In Alexander Fodor’s rendition of Hamlet’s soliloquy, feelings of the modern world are brought up through the use of technology and young characters. Though Hamlet was written long ago, the video brings out a modern feel which can attract the young mind. Unlike the other two videos, it uses technology that was not available in Hamlet’s setting. Also, the characters used are young unlike the characters used in the other two videos which are older looking. The video begins with the camera focusing on a voice recorder in a room which has bright lighting. Obviously this is something not available during Hamlet’s day. Before Hamlet’s Soliloquy begins, many things occur in which give the audience something to think about before the speech begins. After the camera angle moves away from the voice recorder, we see the main character, Hamlet, who will soon begin his soliloquy. After viewing the main character, the scene changes to where he is with a woman. The woman exists the scene and he bends over to kiss what seems to be a dead man. The camera changes back to the face of the main character but now the lights have gotten brighter than before. After, the camera moves back to show the main character and the voice recorder. He turns on the voice recorder and his soliloquy begins. As the soliloquy begins with “To be, or not to be, that is the question”(55), the main character has a staring gaze. Deep in thought, he continues. “Or to take arms against a sea of troubles, And by opposing, end them. To die, to sleep-No more”(58-60) The faces of three teenagers are shown, including his own. They stand in a bright white room. They’re facing glowing green, also with a staring gaze on their faces. Alexander Fodor uses these lines with the scene of the three teenagers in order to show their innocence. They do not know of what troubles are being spoken of or when they will die. Two of the teenagers are girls. They seem to be staring at the speaker while the other teenager who is with them, who is the same person as the speaker, is looking down. He is looking away from death. The bright lights attract the girls. The camera quickly switches to the speaker, then to a scene where what seems to be a dead man lays. A woman kisses him on the head and the speaker continues. “To die, to sleep-To sleep, perchance to dream”(63-64). The scene with the dead man shows that true sleep may be death where all pain is erased. Dreams come at a risk that the person may not come back to reality. The speaker then skips lines 65 to 68 and continues with line 69. “For who would bear the whips and scorns of time, Th’ oppressor’s wrong, the proud man’s contumely”(69-70) The scene switches back and fourth from these two scenes a few times, from the speaker to kissing the dead man. This is done in order to show what pain may cause. The dead man, no longer feels pain, while the speaker is left in the world and feels so much pain that he wishes he was not alive. He continues the speech, now the camera focusing on him. The camera gets closer and closer to his face and his eye. Half his face is visible when he says “Thus conscience does make cowards [of us all]”(82). This statement shows how being alive is the cause of pain for everyone including himself. From all three videos, Alexander Fodor’s video is the best interpretation of the lines from Hamlet’s soliloquy. The use of images of a dead man, light, and teenagers shows the audience what the speaker is saying. The light symbolizes life, the dead man symbolizes death, and the teenagers symbolize the people who are suffering through life. These images connect better with the newer audience for it uses more modern ideas for its image than the other videos.
In one of Hamlet’s famous soliloquy played by Alexander Fodor, different elements are added in order to interpret this speech such as technology, death, music, and light. This is quite different from the other videos because this has a more tragic feel to the speech and with the added elements, it makes a perfect interpretation. Although there are different versions of this particular soliloquy, this rendition has a different feel because of the bright colors along with the music included, something the other two are either missing. Not only that, but the other videos are also missing out on specific people. Even though this is a soliloquy where the actor talks only to himself or let the audience knows his thoughts, this version of Hamlet’s soliloquy shows what his specific thoughts are. When the video begins, a voice recorder is first shown in a room that is bright. First, the voice recorder is used to make an allusion that the speaker, Hamlet is shown talking to himself, the thought of talking through a voice recorder then listening to it may allow one to speak to oneself in that sort of way. Then the brightness of the room may be symbolizing that this is his inner thoughts, it symbolizes Hamlet’s bright mind. Before the speech even begins, Hamlet is shown waiting in order to kiss a man who is either dead or just lying down. After the kiss, the camera focuses on Hamlet, at first his face is shown with an unusual bright surrounding then he is shown sitting, preparing the voice recorder. This unusual brightness surrounding only the head may symbolize that Hamlet is in deep thinking before he makes his speech. After he prepares the voice recorder, he picks up the microphone and begins the speech, but no sound of the words are coming out when he is actually