Sunday, December 16, 2012

III.iv. The Closet Scene - A Midwinter's Tale

The rush of the montage, doing the entire play in only a few onscreen minutes and providing moments of humor throughout, gives us another dynamically staged excerpt from Branagh's comedy. Hamlet pushes his mother across the stage until she backs to the draped doors where Polonius is hidden, and as if part of the same movement that would have seen his mother harmed, the prince kills the "rat" whose shadow is revealed there. Blood is splashed on the curtains in a horror movie kind of way and as a means to intercut with a shocked audience for comic effect, but the underlying point remains: The answer to "thou wilt not murder me?" might well have been yes without Polonius' fortuitous interruption. And indeed, his entry into the after-life could be what signaled the Ghost that something was amiss. Without Polonius there, behind the arras, things might have turned out very differently. The old man did something right after all, in the end.

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