I started this project right before work got crazy but I have still managed to dedicate a few hours each week to The Bard. Now, please remember this is NOT a review, simply a few notes I've taken during my reading experience. I have basically transcribed the notes in my journal to this post. And this is also just a first update of how my project has begun and a few impressions I have of Hamlet so far.
I have read the play about three times and I have seen two adaptations: The Royal Shakespeare Company's version with David Tennant (loved him) and Kenneth Branagh's EPIC movie adaptation and I feel I have only peeled the very first few layers of the play and understanding of the characters.
Hamlet is such an enigmatic character. Is he really mad or not? Why does it take him so long to act if he is most definitely looking for revenge? And if he is so obsessed with looking for proof and certainty in order to act, why does he acts so rashly and kills Polonius, for example? He is a walking contradiction and that is what fascinates us, the readers and the audience, so much.
Throughout the play we see him angry, sad, almost hopeless sometimes, mad, even cruel, but despite of all this, what left a deeper mark concerning my perspective of the character, is his absolute dissatisfaction. He conveys that dissatisfaction with his actions and his constant questions to himself. I think that dissatisfaction is important, in my humble opinion, because it makes me understand a little bit more about what drives him.
|David Tennant in Hamlet (2009 - Recorded for the BBC)|
Another character that is enigmatic, to me, is Gertrude. I keep asking myself if Gertrude was involved in the plot to murder her husband. It is not clear whether she is completely ignorant or as manipulative as Claudius himself. The fact that she marries him so fast suggests that she did know.
You know what part I love? The play within a play. All of it, how Hamlet uses it to get a reaction from the King, how he instructs the actors and talks about the craft of being an actor, the do's and don'ts, the meaning behind it all. "Suit the action to the word, the word to the action, with the special observance, that you o'erstep not the modesty of nature. For anything so overdone is from purpose of playing..." (Act III, Sc. II).
I have so many more layers to peel, plot-wise and language-wise and I love that. I'm finally getting some free time and I will continue working on my project. I will update you more frequently I hope, and please feel free to give me any suggestions, pointers or simply discuss with me your impressions, opinions, etc.