Shakespeare’S Hamlet: The Film Adaptation Vs. The Play

December 9, 2020 by Essay Writer

The play was written based upon a fable from the 14th or 15th century but was represented using an 18th-century atmosphere with no problem at all. This flexibility with the time period is credited to the fact that Hamlet is timeless and universal as it expresses universal truths that are as valid for us today as they were for people four, five and even six centuries ago.

Gender Roles

A good example of how the film showcased gender roles is the treatment of Ophelia. In the play and in the film Ophelia had evidently been through so much pain and anguish. Men tried to dictate her every move. Her father and her brother told her to stay away from Hamlet even though she loved him dearly, and they didn’t even stop there. They extorted this poor fragile girl to try to find out more information about why Hamlet was going mad. In both play and film, Ophelia was treated as a tool for the men in her life to use freely with no repercussions.


Now a theme which is represented differently is madness, a character who best showcases the differences in the portrayal of madness in the play versus the film is again Ophelia. As stated previously, both in the play and film Ophelia’s existence very well might have been to serve the men in her life. But where the play and the film differ are the repercussions of this horrid abuse. In the film adaptation, after Hamlet killed Polonius Ophelia turned mad. Furthermore, she was also shown wearing a straight jacket, a jacket which controls mental patients. Now on the other hand in the play, Shakespeare does not directly show that Ophelia has gone mad. Depressed, yes but mad no. She said, “We must be patient. But I cannot choose but weep”. This predicament of Ophelia either being depressed or crazy, completely changes the reason behind her death. As a crazy person would not really think to kill themselves it would be more of the person that hates their life who is more prone to take their own life.

In conclusion, my Final Verdict regarding the film adaptation vs the play is one of great astonishment and satisfaction. Not to mention, it took me an eternity to find differences between the film and the play as the film was an incredibly complete and a well-done adaptation of the original Shakespearean text. In short, The completeness of this film adaptation is just exquisite. At four hours and two minutes, Branagh leaves nothing left to be desired.

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