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Caleb Tracy - p.

HAMLET TEST
Act III, Scene 4 (The Queens Closet) Comparing and Contrasting: Laurence Olivier, David Tennant, and Kenneth Branagh three interpretations of Hamlet: All the scenes had Hamlet, Gertrude, the Ghost, and Polonius. They all had their own specific setting. Laurence Olivier set his Hamlet in traditional medieval times. It was in Gertrudes bedchamber. Everything done was very stereotypically Shakespearean. David Tennants was done in a modern European monarchy setting. It was much more contemporarily viewed. It was in Gertrudes Chamber as well. It had a more realistic feel to it with the modern dress and style of furniture. In Kenneth Branaghs version, he set it in Denmark around 1910, very turn-of the century era, I would say. It had the feel of this grandiose court the still wore swords and uniform. The setting was very idealistic and romantic as oppose to the realism of Tennants. I feel like the interpretations of the Givens would have interesting turns on the script for the two interpretations in the more modern eras. Oliviers Hamlet would be close to the original Shakespeare one. Tennants, with the use of guns, such modern clothing, and modern mannerisms, would add differences to the fighting, killing, and spying on of others, you would think; especially in the mousetrap scene. In Branaghs, the new era brings about most of the same effects that Tennants has on the post and future scenes. The staging and choice of tactics adds a whole new element of uniqueness to these interpretations of Hamlet. Lets first look at Oliviers staging and choice of tactics. He has Hamlet being very forceful and physical. Hamlet throws Gertrude around a lot. He grabs her, he holds her at knifepoint, he throws her on the bed, and he forces her to listen to him. Oliviers Hamlet is very physical. He is, however, remorseful at the same time. He ends up kissing her and laying in her lap like he was a little boy. It is very similar to Tennants staging interpretation. This staging gives Hamlet power and Gertrude less. Effectively leading up to the intensity of the murder and the remorse and pleading afterward. The fact that no one can see the ghost in this version brings up an interesting argument as to whether it really is all in Hamlets mind. David Tennants similar staging and choice of tactics involves a playful teasing of Hamlets accusations of his mother. He starts to get a little Olivier with it and throws Gertrude around pinning her on the bed for no escape. He shows her newspaper pictures of both men, and then he brutally, physically forces her to look at them. Then, my favorite part of his staging, he throws the covers of the bed over her so she can be in her incestuous sheets and therefore feel the shame. The ghost staging is different from the others. Hamlet cowers and is very frightened by the ghosts return. It drives him to be feeble. Then, as proof for his sanity, Hamlet has Gertrude feel his heartbeat to know that he is truthful, not crazy, and just as normal as she. This is one of the few areas where Branagh and Tennant agree. Then he peacefully pleas with Gertrude not to have her go back to bed with Claudius, which is the same in all the versions. Then he buries his head into

