Kisla Rami AP Literature 13 March 2011 Hamlet the Madman Kenneth Branagh¶s reenactment of Hamlet and Kate Winslet¶s

reenactment of Ophelia from Act 3, Scene 1 of the Shakespearean play not only serve Shakespeare justice, but also give the audience the ability to further discover the meaning and significance of the particular scene to the overall play. As Hamlet (Branagh) struggles to make a decision about his future because of the multiple inner conflicts he is dealing with, Ophelia (Winslet) enters and automatically irritates Hamlet, ultimately causing the break-up. Hamlet¶s inner conflicts are depicted through the mood changes that Branagh accurately portrays when speaking with Ophelia. He kisses her, then drags her, then kisses her again, showing many different, confused parts to Hamlet¶s character in general. This video is the best interpretation of the text because the lines are delivered precisely, the emotions are portrayed appropriately and the significance is established through the effective acting. Before Hamlet flips out, he greets Ophelia with a passionate kiss which Ophelia seems reluctant to enjoy as she places her hand on Hamlet¶s chest in a ³whoa, take it easy´ manner. Ophelia¶s small gesture may represent the influence of her brother, Laertes, and her father, Polonius, along with their constant disapproval of Ophelia¶s and Hamlet¶s relationship. As Ophelia pulls back from the kiss, she looks at Hamlet with what appears to be a comprehensive, semi-sure look which represents her mistaken confidence of her next statement. These motions can be perceived as a way for the actors to show the exact portrayal of women in Shakespeare¶s play. Ophelia is the type of woman/girl to go along with whatever she¶s told to do by her father, brother and even Hamlet himself. Although she may appear to be sure of her decisions and her

thoughts, this video goes to show that the situation is the complete opposite of that and that she is a very frail woman who is constantly subjugated and ordered around by the men who are prominent in the play. Hamlet¶s turning point occurs when Ophelia attempts to return his gift because she feels that ³rich gifts wax poor when givers prove unkind ³(Line 100). While Ophelia finishes her line, she averts her stare from Hamlet, and it seems as though she is trying to remember what to say to him as if she was told to say something specific. As Hamlet knocks the gift out of Ophelia¶s hands, he gives her an intense, borderline brutal, stare that the audience can feel as well as Ophelia. When Hamlet tells Ophelia ³I did love you once´ (Lines 113-114), his voice breaks, making the audience believe that he really did love her once like he states. Hamlet¶s immediate heated reaction to what Ophelia has to say to him represents the masculinity Shakespeare tries to incorporate in the play. While the women may be frail, the men are intent on revenge and anger that leads to their ultimate downfall. The idea of the men being above women is further established in the play when Hamlet rants and Ophelia looks as if she wants to scurry away. Ophelia doesn¶t dare stand up for herself as Hamlet is telling her to go to a ³nunn¶ry´ and calling her a ³breeder of sinners.´ She assumes him to be mad and appears afraid to respond to all of the insults. Hamlet¶s complex character is revealed even more when he begins to cry as he says ³farewell (Line 132)´ to Ophelia, then as Ophelia grabs his hands praying for the sweet heavens to help him, he begins to drag her across the floor, opening doors while doing so. Hamlet was trying to find Polonius and Claudius behind doors with mirrors on them, which is an ironic gesture because it¶s almost as if he is trying to find himself as well while searching for the other characters. After all, a mirror is a reflection of an individual¶s spirit and character. When Hamlet puts Ophelia¶s face against the mirror, it

seems as if he¶s trying to force her to take a look at herself before she begins to judge him and deem him a madman. This scene is also very significant because now it¶s evident that Hamlet is only putting on a show rather than actually being crazy. He wants everyone to think he is a lunatic so he can manipulate others and have power over them. The anger that Hamlet takes out on Ophelia may represent the oppressed anger he feels toward his mother, Gertrude, as well because he tells Ophelia that ³God hath given you one face, and you make yourselves another´ (Line 141-142). This statement can relate to the fact that Gertrude married her husband¶s brother, which happens to be his murderer also. Branagh and Winslet accurately depict Shakespeare¶s original characters and their intentions in this particular scene while also allowing the audience to draw conclusions about the reoccurring strands of patriarchal and matriarchal significance in society at the time.