Hamlet David Tennant Visual Analysis

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“To be or not to be… that is the question”. More people know this line than have actually read Shakespeare. It resonates with us, whether we are broody teenagers lounging in our rooms hating our parents, or middle aged women wondering whether our lives are really over…already. My favorite assignment in this class so far has been watching the Hamlet soliloquys. The variation of tone and flavor that an actor can put on these overly famous words is breathtaking. My favorite by far, was the performance by David Tennant. Tennant’s soliloquy begins with his profile in shadow moving up to lean against a wall. The vision is stark, his face is gaunt, the only colors black and cream. He looks tired and haunted. As Tennant stops and leans,…show more content…
The clip starts off with Hamlet looking at himself in the mirror. His coat is open and he looks a little bit disheveled. Like with Tennant, the colors are cream and black with a checkerboard black and white floor reflected in the mirror that almost looks like it is leading us inside it. Branagh is resolute and firm in the way he speaks. He starts off his speech with the tone of debating the self that is in the mirror. The audience cannot feel the tragic soulful overtones felt in Tennant’s performance. When Branagh says “to die…to sleep” you do not get the feeling that he is longing for death with emotion but more that he is discussing the pros and cons in a logical way. As the intensity of emotion builds, the camera moves up and in tighter on the form of Hamlet in the mirror. It seems symbolic of him looking deeply inside himself. Towards the end of speaking, Hamlet pulls a knife, and holds it against his reflection in the mirror. His gaze at this point is firmly fixed on his own reflected eyes. He is firm. He is conflicted, but he is not distraught. As Ophelia distracts him, Branagh assumes a cordial face and completely moves away from the mirror, his moment of reflection…show more content…
Of the three this Hamlet is the most dressed correctly for the original time period. The interpretations of his surroundings are not as clean and arty as the other two. He looks like he is in an old style stone room with very little furnishings or lighting to distract the audience from his speaking. When Hamlet walks in he is clutching himself with his arms and seems antsy and distracted. Towards the end of his speech he pulls out his sword as he is sitting in the chair and plays with it. First aiming it towards his own jugular and then waving it about towards the audience in a haphazard way. All of these details give the impression both that he is younger than the other Hamlets and that he is

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