Soliloquies In Branagh's To Be Or Not To Be

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Hamlet’s “To be or Not to be” soliloquy, played by Kenneth Branagh, is threatening. Branagh’s character seems as though he is speaking to those behind the mirror, as he is addressing the mirror. His desire is for his speech to sound like a threat. To accomplish this tone, Branagh speaks in a slow, effective whisper and uses serious facial expressions throughout the scene. This casts an eerie presence over the audience and depicts Hamlet’s mental state. Questioning life through the quote “for who would bear the whips and scorns of time,” Hamlet is confused and considers death (3.1.71). This can be seen when Branagh pulls out a knife and points it at his reflection, considering death. This adds to the text’s meaning by physically showing what is going on in Hamlet’s mind. Although Branagh is older than Hamlet, his age resembles wisdom. He is aware of the unknown. For instance, Hamlet states, “To sleep, perchance to dream—ay, there’s the rub, for in that sleep of death what dreams may come” (3.1.66-67). Hamlet…show more content…
I like that he is shown descending the stairs into darkness; symbolizing Hamlet’s descent into madness, as well as darkness. Through his is questioning of life, one can see he is bereaved. Consequently, he goes to his father, or his tomb, to speak with him. In hopes he may find an answer, he looks up to the sky. I feel this is vital to the scene in order to display Hamlet’s desperateness. He is desperate enough to ask someone else to choose his fate. Furthermore, I appreciate the director’s choice of pauses throughout the soliloquy, which allows contemplation. For example, Hamlet says, “to die, to sleep- no more- and by a sleep to say we end the heartache and the thousand natural shocks that flesh is heir to” (3.1.61-64). Between “to die” and “to sleep” there is a noticeable pause, which allows the audience the question death themselves. Is death truly comparable to
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