talking. In fact, the viewers have to wait for the voice recorder in order to listen to the speech instead. The soliloquy begins, “To be, or not to be, that is the question” (55), this line seems to be the main focus throughout the speech, and in this version of the soliloquy it interprets it the best. Hamlet is saying “to be or not to be,” when he is actually talking to himself. Like the voice recorder, Hamlet is talking but is he really talking, indicating that the voice recorder is talking for him revealing that he is “not to be.” The speech continues with “Whether ‘tis nobler in the mind to suffer/ The slings of arrows of outrageous fortune, / Or to take arms against a sea of troubles, / And, by opposing, end them?” (56-58), as these words come out the voice recorder, the camera flashes the speaker and two other females. These two females may be representing Fortune and Queen Gertrude, alluding that they are in his minds and thoughts as well as in this soliloquy. Fortune is referenced here because, Fortune may be giving the man the kiss of death since it is that misfortune that lead to King Hamlet’s death. Then it goes on, “To die, to sleep--/ No more, and by a sleep to say we end” (58-59), when Hamlet begins saying these lines, the camera begins focusing on the man that appears to be dead. This is interesting because the man may be or may not be dead, he may also be sleeping as Hamlet indicates, that death and sleep are similar where one is at rest in both terms. Hamlet then begins repentance by saying, “To die, to sleep --/ To sleep, perchance to dream – ay, there’s the rub/ For in that sleep of death what dreams may come” (63-66), although now he adds dream. While finishing this line the camera focuses on the man who appears dead again, with the females bending over to kiss him. This interprets literally, that sleep and death are similar but are there dreams during or after death? The camera focuses on the speaker’s half of the face during the rest of the speech, though as he speaks it zooms into the eye. Finally at the last seven seconds of the speech, the camera focuses back onto the dead man, this time there are different people in different clothing. The men then switches place from the old man to Hamlet, Alexander Fodor lying down. This may foreshadow Hamlet’s death in the book.
The Hamlet soliloquy found in Act 3:1 discusses dreams, fortune and deciding where the truth is found. The video which best connects with these three main ideas is the second video acted by Alexander Fodor. This video had a slightly modern twist and seemed to reveal a lot about Hamlet’s character without showing a lot. This video suggests these three main ideas, through the off beat or rather out of sync delivery of the lines to give a dream like illusion, the two women and the reorder represent characters in the play and also fortune, and finally the eerie music and camera angles give the viewer the feeling of Hamlet’s madness and desperation. The first image which is shone in the very beginning of the film is a large recorder. The recorder has two wheels of recording tape and they are the first thing that Hamlet looks at. These wheels symbolize the wheel of fortune, which is a wheel that represents the stages or cycles of life and one’s destiny. Hamlet, at this point in the story has always cursed fortune, and these wheels suggest that his wheel of fortune is spinning and that his downfall is near. Hamlet than has what appears to be a flashback of his father’s funeral and he kisses his father. Hamlet’s face than has a white light shine on his face and he returns from his flashback. He than presses a button on the recorder and the wheels begin to turn. He begins to record his soliloquy, meanwhile there are violins sustaining one note in the background, which suggests a melancholy and eerie mood. This music also suggests that the wheel of fortune is never-ending and that one can not avoid their destiny. Hamlet speaks in into the recorder, “To be, or not to be, that is the question”. His lips are speaking these words but they are not audible. Once he begins to speak the second line the first line is actually heard. The out of sync delivery of his lines suggests that he is a dream-like state and that his thoughts are fragmented. He than says, “Whether ‘tis nobler in the mind to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune or take arms against a sea of troubles, and by opposing them end”. This quotation asks if it is more honorable to patiently endure the threats and pains of fortune or to go against fortune and than end the pains of fortune. When Hamlet states “fortune” the camera quickly shows two females dressed in black standing with Hamlet, in his flashback. These two women may be Ophelia and Queen Gertrude. Many times throughout the play fortune has been personified as a female and a strumpet, and the fact that the camera shows the females and Hamlet says “fortune” at the same time suggests that they play a major role in determining Hamlet’s destiny. These women represent comfort, nurture, lust and love. Hamlet needs them to live, but at the moment he is not on good terms with either of them.Hamlet continues to recite his speech and he says, “To die to sleep- no more, and by a sleep to say we end the heart-ache and the thousand natural shocks”. This line suggests that when one dies or “sleeps” they leave behind the pain they have felt during their time on earth. This is interesting because when one sleeps they usually