Caleb Tracy - p.2 Gertrudes lap like Oliviers. Then he ends with dragging the body off, like all the others do. Branaghs staging and choice of tactics starts off similar to the others. He throws Gertrude around and even physically tries to shut her up. After killing the spy, he throws her to the bed. The rest of the scene, however, shows the timid and caring side of Hamlet. After the murder, he is very peaceful. He becomes more sentimental toward his mother. Its different than any of the other interpretations. He grieves her to take pity when he shows her the pictures of Claudius and Old Hamlet. Then he is brought to tears at the sight of the ghost. He becomes weaker than the other Hamlets. He shows his compassionate side and that helps him deal with the confused and shaken Gertrude later. He does the Tennant thing after the ghost leaves and has her feel his heartbeat. Then he pleads her to stay pure, but just has passionate eye contact with her. He doesnt burry his head into her lap, like the other interpretations do. Then, finally, he drags the body off and exits like the others also interpret. The motivations and obstacles in these interpretations hardly differ in most areas, but when they do they are very interesting. The motives they all share is that Hamlet wants to get Gertrude to feel remorse and shame for marrying Claudius, they also want her to see her sins and repent, getting her to believe he is not crazy is another motive, and killing the intruder is last similar motive. Interestingly enough, the place where motives differ in these three interpretations is the ghost part of this scene. Sure they want Gertrude to see the ghost and believe, but there is more than that to each. Oliviers Hamlets motive is for hamlet to see the Ghost and believe him and not his insanity. Tennants Hamlets motive is to appease the ghost and to do what it wants so that it will be less unhappy and stop haunting him. Branaghs Hamlets motive is more to feel the remorse of the ghost and to get Gertrude to feel that same remorse and witness the ghosts empathy so that she would not be with Claudius any longer. The obstacles they all share are their stubborn mothers, their accidental murders of the wrong man, Gertrude not being able to see the ghost, and that she thinks Hamlet is therefore crazy. They have some different obstacles, mainly with the fact that they have different types of Gertrudes. Oliviers Gertrude is mainly hysterical the whole time. So he has different tactics he needs to use to achieve his objectives. Tennants Gertrude is very confused and upset by Hamlets behavior, again changing the tactics up. Branaghs Gertrude is mad and angry with him. He has to deal with the fed up Gertrude, which calls for different tactics as well. The have some similar obstacles that take them on some personal detours in which they all have to change their tactics. MY PERSONAL INTERPRETAION OF Act III, Scene 4: I believe what motivates Hamlets thoughts and actions is his constant will to make his mother feel shame for marrying Claudius. He brings it up nonstop. He starts off saying, Mother, you have my father much offended. He only progresses upon that, demanding things of her throughout the course of the scene. Telling her to not move, sit down, and listen multiple times. He really is motivated to get her to listen and feel shame. Gertrude is motivated to try

Caleb Tracy - p.3 to understand why Hamlet has changed and is acting this way. What have I done, that thou darest wag thy tongue / In noise so rude against me? She says that line in attempts to get some little answer from Hamlet. He actions are mainly motivated by Hamlets forceful ones. Their relationship is one of a distant mother and son. Usually this relationship is strongest in most families. This one however is very verbally, if not physically, abusive. Hamlet is very cruel to Gertrude in this scene. In his mind, he thinks she deserves it. Thinking, she has a wicked tongue and stewed in corruption. I think it is a very awkward relationship, nonetheless. Why Hamlet draws so much attention to the sin and sexual activities of his mother is a wonder. What child cares about that? Wouldnt it be the last thing a child ever wants to think of about their parents? Truly it is a perplexing relationship. I think my interpretation would make things harder and awkward for future scenes with Hamlet and Gertrude, and the past scenes more tense and awkward. This scene opens the floodgate to Hamlets rage and contempt towards his mother. Its starts something that continues the rest of the show. I feel he does feel remorse for her, he pleads with her to confess her sins. Soon, he sees she doesnt change. It is then he has no hope for her and continues to be very angry with her. I think he waits until this act to build up the beautiful dramatic tension. That dramatic tension is the only way Polonius could be killed. Something needed to fuel Hamlets rage about his mothers sins towards his real father and the dramatic tension was the key. What better place to have this scene, but to wait until night in Gertrudes bedroom? That is mainly the preoccupied though of Hamlet the whole play so far; Gertrudes sins in the bed with Claudius, among her incestuous sheets. The audience would lose their interest if Shakespeare gave it away too early. I feel like it plays a part of a small turning point. As big of a domino it is, I feel like it knocks down its own row of dominoes. Meaning, it is important to this part in the play and both of the characters development. Without this scene we wouldnt know much about the relationship between Hamlet and his mother. We wouldnt know why he doesnt just kill her. We would miss a lot of key stuff. You cant cut it; then again you dont need to make it a big deal. You need to know what Hamlet wants of his mother, his mothers reaction to that want, why Polonius is killed, and what the Ghost wants of Hamlet. That is all you really need to focus one in this scene though. In the footnotes of my script, I found the definition of the word enseamd. Shakespeare might have been drawing from the hogs lard that his father used in his wool dyeing trade. It was a term used in the days of old as a term

Caleb Tracy - p.4 when talking about application of animal fat. It is therefore fitting for the trade. It means to cover with grease; to defile; to pollute. When you think of how Hamlet uses it in his line to describe the bed. Now that adds a whole new meaning to it. He was saying their bed is covered in animal fat when they make love, basically calling them animals. It is an awkward way to describe their lovemaking, but I guess if you dont like whats going on in there its a great way to describe the type of bed.

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