William Shakespeare 's Hamlet And Franco Zeffireli 's Film Version Of The Story

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William Shakespeare’s Hamlet and Franco Zeffireli’s film version of the story are different in many ways, but the basic characters and basic plot remain the same. Franco Zeffirelli’s screenplay is an edited, re-vamped version of the original tragedy in which lines are cut and scenes are modified. Additionally, Zeffirelli modifies Shakespeare’s ghost scenes and uses narrative and film techniques to both create an overall suspenseful atmosphere and generate empathetic feelings towards Hamlet. The various changes made by Zeffirelli are interesting, and attempting to analyze the decisions made by the film director allowed for not only a deeper understanding of the film, but of the story Hamlet in general. In Act One of the play…show more content…
In act one, scene one, line 28, the guards state that they have seen something frightening: “What, has this thing appeared again tonight?” (1.1.28). It is here that the audience is able to witness the ghosts, particularly when one guard says, “Look where it comes again” (1.1.49). The ghosts now appear on stage. Horatio, a man of logic and reason, is also scared and admits that, “It harrows me with fear and wonder,” thereby allowing the audience to learn that the former king, father of Hamlet, is dead. There is a ghost clothed in his armor strolling the castle’s battlements all through the night. The barricades in the ghost scene of the film are foggy, filled with moonlight, and dark. The setting gives the scene an even eerier feel, giving the viewer the idea that what is about to take place could be frightening, suspenseful, or spooky in some way. The icy clouds of breath hovering throughout the shot chill the viewer. The sky is empty, creating an isolated feeling. It is obvious that this scene takes place at night, when the ghosts are able to freely roam; however, the background lighting indicates that day is approaching, and that the ghost will soon have to return to wherever it stays during the day. In the film, the ghosts do not appear as soon as they do in the play. Instead, Zeffirelli rearranges the order of some of the scenes. Occasionally, he even adds scenes that were not present in Shakespeare’s play. The first scene of the film is the king’s funeral – a
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