violence played on ophelia in branagh´s hamletgreenspun.com : LUSENET : Kenneth Branagh's Hamlet : One Thread
I just have a problem!! I have watched the 4-hour film of Branagh´s Hamlet, and ive come to realize that the character of Ophelia is being constantly related to violence. Though i have understood most of the film and the intention of Branagh, i have a serious doubt:does anybody know why in the nunnery scene she is smashed up into the mirror??? this is something i cannot understand!!!
-- beatriz carton feliz (firstname.lastname@example.org), March 20, 2002
As I've said elsewhere in this forum, I myself have serious problems reconciling this sort of violence with Hamlet's character at all, and don't see it either suggested or warranted by the text of the play. No director ever has Hamlet beat up Rosencrantz and Guildenstern after the play in III.ii, later in the day, when he's even more het up than in III.i. It's sometimes done with Ophelia because of a misguided view that Hamlet is a misogynist (because of this scene, and because of 'frailty, thy name is woman'). He isn't. There's nothing particularly insulting in calling women frail. It just means weak, and it was a widely accepted view in the time HAMLET was written. Shakespeare's women refer to it as well, though his plots often show that women are not as weak as was commonly thought. In III.i Hamlet simply loses his temper, and so would most people. But Hamlet argues with his 'brain', and with 'words', not with his fists. That he is not a naturally violent person is one of the reasons he doesn't just dive in and kill Claudius, Act I scene vi.
But I think when Branagh has Hamlet mash Ophelia against the mirror, it's nothing personal with Ophelia: Hamlet has worked out that her father and probably Claudius are behind that mirror, and is speaking to them, not to Ophelia. Ophelia has become merely a pawn; or perhaps more aptly, the meat caught in the sandwich.
Blame certainly lies with her father for putting her there - silly old Jepthah again. So perhaps Branagh's Hamlet is even confronting Polonius on the other side of the mirror face-on with what Polonius has done to his daughter.
Other than meanings, of course, all the mirror stuff makes bloody good cinematic theatre.
-- catherine england (email@example.com), March 21, 2002.
I dont have a answer but i do have a question who played Ophelia in the new version of Hamlet?
-- Christina Cannedy (firstname.lastname@example.org), November 15, 2002.
That would be Kate Winslet.
-- Casey (email@example.com), November 15, 2002.
I have some thoughts to offer on the subject: First of all, "frailty,'' in this context does not mean simply "weak," it means promiscuous; Gertrude is too "weak," to say "no," to pleasure. Hamlet is as much a misogynist as he is a misanthrope: "man delights not me - nor woman neither." A lot of the rage is self-directed as well: "I could accuse me of such things...." "...We are arrant knaves ALL." Another thing: as for textual fidelity, nowhere in shakespeare's text does it say that hamlet knows Polonius and the king are hiding behind the arras (nor is it indicated in stage directions). this plays well theatrically but doesn't jive with the dialogue. It's simply a theatrical convention. In fact, see Harold Jenkins' (Arden publisher) on this subject. For what it's worth, I didn't think Branagh's H was particularly violent, towards O or G. To me, whether he is "violent," is neither here nor there; the kind of psychological/supernatural stress he's under could certainly provoke all sorts of unpredictable behavior, violence being an option. --Kay Battari-Dane --
-- Kay Battari-Dane (firstname.lastname@example.org), July 08, 2003.
I think the point is that Hamlet is disgusted by humanity and its doings in general, rather than by women, and men, or particular people. I believe that overall throughout the play, and especially in III.iv, Hamlet shows he is not a misogynist. Yes, frail means morally weak as well as physically, but that's a standard ideological understanding of the time, not misogyny on Hamlet's part. Women said such things of themselves as well.
Directions in the text really don't indicate very much at all. Actions and directions are usually implied in the dialogue. I believe that Hamlet realizing Polonius is listening is implied by the dialogue, but it's a matter of how you read it. I've seen Jenkins, on this and many other things. (He sees the section as Hamlet's psychology at work, always associating Ophelia with her father.) On this, I disagree with him.
-- catherine england (email@example.com), July 08, 2003.
the violence played on ophelia in branaghas hamlet has little to do with direction and more to do with a realistic representation of the treatment of women around the time of the play. Hamlet forces ophelia to look within herself when he throws her agains the mirror, and through this shakespear is oushing hamlet to enable ophelia to look within herself and stop following the orders of her father and brother. she is offered a voice in her madness and her animal treatment from hamlet.
-- Fay Jerrari (firstname.lastname@example.org), February 09, 2005.
It is not a realistic representation of the treatment of women around the time of the play, and certainly not in the Victorian era in Europe, where Branagh sets his version. Violence towards women was not a matter of course, and appalled and disgusted people in the past, as it does in the present. Only, in some periods and places it was permitted to a certain degree as punishment, in the same way that physical chastisement of children was permitted.
-- catherine england (email@example.com), February 09, 2005.
The most distressing thing is how having Hamlet slap Ophelia around has become almost standard practice these days, stretching back to Roger Rees slapping Francis Barber's face at the RSC in 1984 to Toby Stephens doing much the same only more so at the RSC last year, to a 2003 internationally produced touring production in which he raped her (yes, seriously). Worse and worse, this action seems to be presented as something that is supposed to make us, the audience, empathise with Hamlet more, rather than less, and find him manly.
Worst of all (to a textual pedant like me) such behaviour runs directly counter to the text of the scene, in which Hamlet tells Ophelia eight times to go away (go to, farewell, etc., and this is not counting 'get thee to a nunnery'), which implies that she is moving towards him, and he is seeking to remove himself, rather than grabbing at her.
-- anna kamaralli (firstname.lastname@example.org), February 10, 2005.
Yes. It seems that he keeps starting to leave, and only stopping to add something more that has occurred to him.
Moreover, after she lies about her father being 'at home', Hamlet mouths off against women generally. But until she lies about Polonius, in what he is saying he is praising her and running himself down; and this is what he feels is personal to and between them.
-- catherine england (email@example.com), February 10, 2005.