Franco Zeffirelli's Hamlet

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The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark, often times shortened to Hamlet, is a tragedy written by William Shakespeare about 1599 and 1601, and published in 1603. Although the play was written and published about four centuries ago, it is still being read in the schools worldwide and there has been over fifty films based on the tragic play of Hamlet. As in all films, narration seems to be one of the most important aspects that make it clear for the director to communicate the message they were trying to connect to audience. It acts as a direct communication of the film’s theme and main idea. This comparative analysis shall aim to present a comparison of “to be or not to be” speech from the 1990 film Hamlet directed by Franco Zeffirelli and …show more content…

The 1996 play was the modernized version of Hamlet and this is clear through just the character of Hamlet with blonde hair, sharp mustache and goatee. In a contrasting manner, in this version of the film, the scene from “to be, or not to be speech” was shot in a huge empty room with mirror to make it seem even larger where in the 1990 version by Zeffirelli, there was a dark background in which Hamlet was the only focus. One of the key points of this scene was that the massive brightly lit ballroom was surrounded by double way mirrors as Hamlet seems to know that Claudius and Polonius are watching him from the other side. Branagh also used the mirrors to deliver the monologue in one continuous shot, some breaks only at the beginning before the speech to demonstrate that Claudius and Polonius are behind the double way mirror for the speech. Having the camera look over his shoulder and slowly zooming in on the reflection as he walks closer to the mirror and his hidden listeners. At one point he even draws a dagger and points it towards himself in the mirror. Or perhaps seen as foreshadowing he is in fact pointing the dagger at those who are standing behind it. One could also consider the mirror as an illusion to the disguise of death as Hamlet speaks of the travel, death, no one returns from, “But that the dread of something after death, The undiscover’d country from those who bourn no traveller

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