius and his mother. The setting is crucial to the success of the scene, for the appearance of his mother with Claudius seems to draw out the words of the soliloquy. Hamlet’s looking out the window coincides with the line “things rank and gross in nature possess it merely.” In this scene version more than any other, we are given a clear idea of how Hamlet’s thoughts are being directed. The scene is careful to balance the emotions with thoughtfulness and maturity.

    2nd: Branagh’s version comes in second, for I found the crescendo of emotion to be very powerful. He moves from distress at the opening: bracing himself on two chairs, and his voice nearly cracking. As he gets up and walks around the room, his anger grows, evident in the outburst “O, God! a beast, that wants discourse of reason would have mourned longer.” The falling petals also add an interesting element, for it seems as if the world around him is dying; that he lives in an unweeded garden. However it is not first because his emotion seems too simple, Gibson appeared more enigmatic.

    3rd: Olivier’s version is ranked third, thanks largely to the black and white cinematography (it added to the overall feeling of helplessness and dreariness) and the morose background music. Throughout the scene he appears very thoughtful and deep, but my issue is that his emotion did not extend much beyond that thoughtfulness. He was too sullen to truly evoke any emotion, in contrast with the waves of emotion conveyed by the other actors.

    4th: Tennant’s version falls in fourth, because though it was filled with emotion and dramatic acting, it came off as overplayed to me. The actor nearly adopted the fetal position, and was rocking like a child who sucks his thumb. I felt a lack of thoughtfulness compared to the other works, for Tennant’s grief and rage seemed too directed at the camera rather than at his predicament. The practice of staring into the camera made it feel as if he was trying too hard to involve the audience. For such an internal conflict, he lacked contemplation.

    5th: Hawke’s version is last, for the modern adaptation fits very poorly with the soliloquy. All the thought and emotion in the words seems to be deplenished when delivered from a disheveled room. Rather than speaking the words himself, the soliloquy is narrated, taking away from the value. While the actor’s poring over the home videos of his parents is very poignant, we hardly glimpse his emotions. Overall, the scene just falls very flat.

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  18. This soliloquy is very important to the plot of hamlet. It is foreshadowing and reveals hamlets inner thinking. It reveals his thought process. i think that David Tennent did this the best. His voice is very commanding and exemplifies hamlet in a way none of the others could. I didn't really like the "thinking" soliloquy, they seemed distant and they created distance between the thoughts of hamlet and he character. Tennent does create a personal feeling. You can see the emotions in the text, through the way he talks and his pauses. Some of the others show s what is going on around hamlet but not him. I think that the focus on hamlet is important. The Tennent version does that. It is more focused on hamlet, which is what the soliloquy is about.

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  19. Before even watching any of the videos provided by the class of 2013's blog, I noticed the length of each of the five videos. I noticed right away that Tennant's was the longest. I made sure to take a quick look at the length of the videos because to me that would convey the fact that this version would show a lot of emotion and the drawing out of the words and lines of the soliloquy. In my opinion, Tennant definitely did the greatest job of conveying the feeling of Hamlet during this particular soliloquy. I disagree with the people that responded to Tennant's portrayal as overreactive, and too angry. Each person handles pain and betrayal differently, and I believe that Tennant's did this the best. The use of hand gestures and moving around made the act very believable.

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  20. Hannah L.

    1st. Branagh
    Branagh’s soliloquy is the most angry of the five. I enjoy as his emotion rises that he begins to stand up and pace the room. As he leans on the thrones right in the beginning, it embodies the disgust you think Hamlet is feeling. Branagh goes from disgust in the tone in his voice to complete anger as he begins to yell in the empty room. His pacing shows how he cannot escape the thoughts of his feelings. Branagh then ends with a softer tone and looks up at the ceiling as if he cannot believe how is father has been betrayed. I feel as though the anger encompasses how Hamlet is feeling along with his disgust, more so than crying and being in such a hysterical state.

