Portrayal of Hamlet in Shakespeare’s Play and Zaffirelli’s Film Essay

September 29, 2020 by Essay Writer

Shakespeare’s play represents Hamlet as the social outcast who should face internal and external conflicts to deal with his indecisiveness. At the same time, Hamlet is an attractive and ambitious character whose intelligence and pierced language make the audience believe in his tragedy. However, these endeavors are suppressed in the film directed by Zaffirelli because of different emphasis placed on Hamlet’s character traits and qualities.

The explicit difference relates specifically to Hamlet’s wit and contempt directed at his mother Gertrude, his uncle Claudius and his beloved Ophelia. Everything in his world is subjected to strong criticism. Gibson’s Hamlet pays much attention to overt disgust with the social order, as well as maniac obsession with his father’s murder investigation.

In Shakespeare’s version, “Hamlet’s limitations as well as his virtues make him one of…most complex characters” (Hamlet, Prince of Denmark 1585). His strong self-awareness is also explicitly depicted by Gibson’s hero, but this representation fails to introduce multiple facets of his perceptions.

Despite the fact that film Hamlet manages to retain his image as a tragic character, his extreme obsession with violence and personal ambitions prevent the audience from discovering the similarities between the two heroes. Apparently, Zaffirelli is more concerned with development of one-line plot and, therefore, the prioritized role has been given to Gibson’s Hamlet than to the development of peripheral plotlines. All these relationships are represented through the hero’s personal outlook on social organization, as well as on human relations.

Simplified plot lines and scenes depicted in the movie failed to amplify various facets of Hamlet. In fact, most of the episodes depend largely on the film stars, particularly in representing subservient roles. In fact, Gibson’s influence and power was extremely tangible and, as a result, his focus on personal self-presentation makes other characters less influential in the film. In particular, even the scenes when Hamlet is engaged in dialogues, his remarks are self-oriented, ignoring other characters surrounding him.

In the play, Shakespeare was also focused on representing Hamlet’s perspective, but the scene in which the hero involved seems to be less self-focused: “Nay, do not think I flatter, /For what advancement may I hope from thee/ That no revenue has but any good spirits” (Act III, Scene 2, lines 52-54). In the passage, use of first person is repeated, which justifies Hamlet’ personal concerns.

Hamlet’s maniac obsession with the revenge is successfully depicted by Gibson’s Hamlet because it is considered one of the main purposes he persecutes. Therefore, understanding this dimension in the movie will allow the audience to take a deeper look at the hero’s personality. In fact, Mel Gisbon’s power as an act does not provide a sufficient understanding of his ability to penetrate to Shakespeare’s world and reach the ideas in the play.

In conclusion, Hamlet’s representation in the movie differs significantly from that established in Shakespeare’s play. To begin Gibson’s character fails to unveil various facets of his traits and experiences because the focus is made on representing his obsession with revenge and hatred toward his mother and uncle. His attitude to Ophelia is not represented overtly. Unlike the movie, Shakespeare is represented as a complex, sophisticated character whose searching for the truth is not confined to uncovering the self. Gibson’s power of an actor has not contributed to the appropriate depiction of Danish Prince in the film.

Read more