Hamlet Comparison Essay

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Regan Coseni Mme Poliquin English – EAE 4U 11/11/11 Critical Review of Hamlet Films, Act 3: Zeffirelli vs. Branagh There are numerous different portrayals of William Shakespeare’s “Hamlet”, whether they are in the form of films, books or theatrical plays, they are all better than the other in different aspects and for specific reasons. In this critical review, we will make a comparison of Act 3 between Franco Zeffirelli’s film version of “Hamlet” starring Mel Gibson and Kennith Branagh’s film version of “Hamlet” starring Branagh, himself. First, as far as faithfulness to sequence and language in comparison to the original written version of Act 3, Branagh’s is pretty well identical in both senses. On the other hand, Zeffirelli’s version switches a few things up. To start with, in the original version as well as Branagh’s version of “Hamlet”, the “To be or not to be” soliloquy comes before Hamlets encounter with Ophelia, where as in Zeffirelli’s version of the play, Hamlet’s “To be or not to be” soliloquy comes after the scene where he speaks with Ophelia. Also, Zeffirelli’s version doesn’t completely follow the original script word for word. I personally feel that Zeffirelli’s version is better in both of these regards. As far as the scene sequences, I feel that Hamlet’s “To be or not to be” had become more relevant after his encounter with Ophelia because that encounter only added to his frustration and broken heart, which could have helped further explain his reasoning for considering whether life is worth living or not. In regard to the faithfulness of the original language in the script, I believe that it is better to differentiate a small bit as Zeffirelli did. This is because you have the added factor of film which makes it less appropriate and less necessary to follow the exact script because while you’re reading the book, all of the words are
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