How Hamlet’s Behavior in Theater Differed

William Shakespeare;s theater differed from ours in several respects, but most notably in the fact that women;s parts were played by males, often younger boys.Shakespeare at times uses this fact to make additional double entendre;s in his comedies, while the convention that men play women has to be accepted and accommodated in a different way in the tragedies.In Hamlet, the two important female parts are Gertrude, Hamlet;s mother, and Ophelia, the girl everyone assumes is his love interest, though he treats her as if she were not much of the time.The way Laurence Olivier treated these two characters in his 1949 film of Hamlet is in keeping with much critical opinion on the play and the characters.
Olivier creates an image of Denmark as a forbidding place pounded by nature and in turmoil because of the death of a king.This is not to say that this film is merely conventional in its approach, for instead, Olivier’s version is highly inventive and daring.It makes use of both stage and film conventions at one and the same time.The fabricated sets make the film an interior experience like the set on a stage, and what exteriors there are have been shot on a soundstage where every element is controlled.This means the image that is presented is the image desired, with no necessary bow to reality.The sky is always dark and foreboding.Day or night is dark and gloomy.Hamlet wanders from one stage set to another, taking the audience with him as the camera moves through short hallways that seem painted rather than real.
Olivier plays Hamlet himself as a volatile figure, internalized at one moment, leaping from a parapet onto a lower stage in another.Olivier treats the soliloquies as the internalized mental processes of the character they seem to be by having them spoken in voice-over while Hamlet’s face and body language mirror his thoughts.Olivier uses the conventions of filmmaking in the way he pre…


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