Madness and Decay in 'Hamlet' Essay

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After watching a scene from Act 3 scene 1 within the Hamlet movie, produced by Andrew Fierberg and Amy Hobby it’s instantly evident a modern approach was taken. The characters are dressed with what would be in style in the year 2000 when the movie was released. While also having their hair styled to suite the modern day, while in a modern day setting. The original Hamlet includes long gowns and very old looking Elizabethan era style clothing. Within this scene, a very simple setting takes place in an apartment room. This allows for the viewers to really listen to what Hamlet is saying and how he expresses himself while also seeing how Ophelia is reacting.

Hamlet is portrayed as a young man who seems to be crazy in love with someone, although he cannot cope with what is going on in his own mind and around him. The producers added beer on the table to possibly imply Hamlet was drinking before the scene took place, something the producers altered from the play. The producer may have tried to include a theme of corruption by adding the bottle of beer, trying to prove that Hamlet’s character slowly being corrupt. The movie did a great job in displaying Hamlet’s emotions while allowing the viewer to pick up on the themes of the story. As Hamlet starts with telling Ophelia he did not love her, he then quickly asks “are you honest” and again “are you fair”, its evident there is an emotional attachment to Ophelia within his facial expressions, asking the girl who he loves if she is still pure and a virgin. These are questions that usually come up when talking to someone you love and looking to date or marry while maybe showing a side of craziness. As she answers his questions he begins to move in for a kiss increasing his emotional state. Within the story of Hamlet some of the main themes are decay and a lack of action with a lot of contemplation, the movie does a great job of this within Act 3 scene 1.

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The movie shows Hamlet go from telling Ophelia he does not love her, to moving in touching her back and eventually starting to kiss her, all before he gets very upset and outraged. In such a short time period the movie allows the viewers to see a few different sides of Hamlet, of course easily displaying his madness. Within this clip Hamlet is portrayed as he is a vulnerable young man who is very confused and hurt emotionally. He seems to look like a very simple modern day young man. As the scene continues, Hamlet seems to confess to his madness while displaying corruption as he tells Ophelia to go to a nunnery to preserve her beauty “Get thee to a nunnery. Why wouldst thou be a breeder of sinners?” (Act 3 Scene 1) , he asks why someone so pure, would like to have children with someone like him, or if she wants them to be sinners. The addition of rudeness clearly portrays a theme of corruption to the reader. He then continues to say that most beautiful women turn into whores. This is all while also indicating that he is no better than any other man, he seems to imply that all people are cheaters. Crazy people are the ones often saying these types of things. He rambles on from subject to subject.

The scene focuses in on Hamlet as he begins to preach that he is a man of ambition and revenge. Throughout the play themes start to develop such as, lack of action with Hamlet being the main example. After the killing of his father he constantly contemplates revenge many times though always pushing it off. Though the movie shows him taking action when he moves in, to start grabbing her and kissing her. The producers show the viewers Hamlet taking quick action, though its involving physical activity its still immediate action within the original. It seems the movie was also allowing the viewers to see how Ophelia feels about Hamlet as she goes along with kissing him, something not seen in the original. Though in the movie the producer added a microphone placed in Ophelia’s shirt recording their conversation. He seems to do this to emphasize Hamlets anger, altering from the original play again. This could possibly be done to emphasize the theme of insanity. Hamlet is constantly under the threat of being watched and that results in him not being mentally sane all the time.

Times throughout the story, people are asked to essentially spy on Hamlet or gather information from him, such as his thoughts or reasons for madness. He really begins to get outraged as he gets louder and louder after finding the microphone. He instantly blames her father who he has not trusted throughout the play. A theme of certainty is also portrayed within Hamlet’s character as he feels like Polonius is the one ruining everything for him. Hamlet gets livid in seeing how Ophelia and her father have tried to play him like a fool, as he begins to say “Let the doors be shut upon him, that he may play the fool no where but in ’s own house. Farewell” (Act 3, Scene 1). Once knowing he has been recorded he throws everything off the table, grabs the microphone yelling into it before storming off. Hamlet throughout the play has not liked or trusted her father, Polonius and here he comes out and calls him a fool while expressing a large amount of anger. He begins to yell and throw items of the desk within the end of the clip, easily showing how mad he has gone in such a modern day example. Within the modern day movies when seeing kids angry it’s always displayed with throwing or breaking things, something that would not have taken place in the original Hamlet in the Elizabethan era. Overall, the producers have been able to display Hamlet in a very modern outlook. They were able to do this with the matching the characters style to present days, while keeping the setting around them very simple and basic. The characters are portrayed to be very emotional, more than what is described in the play, while sticking with the same lines. This is seen within facial expressions and their touchiness. This seems to be done in order to really get the messages and feelings across to the viewer. They were able to display the themes of madness, lack of action, corruption and as well as decay as part of Hamlet’s character.

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Madness and Decay in ‘Hamlet’ Essay. (2024, May 20). Edubirdie. Retrieved June 16, 2024, from https://edubirdie.com/examples/madness-and-decay-in-hamlet-essay/
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Madness and Decay in ‘Hamlet’ Essay [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2024 May 20 [cited 2024 Jun 16]. Available from: https://edubirdie.com/examples/madness-and-decay-in-hamlet-essay/
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