dream and Hamlet has bad dreams, and sleeping seems to be something that he would desire. When he states these lines the video shows a dead man lying with a white sheet covering his body. This man seems to be King Hamlet and a young woman kisses the man on the lips and than Hamlet does the same. The video suggests that Hamlet often has dreams of his father’s death which frighten and disturb him. Hamlet than begins to list the horrible things people experience such as, “…the proud man’s contumely, the pangs of despis’d love, the law’s delay…” and so on. He asks “who would bear the whips and scorns of time” or who would endure such things when a man may, “he himself might his quietus make” or give up his life. As Hamlet recites these words the camera zooms in on him and the speed picks up until finally, he says “But the dread of something after death”. At his line the camera is directly zoomed in to Hamlet’s eye and for the first time in the video it appears that he is in sync with the words of the speech. Hamlet’s eye symbolizes truth and this line suggests people are afraid of what comes after death and that this fear, “makes us rather bear those ills we have”, or rather live with bad dreams and the pains of fortune. He than says that “conscience does make cowards of us all and thus native hue of resolution is sicklied o’er with the pale cast of thought”. This line suggests that people’s conscience, which is the part of a person that helps make decisions, makes people cowards, makes people have sad thoughts and not be their true selves. Right as Hamlet is saying this line, a person, who appears to be an older women bends over King Hamlet’s body and kisses him, and than King Hamlet turns into Hamlet and the young woman, Ophelia, kisses Hamlet. This part of the video suggests that Hamlet like his father will have a tragic down fall due to “fortune” or rather some female in his life. Hamlet leaves Ophelia because he is afraid he will follow in his father’s footsteps. This suggests that Ophelia has done or will possibly do something that will lead to Hamlet’s downfall. He than says, “Soft you now, the fair Ophelia. Nymph, in my orisons be all my sins remeb’red”. Hamlet calls Ophelia beautiful and asks that his sins are not forgotten. This is interesting because Hamlet is recording this on wheels of tape which represent fortune, which represent women or Ophelia, and therefore his sins will not be forgotten because she will be able to listen to them. Hamlet’s soliloquy through the perspective of this actor and director seems to be an eerie, maddening dream. Hamlet is recording his feelings on the tape recorder as the “wheels of fortune”, and as they speed up his downfall is closer. In this video Hamlet discusses how when one dies or sleeps they are free from awful dreams and Hamlet has many flashbacks to his father’s death. In the end, this video reveals that Hamlet will die like his father due to “fortune” or some female figure in his life.
In Act 3 Scene 1 of Shakespeare’s Hamlet, Hamlet’s soliloquy portrays Hamlet realizing there is no reason in staying alive, and that there is actually more burden in the process of living than the eternal dreamlike state that death presents to its beholder. Among the three videos, Alexander Fodor’s interpretation of Hamlet is the best played. Fodor portrays Hamlet’s soliloquy with a shocked expression that his wide-open still eyes show. Imagery of King Hamlet’s death, the color and brightness of the setting, and the still paralyzed looking face of Fodor all play part in Hamlet’s enlightenment inspire the true meaning behind Hamlet’s soliloquy. The film’s first setting with people shown is the setting of King Hamlet’s death and funeral. His body lays on a table all covered by a white blanket up to his chest. The setting consists of a serene still aqua blue light that overlay the actors while all settled on a white background. As Hamlet says “Or to take arms against a sea of troubles, And by opposing, end them,” (line 58) the scene changes from the face of Hamlet to the dull sky-blue colored faces of the attendees of King Hamlet’s funeral. The bright light of the background shines upon the cast as though in a dream. Hamlet contemplates that death is a state of an eternal dream that is rewarded after humans have gone through “this mortal coil” (line 66), or life’s burden. Life has many tragedies that people have to live through. For Hamlet, the loss of his father, the rejection of Hamlet’s love from Ophelia, and the seeming betrayal from all dear to him are his life’s cheerful hindrances. The cast at King Hamlet’s funeral show no lively emotion, as if they lived through life’s burdens of a “thousand natural shocks//That flesh is heir to ;”( line 61). Death, a dream, and the continuation of life are things that have no end. Life is a long recording of one’s own life. King Hamlet’s life was cut short at the moment of his death, similar to how a tape runs out of In fact, the first image actually seen in this film is a tape recorder. The circular shapes of the tape recorder remind the reader of the never ending cycle of death, and also the eternal dream offered by death, freeing the soul from the body and also freeing the person from “calamity of so long life” (line 82). To Hamlet, life is the process of suffering through the “whips and scorns of time” (line 69). He sees no beauty that life has to offer because all physical treasures disappear from possession at the time of death. Hamlet’s