Sunday, October 6, 2013

IV.v. Laertes Returns - A Midwinter's Tale

Running through the whole play in a few minutes, A Midwinter's Tale keeps the energy level way up with Laertes brandishing a sword from the onset and quickly moving to behind Claudius and holding it to the King's throat. Only a quick couple lines, though if we imagine them in the context of an entire production, we can see the virtue of a thoroughly incensed and violent Laertes in this scene. He would be holding Claudius hostage through the whole sequence, ramping up the tension, and perhaps making the King's words more desperate or an even greater show of control. Perhaps they could stay in this position through Ophelia's sequence as well. I've never seen it done that way, but it would serve a number of dramatic functions - freezing the action and adding to Ophelia's ghostliness; juxtaposing Laertes' loving lines with his innate violence; turning his reactions to Ophelia's madness into accusations.

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