    2nd.Tennant
    Tennant is extremely emotional in his version. Not even 30 seconds in his is sobbing on the floor showing his unfathomable sadness he is experiencing. When he does actually become somewhat “angry” he only seems slightly irritated and not as angry as I think Hamlet would be. The intensity in the language was very prevalent. The way he is on the floor sobbing shows the seriousness of the situation Hamet is being put through and how poorly it is affecting him.


    3rd. Hawke
    Hawke’s version of the soliloquy was subtly powerful. The way the director played his voice on top of him watching video’s of his parents together was very powerful. You could see how much Hawke was reminiscing about when his parents were together, and how happy they looked, and you could see the distress in his face. His voice was also very monotone, giving the feeling of exhaustion. The exhaustion could stem from the fact that his has been through so many thoughts and feelings lately that he is too tired to passionately speak about the way he is feeling. It really creates a connection by viewing the videos Hawke is watching, almost as if you can briefly be part of his family; and his voice shows exemplifies the tiresome state in which his mind is in. Even though his version did not show anger, the director’s choices of showing the video’s of the couple really won me over.

    4th. Gibson
    Gibson was very somber in his version. His voice is coated with sadness. Although, when his emotion does change to a small bit of irritation, I enjoy how the director had him get up and move to the window to a shot of his mother kissing her new husband. The sun shines lightly on his face to show what little happiness he still has left. It is also powerful at the end when he is speaking his last angered line, and he slams the window shut. This again encompasses the anger I expect Hamlet to be feeling. I like how Gibson’s also ends with “Frailty, thy name is Woman!” Adding the shot of Gertrude and Hamlet’s uncle is a very wise idea to show how open Gertrude is about the situation, and Hamlet being up in his house separated from them shows the large gap Hamlet feels between his mother and himself.

    5th. Oliver
    I didn’t feel much anger from Oliver’s version. It was much more somber. The way he slightly looks up at the ceiling and closes his eyes as if he is hurting. He also leans on the chairs for support but without much anger behind it. The way he slowly walked around the room just showed how saddened he was, and I do not feel it conveyed the intensity of the soliloquy properly. I felt as if there was no drive behind what was being said.

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  21. Franco Zeffirelli’s portrayal of Hamlet’s soliloquy best exemplified the dramatic scene Hamlet illustrates for us. Gibson fit the role perfectly. His appearance was rugged, and the scene exemplified what I had imagined to be the era “Hamlet” takes place during. Although I feel as though Almereyda’s and Oliver’s soliloquy better expressed Hamlet’s soliloquy as a thought process without the actor’s lips moving, Zeffirelli’s had the advantage by giving the audience different views. He showed us Hamlet up close, far away, and most importantly, he showed the scene that was unfolding before Hamlet’s eyes. He showed the queen’s infatuation with Claudius and you could see the pain in Hamlet’s face as the camera alternated between the scene below and Hamlet. He also strategically isolated Gibson to show how Hamlet felt alone. There was a crowd below him, smiling and laughing, but the poor forgotten Hamlet watched in solitude, from afar. It was realistic. He talked to himself, not as if an audience was watching. He was bitter but not overdramatized so that it seemed fake and insincere. Gibson was not too old, nor too young, and his attire was simple as opposed to the suit and tie that Tennant was wearing in the fourth clip.

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  22. 1st video: Branagh: he acted rather dramatically in changing tones very quickly. Anger to sadness to anger to sadness, not much can be said I guess. You could tell there were emotions but the rage was very little and trickled, Hamlet is disgusted not quietly in despair. There was no full emotion in the acting. Unrealistic and fake. Overall 3rd

    2nd: Gibson: Gibson displayed a full emotion and actually made it more realistic. The camera changes showing Gertrude and Claudius and how a bitter tone appeared in Gibson’s voice after watching them ride off was a nice touch. A much more realististic job than others. 1st place tied with Tennant

