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Michael Almereyda’s Hamlet Essay

 

 

This scene draws attention to the theme of innocence and corruption while showing a man at odds with his identity. The scene cuts directly to Hamlets ‘o that this too too solid flesh would melt’29 soliloquy, and shows him in his hotel room viewing corresponding images of his Father, Mother and Ophelia. According to Amereyda, Hamlets first soliloquy is restricted to his hotel room due to time restrictions when filming, but it remains identical to the play text. It shows him surrounded by modern technology, a close up of his eyes shows the intensity with which he views the images.

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According to Katherine Rowe this is an editing technique called a shot/response it is used to establish ‘the fiction of an intimate exchange’30, further drawing attention to the plight of the individual as opposed to the plight of a country/corporation. By using this technique, Almereyda is able to convey many images at once allowing the audience to view the scene as Hamlet does and more importantly identify with his feelings, conveyed in the soliloquy. He speaks quietly during this scene, but there is questioning disbelief in his tone.

In the middle, the scene cuts to Ophelia waiting by the fountain and again back to Hamlets intense gaze on the screen further emphasising his deep thoughts and concentration and highlighting the theme of love and death that runs throughout the play. Almereyda succeeds in creating a Hamlet for the modern world firstly in identifying the kind of Hamlet he wanted to portray, he shows him as an anguished young student abandoned by his father, in death and by his mother, in marriage, a man at odds with a material world devoid of emotion.

He chooses a young actor for the part of Hamlet and locates the play the centre of a multimedia corporation in New York placing all the characters in the immediate present. He juxtaposes these ultra modern images with Shakespeare’s original dialogue this not only allows the film to reach a wider audience but also remains true to Almereydas original vision of ‘balancing respect for the play with respect for contemporary reality’31. The scenes I have focused on in particular show a man overwhelmed in a world ruled by money and power, a man who fights to repress his inner feelings, an image many people in the 21st century can identify with.

The authenticity of this film is questionable, not because the director located the play in a modern setting using modern dress but because of the scenes that were cut. That said Almereyda never set out to emulate previous adaptations he wanted to realise his own vision of a Hamlet in the modern world and ultimately described the result as ‘an attempt at Shakespeare’32. As Jorgen’s states in his essay, ‘the true test is not he whether the filmmaker has respected his model, but whether he has respected his own vision’.

33 This film appeals to an audience both familiar and unfamiliar with the work of Shakespeare. Those who have read the play will identify with the interlocking themes made explicit by his use of the camera images. Almereyas portrayal of the individual characters and his modern interpretation of how each deals with life in a modern world, ensure that those unfamiliar with Shakespeare will identify with at least one of the characters and appreciate it as a modern film incorporating an Elizabethan dialogue.

Bibliography Almereyda, Michael. ‘Shakespeare’s Hamlet’ (London: Faber and Faber, 2000).Brooke, Nicholas. ‘Shakespeare’s Early Tragedies’ (London: Methuen and co, 1968). Jorgen’s, Jack J. ‘Realising Shakespeare on film’ in ‘Shakespeare on film’ ed by Robert Shaughnessy (London: Macmillan press 1998). Shakespeare, William ‘Hamlet’ ed by G. R. Hibbard (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1987). Rowe, Katherine ‘Remember me’, in ‘Shakespeare the movie’ ed by Richard Burt and Lynda E. Boose (London: Routledge 2003). 1 Michael Almereyda, Shakespeare’s Hamlet,(London: Faber and Faber, 2000)pviii 2 William Shakespeare, Hamlet, ed by G. R. Hibbard (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1987)p143

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3 Nicholas Brooke, Shakespeare’s Early Tragedies,(London: Methuen and co,1968)p171 4 Nicholas Brooke, Shakespeare’s Early Tragedies,(London: Methuen and co,1968)p171 5 Nicholas Brooke, Shakespeare’s Early Tragedies,(London: Methuen and co,1968)p171 6 Nicholas Brooke, Shakespeare’s Early Tragedies,(London: Methuen and co,1968)p171 7 Nicholas Brooke, Shakespeare’s Early Tragedies,(London: Methuen and co,1968)p171 8 William Shakespeare, Hamlet, ed by G. R. Hibbard (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1987)p218 9 William Shakespeare, Hamlet, ed by G. R.

Hibbard (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1987)p218 10 Michael Almereyda, Shakespeare’s Hamlet,(London: Faber and Faber, 2000)p135 11 Michael Almereyda, Shakespeare’s Hamlet,(London: Faber and Faber, 2000)p12 12 William Shakespeare, Hamlet, ed by G. R. Hibbard (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1987)p156 13 William Shakespeare, Hamlet, ed by G. R. Hibbard (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1987)p156 14 William Shakespeare, Hamlet, ed by G. R. Hibbard (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1987)p157 15 William Shakespeare, Hamlet, ed by G. R. Hibbard (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1987)p157

16 William Shakespeare, Hamlet, ed by G. R. Hibbard (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1987)p157 17 William Shakespeare, Hamlet, ed by G. R. Hibbard (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1987)p158 18 William Shakespeare, Hamlet, ed by G. R. Hibbard (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1987)p158 19 William Shakespeare, Hamlet, ed by G. R. Hibbard (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1987)p158 20 William Shakespeare, Hamlet, ed by G. R. Hibbard (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1987)p158 21 William Shakespeare, Hamlet, ed by G. R. Hibbard (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1987)p159

22 Michael Almereyda, Shakespeare’s Hamlet,(London: Faber and Faber, 2000)p14 23 William Shakespeare, Hamlet, ed by G. R. Hibbard (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1987)p160 24 William Shakespeare, Hamlet, ed by G. R. Hibbard (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1987)p160 25 William Shakespeare, Hamlet, ed by G. R. Hibbard (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1987)p160 26 William Shakespeare, Hamlet, ed by G. R. Hibbard (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1987)p161 27 William Shakespeare, Hamlet, ed by G. R. Hibbard (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1987)p162 28 William Shakespeare, Hamlet, ed by G.

R. Hibbard (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1987)p161 29 William Shakespeare, Hamlet, ed by G. R. Hibbard (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1987)p162 30 Katherine Rowe, ‘Remember me’, in Shakespeare the movie, ed by Richard Burt and Lynda E. Boose (London: Routledge 2003)p20 31 Michael Almereyda, Shakespeare’s Hamlet,(London: Faber and Faber, 2000)pix 32 Michael Almereyda, Shakespeare’s Hamlet,(London: Faber and Faber, 2000)pxii 33 Jack J Jorgen’s, ‘Realising Shakespeare on film’ in Shakespeare on film Ed by Robert Shaughnessy (London: Macmillan press 1998)p7.

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Michael Almereyda's Hamlet Essay
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    This scene draws attention to the theme of innocence and corruption while showing a man at odds with his identity. The scene cuts directly to Hamlets 'o that this too too solid flesh would melt'29 soliloquy, and shows him in his hotel room viewing corresponding images of his Father, Mother and Ophelia. According to Amereyda, Hamlets first soliloquy is restricted to his hotel room due to time restrictions when filming, but it remains identical to the play text. It shows him su
2021-07-13 02:50:55
Michael Almereyda's Hamlet Essay
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