eyes are focused on and are highly noticed as he stares straight ahead as if mesmerized by his own enlightened idea of a meaningless life of suffering that leads to the eternal dream state from an ever so sweet demise. The camera focuses in on Hamlet’s eyes as he speaks about the “dread of something after death, //The undiscover’d country, from whose bourn//No traveler returns, puzzles the will,” (lines 77-79). Death is not a mystery to anyone, but what is after death is what no one can ever answer. The dark shiny depths of Hamlet’s circular eyes represent the infinite mystery of the afterlife. Hamlet’s face shows the emotion of shock. Many fear the mystery after death because the after life is an uncharted territory that “No traveler returns” (line 79) from. This fear “puzzles the will” (line 79) and makes many mortals afraid of death. The death of King Hamlet closely relates the idea that death is the link between an everlasting afterlife that is also an everlasting dreamland. Death is the solution and the resolution to the sufferings experienced through life. Though, when life ends for the dear dead King Hamlet, the new ‘recording’ of an eternal sleep known as death starts. The eyes of Hamlet represent the fears humanity has against death and its infinite unknowns. The circular shape of eyes and the tape on the tape recorder symbolize the never ending cycle that is death. Death is feared because it’s forever, something not understood by human.
Modern Intention Alexander Fodor’s portrayal of Shakespeare’s Hamlet gives the famous “To be or not to be” soliloquy not only a modern feel to the original rendition, but also a realistic feel to what Hamlet, as a young man, could have had going on in his mind. Through imagery, light and darkness, and an array of other characters, Fodor twists the original display of Hamlet’s soliloquy by using the mind’s flashbacks and a dialogue sped up by a modern recorder that Shakespeare could not given to his original passage in Act Three, Scene One. This creativity is offered first through the opening scene that displays a recorder, that in a glance, resembles two eyes. The scene then cuts to the actor to be Hamlet and focuses in on his own eyes. A flashback of Hamlet kissing a pale body that is most likely dead but also “by a sleep we say end” (60). As the recorder turns, however, Hamlet begins his speech in silence. Although when the scene cuts back from Hamlet to the recorder, the audio of Hamlet’s speech begins. The recorder, in this scene, is a motion of Hamlet’s mind and by his assumed “insanity” not on the same pace as his mind may be when he begins his soliloquy with “To be or not to be, that is the question:” (55). The light surrounding Hamlet and his mind’s deliverance of his philosophy on life “Whether ‘tis nobler in the mind to suffer/The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,/Or to take arms against a sea of troubles,/And by opposing, end them” (56-9) is a symbol of the truth that he also portrays throughout his soliloquy. By setting the scene in a light that is a “native hue of resolution” (83) his decision of “to be or not to be” coincides with the dark pallor of his shirt, “sicklied o’er with the pale cast of thought” (84). The other actors, one woman dressed in black and another in white, symbolize both death and life, the two concepts presented in the passage, “But that the dread of something after death,/The undiscover’d country, from whose bourn/No traveller returns, puzzles the will,/And makes us rather bear those ills we have,/Than fly to others that we know not of?” (77-81). The body laying in the bed casted by a white light of truth, is kissed by both the girl in white and black. This body, either “in that sleep of death” (65) or in a bed of “what dreams may come” (65) is “shuffled off this mortal coil” (66) and kissed by the concept of Hamlet’s truth, portrayed in Fodor’s flashback. The body is then cut to Hamlet’s body, who is kissed by the girl in white, “The heart-ache and the thousand shocks/That flesh is heir to;” (62-3). The “consummation” that his “flesh is heir to” as the girl kisses him is an example of “the pangs of despis’d love” (71) and as Hamlet flashes back to this, his head turns away from the camera in the manner that this kiss, an “enterprise of great pitch and moment/With this regard their currents turn awry” (85-6). Hamlet’s soliloquy is appropriately given to not only himself, but in Fodor’s rendition, a number of other actors, allowing the viewer to understand “For who would bear the whips and scorns of time” (69) because Hamlet is not necessarily addressing just himself, though he is speaking to only himself. His mind, represented by the running recorder, that is supposed to be mad, is only disconnected to the pace of the recording in the light cast because of “the dread of something after death” (77) for “conscience does make cowards [of us all]” (82). As this is presented, the camera focuses on Hamlet’s eye, a representation of manliness, which averts as his body loses “the name of action” (87). Without such cuts in the scenes and imagery of light and darkness, the viewer does not get a sense of the symbolism behind Shakespeare’s passage in Hamlet. The recorder is not only Hamlet’s mind, but Fodor’s representation of the soliloquy and Shakespeare’s work which is a reflection of Hamlet’s mind. As a viewer, the scene is more realistic and modern, though abstract the way that Shakespeare had probably always intended.
