Friday, December 30, 2011

III.i. The Nunnery Scene - French Rock Opera

On the album, the song "Ophélie! Oh, folie!" comes rather early, and admittedly, it refers to the "kissing carrion" line during Hamlet and Polonius' encounter. However, the song also seems to reference the breeding of sinners, and in its title and ending, Ophelia's impending madness. I have therefore chosen to discuss it here, where all those ideas intersect. Here's the the original text in French, and a rough translation.

Ophélie! Oh, folie!
Le soleil, sans vergogne
Fait d’une peau vermeille
Une infecte charogne
Fuit devant le soleil
Ophélie, Ophélie, Ophélie
Puis le vent, le soleil
Pourrir est sa besogne
Fuit devant le soleil
Il te fera charogne
Ophélie, Ophélie, Ophélie

Ophelia! Oh Madness!
The sun, without shame
Turns a vermilion skin
Into a loathsome carrion
Flee before the sun
Ophelia, Ophelia, Ophelia
Then the wind, the sun
Rot is its work
Flee before the sun
It will make you carrion
Ophelia, Ophelia, Ophelia

What the translation cannot reproduce, of course, is how "Ophélie" and "Oh Folie" sound alike, a trait or fate built into the character in the French version. In English, one might equate her name with "Oh Feel-ia" and even if Shakespeare wasn't making a point with the name, its sonority might have a subliminal impact on the audience. Word play is a major part of the Bard's style, so we can't completely dismiss it.

The song, played as an almost dirge-like lamentation for the character, begins with the image of women as carrion, and their children maggots, fathered by the sun, a common symbol for the male principle. He tells her to run away from the sun (in English, we might be tempted to play on sun/son, but no such relationship exists in French), which ties it to the Nunnery Scene in that way. The second movement of the song uses an angelic choir where the title is used to confuse the two terms ("Ophélie" and "Oh folie") together, making them undifferentiated. As the tempo accelerates, we can feel Ophelia's mind spinning and careening as she dives into madness. Her whole story is here. On the album, we won't hear of her again until her death.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

III.i. The Nunnery Scene - Classics Illustrated

The originalWhile this adaptation sometimes feels like a "boys' adventure", it does surprise the informed reader with a full page devoted to what is essentially a relationship scene. Though cut for space, all the emotional beats are there, even Ophelia's oft-cut speech (in brief). Hamlet doesn't get violent, or even manic, and simply leaves a dejected Ophelia, almost mid-sentence. When she prays for his sanity to be restored, it is in reaction to what, in this context, seems a non sequitur. Devoid of the emotional context actors (or a stronger cartoonist) gives the scene, Ophelia can only conclude Hamlet is spouting nonsense, and never understands those words to be about her. She feels the sting of his telling her he never loved her (not that he ever says this in this cut version, he merely tells her she should not have BELIEVED him - a very different thing - he loved her, but she should not have reciprocated seeing as how things turned out), but nothing more. Claudius, behind the arras, may well conclude that love is not the cause of madness here because Hamlet shows none. There is hardly any passion in the character.

The Berkley version
Tom Mandrake's adaptation is more sensitive. He allows Ophelia's reaction to play in close-up. Hamlet isn't violent, but he does tower over her, his hands placed in vaguely menacing places. It seems an awkward drawing (middle panel, above), but I believe it is Mandrake's native expressionism that distorts the figures for conscious effect. Ophelia's voice is almost swallowed up, her words get smaller as her spirit is smothered. The staging that sets this adaptation apart is that she runs off during Hamlet's curse. He is left behind shouting as she quickly goes - one might assume - to that nunnery. As she exits, a tapestry is revealed.
Mandrake plays the arras as a progressive reveal. First, Hamlet mentions Ophelia's father. Then, we see the arras they said they were going to hide behind. In a third panel, they are in shadow. Claudius seems to uncover the fourth panel himself and shed light on the spies and his plans. (A final panel on the next page returns the figures to shadow as we transition to the next scene, and restores the scene's final scene.)

