Sunday, October 2, 2011

III.i. To Be or Not to Be - Kline '90

Kline's Hamlet comes into the room and stays at the doorway. We, the camera's point of view, close in slowly until we'll be on his face. There is no indication here that Hamlet knows he's being spied upon, but the staging infers that the speech isn't overheard. Hamlet has yet to step into the trap, his moment of hesitation at the door stopping the action figuratively as well as literally.

Kline's delivery is what you'd expect from his Hamlet, all sighs and tears, but it does get more interesting at the end when he weeps and laughs at the same time, finding it laughable that people bear the burden of all those evils.Hamlet's native irony is revealed much as it was in "What a piece of work is a man", and he mocks humanity (himself included) for being the butt of a cosmic joke, and existential cowards to boot. The tail end of the speech becomes an attack on conscience itself, the immutable thing that is preventing him from acting. A flash of anger at the word "thought" confirms this. He is angry at the morality that is delaying his revenge, in effect cursing God himself. The speech is in fact quite religious without ever mentioning faith. Hamlet's morality is highly Christian (Puritanical compared to the people around him), and those teachings and the fear of the afterlife reserved for suicides in that cosmogony are what stay his hand against his will.

He hears Ophelia coming, with a half-smile imbued with gentleness, but also dread. He has avoided this meeting, just like he has avoided doing anything with meaning. The play tips on the edge of that knife's point.

No comments: