Tuesday, December 20, 2011

III.i. The Nunnery Scene - The Banquet

China's Hamlet adaptation is too different from the original text to enjoy a scene-by-scene analysis (though I'm tempted to include the snow-tunneling ninjas sometime), but it does feature a few noteworthy staging ideas. In its equivalent of the Nunnery Scene, for example, the fight turns to passionate love-making. Using this ideas on a more traditional adaptation could have various effects on the play, depending on the director's intent. If the colloquial meaning of nunnery is retained, Hamlet has just called Ophelia a whore and then physically turns her into one. This would be especially disturbing if it were their first time. The tenderness Ophelia shows Hamlet in The Banquet does not mean that the prince has renewed their romance, only that she believes he might. Giving the (former) lovers a night of passion need not keep Ophelia from breaking down later. In fact, it can be used to destabilize her further by giving her highs followed by extreme lows (the humiliation of the Mouse-Trap, her lover killing her father). And this has got to be confusing for Hamlet as well, giving in to what he has renounced, and perhaps doing it out of rage more than love. More guilt to pile onto his psyche.

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