Sunday, March 9, 2014

IV.vii. Ophelia's Death - Hamlet 2000

Because Gertrude's speech refers to things absent in the modern adaptation - the brook, the flowers, Ophelia's dress - it is completely cut from the play, as is Laertes' scripted reaction. Nothing after the multiple utterances of "drowned" can be heard from either of them, and the film instead opts for an image that contains information one would have gleaned from the text.

In Hamlet 2000, Ophelia is frequently seen flirting with the idea of drowning. She throws herself in a VIP pool with her clothes on, she walks the edge of a fountain in the lobby. It's in that fountain that she is found, drowned in barely a foot of water, and though these things happen, it is just askew enough an image to underline the madness of it. Ophelia simply let herself die. A security guard runs in to try and rescue her but is too late, which answers the question of whether Gertrude was witness to the events or not. Of course, she might have seen it happen from one of the lobby's high balconies and been unable to do anything about it, just as in an Elizabethan or Medieval setting, the Queen might have seen it all from a tower window. The shot ends on her box of letters from Hamlet, floating by her body in the fountain, telling us more definitively that her suicide was driven by lost love, though the letters are also a symbol of the tug of war between her father and her lover - the letter revealed to the Royals, the tokens returned to Hamlet as an excuse to spy on him, and so on - so does double duty.

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