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Published by: Alfonse Anthony Femino on Mar 13, 2011
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Alfonse Femino Gallagher 3-13-11

Romana and The Master

The BBC version of the break up between Hamlet and Ophelia illuminates the pain, agony, and other emotions present between two in a similar, yet more powerful way than that of the textual version. The directional use used in the video emphasized how horrible Hamlet felt throughout the entire scene, while at the same time showing his resentment, rage, and mental instability. In the delivery of Ophelia¶s lines, it was made clear her obvious regret and sorrow for what she had done. At the beginning of the scene, both Hamlet, although clearly in pain, remain somewhat calm and tamed, but as the scene progresses, emotions build and tempers flare, eventually ending with a completely outraged and insane Hamlet, and an emotionally empty Ophelia left to ponder what went wrong in their lives. The BBC version of this scene in Act. 3. Scene 1. Shows how Shakespeare has the ability to develop a characters emotion, from one feeling to the complete opposite, in just a matter of lines. In the first lines of the scene, Hamlet seems almost happy to see Ophelia, greeting her with such warmth. He says, in a sweet and melancholy voice, ³Soft you now, fair Ophelia«Be all my sins remembered,´ (Line 87-89) meaning he is embracing her beauty, and telling her never to forget him. Ophelia then asks Hamlet how he has been, his attitude instantaneously

shifts. All the while, the camera is behind Ophelia focusing on Hamlet, and this camera angle captures Hamlet¶s response, which was a thunderous laugh and a clapping of the hands, and extremely sarcastic gratitude to Ophelia for asking. The meaning behind the exaggerated laughter and cold sarcasm is used by BBC in the video for dramatic irony, because the viewer knows how Hamlet is really feeling towards Ophelia, but Ophelia does not. Continuing in the scene, Ophelia¶s emotions towards Hamlet begin to develop, however Hamlet does not take pity on her, showing the twist in character from the Hamlet that gave Ophelia such a warm welcome. Ophelia, in a shaking, desperate voice, informs Hamlet that she has possessions of his that she has wanted to give him back, signifying the end of their relationship. However, in an emotionless response, Hamlet says ³No, Not I. I never gave you aught.´ (Line 95-94) showing his refusal to even acknowledge his past with her. Horrified by Hamlet¶s care, Ophelia, once again in a pathetic and desperate tone, tells Hamlet that he certainly did give her gifts, along with beautifully written letters. About Half way through her speech, however, Ophelia¶s tone switches from desperation to accusation, and with a whimper, she claims that the gifts mean nothing now because the giver turned out to be so horrible. After Ophelia¶s heartfelt line, Hamlet once again has a change in his attitude. First, Hamlet mocks Ophelia, with the camera getting closer and circling to show just how emotional Hamlet becomes. He then switches to anger, as he snatches the cloth from Ophelia, and proceeds to ask her if she is honest and true. Ophelia confusedly states that her beauty is a direct link to her good-heartedness. Hamlet¶s views clearly vary, as what Ophelia says sends him into a rage, as he takes the cloth and uses it to lasso her neck, and bring her within mere inches of his face, where he says between clenched teeth that it is a women¶s beauty that can so easily lead her into a life of shame.

While still having Ophelia in a choke hold, Hamlet admits, in a low, dramatic whisper, that he did love her once. Ophelia responds that Hamlet once made her feel important, and loved, in the same whimpering voice. All the while, the camera is close up on both of their faces, giving a view of Hamlet¶s deep stare into the eyes of Ophelia, showing how he now feels passionate about what he is saying, not the same emotionless soul that he was just minutes prior. Hamlet once again begins to mock Ophelia, saying, blaming her of being a fool for falling for him. He says that in a tone that reeks of ³Oh well, too bad for you,´ showing that he does not have any regret. Satisfied with the obvious pain Hamlet has caused, he violently releases Ophelia from his grasp. Free of Hamlet¶s grip, Ophelia says that she was the one deceived, and with a nonchalant shrug of the shoulders, Hamlet delivers one of the most powerful lines of the entire play: ³Get thee to a nunn¶ry.´ (Line 120) Hamlet then looks backward, as if to see if he is being spied on, showing his obvious distrust for Ophelia, before unleashing on a rant. Hamlet¶s emotions rise and rise to the point where he is screaming, tell Ophelia that she is too horrid of a person to walk among those of the norm, and that she should go to a convent, where she is unable to breed anything like herself. All the while, Hamlet is scanning the room frantically, looking for a person that could be hiding away and spying, once again showing his distrust for Ophelia. As the scene continues, Hamlet¶s discontent for Ophelia continuously rises. He charges over to Ophelia, and grabs her face close to his, with the camera zooming in on their faces once again, letting the viewer know that Hamlet is about to drop another bomb on Ophelia. And that is exactly what he does, telling her to keep her father indoors, his stupidity confined to his own walls. He then switches his focus back on her, and with a stern, angry tone, tells her once again

to go to a convent, and if she does not, to marry a man of an equal low caliber, as she is not capable of being with a man above her wits, like Hamlet. Towards the end of this tirade, Hamlet seems as though he is seconds away from bursting into tears. He bids Ophelia a farewell, but after only making it to the door of the room, something within him draws him back to Ophelia, with even more emotion this time, showing that behind the sarcasm, anger, and bitterness, he does still have feelings. After he is finished, he once again attempts to store out of the room, but, he is again summoned by his emotions and unable is unable to flee, rather he runs over to her, this time with more emotion than ever before. He grasps her, and throws her to the ground, once again telling her to go to a nunn¶ry. Just as it seems like Hamlet has made his farewell, Ophelia bellows pathetic line of ³Heavenly Powers restore him!´ (Line 140) which, for a third time brings Hamlet back to her, with more angst and emotion than ever before. With Ophelia already sitting on the ground, Hamlet begins screaming and swiping at Ophelia, accusing her of being a two-faced woman, and of playing her wrong-doings down through ignorance. But suddenly, in the midst of his tirade, he stops, gets on his knees, calmly strokes her face, and hugs Ophelia passionately, and tells her of his theory on ending all future marriages. Finally, with one more ³Get thee to a nunn¶ry,´ (Line 147-148) Hamlet exits. Now reduced to tears, Ophelia is left to think back on how Hamlet was once such a noble, respectable person, and what has become of him. Through more tears, Ophelia thinks about how she is the women who received the brunt of Hamlet¶s horrible character, and feels sorry for herself that at one time she was with the obvious heir to the throne, and now she has been rejected by a man obviously out of his mind. Hamlet¶s old, torn looking clothing served as an indicator that he did not see the occasions with enough importance to even dress up for, while Ophelia was dressed in a ball-

gown, and had the appearance that effort was obviously put into. Also, The darkness of the background was a major factor throughout the scene, as it was symbolic of the dark feelings that was felt by Hamlet at times, and the ultimately the emptiness that Ophelia was left with in the end. Throughout the scene, BBC makes it clear of Shakespeare¶s incredible ability to develop a character in such a short time. He takes a cold, sarcastic Hamlet, and in a matter of a fraction of a scene, converts him into an emotional wreck, who cannot tare himself away from something that he thought he put behind him. This video perfectly depicted the text, as it showed how Hamlet, although clearly unstable, found the power to finally collect his thoughts enough to see Ophelia for what she really was, and leave her.

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