Comparing Frances Zefferilli’s Hamlet and Shakespeare’s Hamlet

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Comparing Frances Zefferilli’s Hamlet and Shakespeare’s Hamlet

I believe Frances Zefferilli’s version of Shakespeare’s Hamlet, made in 1990, is one of the best versions of the play to be put onto screen. The film, starring Mel Gibson as Hamlet, and Glen Close as Queen Gertrude, takes a different look to the play. Zefferilli explores the physiological stability of Hamlet very well, especially in Act 3, Scene 4. My interpretation of that scene in the text was different to the one given in the movie.

After reading the scene, I had the notion that Hamlet was already quite confused - he had just come out of a scene where he could have killed the king, but his blunted purpose gets in the way. The killing of Polonius in the text gave me
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He just continues on. He isn’t put off because he had such high hopes that it would be the king, so instead of being sad about the murder of his trusted councillor, he is merely disappointed that it had to be Polonius calling for help instead of the king.

This part of the scene is presented a bit differently in the movie. When Hamlet enters, you can really tell that he has gone mad. He is sad one minute, the next minute he’ll give out an almighty roar. Zefferilli has used the scenes surrounding this one to make it seem important. In some of the versions they didn’t have the near death of Claudious the scene before. I think having this scene beforehand sets you up for Hamlet’s confrontation with his mother.

You can really tell that both Hamlet and Gertrude are affected by Hamlet’s insanity. Both of them appear to cry for most of the scene. The whole scene is a sharing of emotions. The kiss is a connection between them both, rather than a lust they both have for any sexual contact. They needed to connect physically in some way, after all they are mother and son.

When the ghost of Hamlet’s father enters, Hamlet is eager to find out what he has to say. The ghost suggests that Hamlet talks to his mother but Gertrude still believes that he has lost his sanity, “Alas, how is’t with you?”. In the movie the ghost appears to be a real person, not a see through character like the other movies depict. This is done to cause the allusion that Hamlet’s father is still

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