The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 10.1297 Thursday, 22 July 1999.
Date: Thursday, 22 Jul 1999 10:10:48 -0400 (EDT)
I saw the Mel Gibson version of Hamlet last night. I thought that the
director did a really good job in Act II, II. Seeing Hamlet's
conversation with Rosencrantz and Guildenstern set among so much squalor
really put the idea of Denmark as a prison into perspective for me.
In fact, seeing the squalor of Denmark in this production also gave me a
new perspective on III,iv, 103, where Hamlet calls Claudius a king of
'shreds and patches'. In the Kenneth Brannagh Hamlet, everyone was so
well dressed I missed the implications of this line but I think that
based on whether the squalor is real or only a product of Hamlet's
ambition which is to say mind, would significantly change the
interpretation of the play.
Also in III,iv of the Mel Gibson Hamlet, I got a lot out of seeing him
compare the miniature worn by Gertrude with that worn by himself. This
got me thinking that ln 55 seems to imply that Hamlet's miniature is a
frontal view; while ln 63 implies that Gertrude's miniature is a side
However, I think in III,iv the director could have done a better job
with blocking the movements of the ghost. In ln 131, Hamlet points the
ghost out to Gertrude saying do you see nothing there. Two lines latter
he asks do you hear nothing. This implies to me that the ghost has
changed position. It occurred to me that it would be interesting to me
for the director to have Hamlet point to a place where the ghost is not
to test if Gertrude can really see the ghost. In this case, Gertrude
may have been telling the truth when she said that she could not see the
ghost where Hamlet was pointing. The reason this thesis would be
interesting is that Polonius behind the curtain cannot see where Hamlet
is pointing, though he may by hearing have some sense of the position of
the ghost in the room.
Yours in the work,