Monday, August 23, 2010

I.v. Swearing Oaths - Fodor '07

In this version, Hamlet encounters the Ghost is a sort of waking dream. Horatio (the only one on guard duty with him) startles him out of it. He is confused and paranoid, as people sometimes are when awakened from an intense dream. The actor even fluffs his lines a little. It's important to remember that though she seems to accept the fact that the Ghost was communicating with Hamlet there, she didn't see it. So she really doesn't understand why he's so panicked, nor why he suddenly doesn't trust her to keep his secrets. In turn, this lack of understanding from his best friend makes him angry.

There is a nasty cut from "'faith heartily" to "this is wondrous strange", making it about his behavior rather than the Ghost. At which Hamlet lashes out. He snaps at her, using "YOUR philosophy" as an accusation. He's drawn a line in the sand and pushed her to the other side. Making Horatio a woman allows for a certain additional mirroring with Ophelia, which he also pushes away at the start of the next Act. What follows is an awkward moment. He visibly regrets what he's said, and she is hurt by the comment. There is definitely a certain degree of romantic tension between the two of them (which I won't claim ISN'T there when the characters are both male).
We then move on to the swearing, which he proposes as a sort of apology. He means to draw his friend back into his confidence, but gives his conditions, not just to show how important it is, but because he knows her. This is the first time I've gotten the sense that the description of "ambiguous giving out" refers specifically to Horatio (and Marcellus, if present). If Hamlet knows these men (and this woman, in this version) as well as it seems, wouldn't he use their own tics in that description? Horatio's characterization as a mistress of irony and sarcasm in this film could well come from these lines. Hamlet not only tells her not to cross her arms and shaking her head, he catches her doing it! The turns of phrase he forbids her may well be the ones she tends to use. This Horatio is so noncommittal, Hamlet must earnestly force her to commit.

At the end of the scene (which omits the rhyming couplet), the voice of the Ghost tells her to swear, she reacts, and we fade to black on that spooky moment. The ambiguity of the Ghost's reality is restored.

No comments: