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A Comparison of Two Film Adaptations of Hamlet Essay

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"I was raped," the girl said to me overtaken with tears. I was taken by surprise and was at a complete loss for words. She had just taken one of the darkest secrets of her life and brought it out to the splendid light for just me to gaze upon. A little apprehensive, I responded, "I'm sorry." What is one to say at the revelation of such a horrid thing? Anything else I thought of saying sounded stupid and insensitive, so I opted for silence and hugged her to comfort her to the best of my ability. A few months later the girl came to me and thanked me. She said that my gesture meant more to her than anything anyone else had said about the rape. I then realized that sometimes, if not most of the time, actions can speak louder than words. The parts of us that are less vocal, such as our clothing, gestures, facial expressions, etc. can be more impacting than words.

Shakespeare's Hamlet has been adopted to the screen many times, each with its own interpretation of the dialogue. The directors Kenneth Branagh and Michael Almereyda both bring the words of Shakespeare to life with vivid and original settings, costumes, and personalities. Of course they both attempt to convey different moods and tones. Branagh's on-screen version is very traditional as it is set in the 1800's and every word of Shakespeare's is included verbatim. On the other hand, Almereyda presents the world a completely modern version of the famous play complete with cell phones, laptops, guns, and your mundane company take-over!

Both use the words of Shakespeare but are strikingly distinct due to rendition of the words and the environment which provides a different feel.

The setting of Kenneth Branagh's Hamlet is winter and all is blue and carries a feel of eer...


... middle of paper ...


...ative sense the movie carries about.

As these movies show, the behavior, tone of voice, and clothing are really what gives presence to a film and not necessarily just the words. The words of Shakespeare, while very poetic and beautiful, are dead without the emotion of an actor. The acting of the characters in Hamlet is what gave animation to the cinematic versions of Hamlet and that clearly shows that actions can be much stronger than just mere words.

Works Cited

Ebert, Roger. Review of Branagh's Hamlet. Writing and Reading Across the Curriculum, Eight Edition. Eds. Laurence Behrens, Leanard F. Rosen. Boston: Longman. 787-790

Marshall, Alexandra. Review of Almereyda's Hamlet: The Prince is Dead, Long Live the Prince. Writing and Reading Across the Curriculum, Eight Edition. Eds. Laurence Behrens, Leanard F. Rosen. Boston: Longman. 829-832


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