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Interpreting Soliloquies in William Shakespeare's Hamlet

             As a group, compare the interpretations of one of the key soliloquies in the play, "Hamlet," from the individual films you watched over Reading Week. How does the character of Hamlet interact with the viewer? What role does he ask the viewer to take on? How do the soliloquies work to help move the action of the plot forward? .
             Although each adaptation had variations in the portrayal of Hamlet's character in the soliloquy featured in Act Three, scene one, there were a few noted similarities between the films in the presentation of this soliloquy in particular. The most obvious commonality was the isolation of the actor in the shot and as well as in the physical setting of the scene. We found that this was representative of the character's troubled interiority as it appeared as though by talking directly to the audience, it was reflective of the character looking deeper into his own mind and questioning his own emotions. This was most prominent in Kenneth Branagh's adaptation (GB, 1996) with the use of the mirror to portray the characters interior struggle as it appeared as though he was looking into his own mind, the audience's confusion between which was the reflection and the actor himself further added to the personal struggle expressed in the soliloquy. .
             Even more so effective, however, was Gregory Doran's version (GB, 2009) where a fourth wall has been created: it began by Hamlet looking away from the camera to begin with but then quickly zooms in on his face making it much more uncomfortable for the viewer as the attention is all drawn to his face which is in great close up. It was effective in incorporating the viewer into the scene though as it shows Hamlet's inertia and inwards-looking nature and therefore widens the audiences understanding of the character himself. This was incorporated well with, and heightened by the dark, protruding, black background which can be reflective of the deep emotional void he's experiencing in his mind and created further tension from the audience and added a kind of madness to the already eccentric adaptation of Hamlet's character.

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