Saturday, March 5, 2011

II.ii. The Fishmonger Scene - Classics Illustrated

The original
It is difficult to convey the comedy of the scene, and the original Classics Illustrated doesn't even try, though perhaps it was removed to avoid getting into the fishmonger/pimp metaphor. So in this version, Polonius and Claudius conspire to send Ophelia to meet Hamlet, and though the "To be or not to be" speech immediately follows, their plan comes to fruition thereafter.

The Berkley versionTom Mandrake's adaptation retains the sequence, but makes deep cuts into it, ending it before Polonius asks Hamlet what he's reading. This removes much of Hamlet toying with Polonius - and all my favorite lines! This is a largely humorless adaptation, Mandrake's facial expressions and atmosphere better suited to anxiety and anguish. His Hamlet is deadly serious, and his Polonius a sad old man, bewildered and saddened by events. We lose nothing of the plot, of course, and has Rosencrantz & Guildenstern show up earlier, before Polonius can get even more insulted, which in this vision, sometimes seems unduly harsh.

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