Video 2; Hamlet’s Soliloquy CritiqueI chose Video 2 as having the best portrayal of Hamlet’s soliloquy. A big reason as to why I chose this video was how the lines were performed/delivered and the things the actor did in general. Through out most of the soliloquy Alexander Fodor had a slow, even paced flow when reading the lines, which is important for any actor, but especially is this soliloquy because a lot of the things Hamlet is saying are very thoughtful and deep. Accordingly, the actor quickened, or slowed, his pace slightly where it was appropriate effective, this shows that the actor was very practiced in performing the soliloquy but also really understood and was familiar with the text. For example when he read the lines 59-60; “To die, to sleep – no more, and by a sleep to say we end,” he slowed his pace, which is very fitting when you look at what he’s saying. Then at lines 69-73; “For who would bear the whips and scorns of time, Th’ oppressor’s wrong, the proud man’s contumely, the pangs of despis’d love, the law’s delay, the insolence of office, and the spurns That patient merit of th’ unworthy takes,” he slowed his pace. This choice was fitting because it would be appropriate to think that Hamlet would be slightly more passionate or enraged during these lines, because he’s listing off short comings in life that people shouldn’t have to take, and when people are more upset or angry, they tend to talk faster. Another little thing about Alexander that I noticed was his ascent. The actor seemed to have an English ascent of some sort and it was very fitting for the part of Hamlet, for obvious reasons. The actor’s eyes through out his performance were also a large part of why I chose this video. He did not do much moving when performing the lines, nor would it really fit the soliloquy if he were to do so. So the actor pretty much had to rely on his facial expressions to help him convey the lines. One of the ways he did this was through the use of eyes. They were cold, distant, pensive, even seemingly terrified at some parts, all of these are emotions I would expect Hamlet to be feeling as he gives this speech. It was very effective to his performance and really made his performance my favorite. This performance seemed to be set in a morgue of some sort and the actor was speaking into a tape recorder or something. These two things combined added a modern day, even a somewhat cold, futuristic vibe to the soliloquy, and that’s also a big reason why I picked it. We’re all familiar with the classic, yet all too typical way of this soliloquy being read; a guy in the old English tight black pants, puffy white shirt, and a skull. But this video took it into a new and interesting direction and I always find it interesting when people add their own to a classic piece such as this.
In Alexander Fodor’s interpretation of Hamlet's Soliloquy in Act 3 Scene 1 Hamlet is a young unsatisfied appearing character. Although the other two videos by Laurence Olivier and Kenneth Branagh both did portray Hamlet’s character well, Alexander Fodor did exceptional. Depending on the audience’s own perception of Hamlet will influence the emotion and connection that is made throughout the three videos. Alexander creates an image of the modern day atmosphere. Having a tape recorder, bright lights and modern day clothing creates an easier concept for a younger audience to grasp. Which also will hold the attention of a younger quick-minded audience. In Hamlets soliloquy “To be, or not to be, that is the question”(line 55) a dark and macabre tone is set through Shakespeare’s dialogue and his depiction of Hamlets loss of sanity. The actor portrays a mad Hamlet well with a blank stare into the camera, which gives the effect of a crazed character. Alexander Fodor uses a somber and dissonant musical track, which instills anxiety into the audience. “To die, to sleep-No more”(line 60) in Hamlets soliloquy the concept of death is being implied. When the actor is speaking to the camera he is reciting lines about death and the “undiscovered country” which insinuates an after life. When the actor is shown reciting these lines the scene was brightly lit and softly shot resembling a “heaven”. In contrast the overlapping scenes with the dead body were much darker and sharper showing the reality of death with the body. Even though the dialogue is resolved in Shakespeare’s play, at the end of the actors sentences the words linger in an unresolved question which continues to leave the topic of death in a mysterious manner.
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