    3rd: Hawke: Yet again the realistic tone was evident in here, but it took me longer than it should have to realize that it was his thoughts speaking and not his action. It also felt as if the music gave more of the emotion to the soliloquy than the actor himself. The computer part also was weird, it was as if the directors were trying to incorporate Gertrude and Claudius into the scene like Gibson’s but it felt weird that he was looking at them like that. Then again I’m not to fond of modern era timed Shakespearean movies. His voice was also raspy and whispery which helped the tone better than Oliver’s. Overall 4th

    4th: Tennant:(this one was watched last due to length and so there may or may not be some biased opinions) Okay back on track, so there was evident emotion with more proper transitions in comparison to Branagh. Tennant did make it an over reaction, but I think it worked better due to the smoother transitions. What unnerved me the most however about this performance is that Tennant kept staring at the camera. This was probably intentional, but jesus it made me so uneasy because actors usually aren’t supposed to do that. I’m guessing Tennant was supposed to stare at the audience to acknowledge them, but that is a monologue and not a soliloquy. That knocks so many points off and that is so depressing. It was a very good acting with the emotions and hand gestures, if you hadn’t looked into the soul of the camera it would have been perfect, but he made it a monologue which is disappointing. But he acted better than the rest so screw it he still gets 1st place tied with Gibson.

    5th: Olivier: Even tone in this one too, although it was more sadness more than anything else. The transitions between inside the head and outside felt a little weird, but I understand that they were there for a point to be made. To emphasize if it must be said. It also had the despair music, like Hawke, playing in the background. Except this time it somehow lacked even more emotion than Hawke. Olivier felt very monotone. Overall 5th

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  23. 1st Branagh
    Branagh transitions between his emotions cleanly and crisply. Making his feeling clearly noticeable. He seemed to be more angry than the rest conveying the insanity that is “Hamlet”. All of the emotions are portrayed from his tone in which he speaks.I really like the idea of an angry Hamlet, I like that he wants to be so direct with the problem and show his rage about it. I found Branagh foreshadowing with his acting upon how Hamlet loathes king claudius and how he will come to kill him.

    2nd Olivier
    I found how oliver chose to portray hamlet’s soliloquy, intriguing as a thought. At one point of great tension he blurted a sentence out if he were to do that more than once I would have found this scene more appealing. He made movements and facial expressions conveying his feelings, but I believe there is more than movement and physical emotion. He should have used more emotion in his voice defining his feeling in what he says.

    3rd Tennant
    I enjoyed Tennant’s scene because I personally like tennant as an actor, but I HATE how he chose to break the fourth wall. It makes there feel like something is wrong or misplaced and that may be the intention but I find it not to sit right with me. Tennant does show his emotion in his voice very well in fact in both anger and sadness. His movements were also a bit limited in this scene.


    4th Gibson
    gibson portrays his emotion well in his speech his movement is meaningful and conveys his point. I would like it better if the scene did not cut to the outside with the king and queen instead focus more on hamlet. Focus on his movement, emotion and speech. The cut made the whole scene lose its meaning because this scene should be hamlet and hamlet alone. Hamlet should not be pointing to another group of people that are about 30 feet away. This scene is hamlets time not anyone elses.

    5th Hawke
    Hawke played more of a sad hamlet a hamlet showing little anger for the occurrences which are going on. I personally feel hamlet should be a bit more out there saying something, like standing up and yelling for what he dislikes. Hawke does have this scene as a thought in his head which I found to be an interesting take upon the scene. I also did like what they had going on the computer screen with the woman and the man who I chose to depict as hamlet's mother and father.

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  25. Best to worst performances of the soliloquy: (I watched them all but didn’t take notes the first time)

    The fourth video had the most emotion in it’s performance. The first was my overall favorite because it portrayed the classic Shakespearean play look. It had the stereotypical emotion, which I think is best for a classic drama such as this. There was one video that modernized it, and I liked that the actor playing Hamlet in that portrayal kept it very monotone, more on a serious note. He sat in front of a desk or a television of some kind, and he just talked, spoke. The way the fourth video (I think it’s the one where the guy kept looking at the camera) was absolutely bothersome to me for the fact that it became such a speech because he addressed his audience. I liked the classic, overly emotional portrayal of the soliloquy more than anything else.

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