Sunday, December 25, 2011

III.i. The Nunnery Scene - A Midwinter's Dream

Because A Midwinter's Dream is all about putting on a performance of Hamlet on Christmas, there is no better day to post this entry. In the film, the play passes by very quickly, with clips from the most famous scenes, but they still yield some interesting, and often amusing, staging ideas. In this case, Ophelia follows "there my lord" with a throwing of the gifts and a powerful slap across the face! There's an in-film, off-stage motivation for this, of course. Nina (Ophelia) and Joe (Hamlet) had been exhibiting feelings for one another, and when Joe left to do a big movie in America on the night of the premiere, she felt betrayed. He comes back to do the play, but the betrayal still stands between them. Nina "uses" it, as they say, and makes her feelings, Ophelia's. While there are some Ophelias, like Zeffirelli's, that play it cross more than sad, no other achieved this kind of passionate fury. I'd love to see if such a portrayal could be sustained in the full context of a production.

III.i. The Nunnery Scene - Slings & Arrows

The Nunnery Scene is not in the broadcast Slings & Arrows, but can be found as a deleted scene on the DVD. While the group is rehearsing outside, they coax Jack Crew into using the text instead of his usual paraphrasing - a natural cut because it revealed too early that Jack knew the words and could do them, undercutting the later scene where his director forces him to do "To be or not to be" with the text. His paraphrasing IS pretty ridiculous at times. There is no reason not to use Shakespeare's original on lines like "I loved you, once", for example, since it already sounds modern. The one paraphrase that was interesting to me was the line about the paradox, translated as "Beauty will turn a virgin into a slut before honor will turn a slut into a virgin". This blunt interpretation paints Hamlet as someone who believes there's no coming back from sin. An honorable slut cannot recapture her virginity. Some things cannot be undone. Is he simultaneously talking about the revenge he must take? Is this part of his delay? Truly, murder cannot be undone.

When he switches to the Shakespearean original, Jack proves he can not only do it, but do it well. And his choices are interesting too. He puts a venomous emphasis on the word "mother", for example, highlighting the fact that she's more germane to the discussion than Ophelia is. He puts a manic spin on his ambitions, acts like a mischievous creature, makes Ophelia laugh... How would this have played in context? Making Hamlet impish in this moment rather than cruel wouldn't quite have worked, not without excising Ophelia's implorations to Heaven and soliloquy. It might work within the framework of a more mercurial performance, where he turns to cruelty suddenly, or a production that, through cuts and inferences, made Ophelia more of a knowing ally to Hamlet. In any case, we don't find out because the sprinklers start and Jack switches to King Lear's storm speech. While it does bring up the larger question of the way madness is portrayed in Shakespeare, and draws a connection between the two characters and how, in each play, the protagonist's state of mind is projected onto the environment, it does abort a possible staging for the Nunnery Scene.

Because S&A takes inspiration from the plays in its greater story, it is a nice touch here that the festival administrator, plotting against the production's success, is, Polonius-like, watching the scene from his car.

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.

Monday, December 19, 2011

III.i. The Nunnery Scene - Tennant (2009)

The 2009 adaptation also uses a two-way mirror to hide (or rather, frequently cut to) the spies. Ophelia is steady, at first, while Hamlet is visibly upset and keeps his distance from her. Confronting this part of his life is painful, and seeing him like this, Ophelia quickly starts to break down too. There's a nice hesitation from her on "redeliver", as if looking for the word. She draws attention to that choice. She's not "giving back", she's "redelivering". What, if any, and aside from being more "poetic", are the meanings behind that word? One might infer here a more chaste relationship between Hamlet and Ophelia, a romance through correspondence more than intimate contact. Gifts were "delivered" and must now be "redelivered". Not that this adaptation means to paint the Hamlet-Ophelia relationship that way. Perhaps Ophelia is playing down their intimacy for her watching father.

The way Hamlet tries to keep her at a distance, batting and waving her approaches, also gives a slightly different meaning to "I never gave you ought". It seems clearer that he means he's not the same person who gave her those gifts. By accepting his father's mission, he erased all other things from his mind (or tried to, that's the central conflict of the play). He's already renounced Ophelia and love, but here they both are again, and he must reassert his "new self" and push away any and all distractions. New Hamlet cannot be involved with Ophelia and even that past is erased. Compare to how the memory of his father has likewise been excised from the Court's memories. What Gertrude has done to Hamlet Sr., Hamlet Jr. is doing to Ophelia. She's not dead, but of course, the Ghost is a "living" character too. So even when he grabs her, he seems to push her away too, like he's defending himself from her touch and all the earthly concerns it represents. This push and pull is very much symbolic of Hamlet's attitude throughout the play. His goal goes against his values, and he hates the women he loves. "You should not have believed me" is spoken with hands on his head. The paradoxes of the play are making him crack.

While the spies behind the mirror are quiet, the hyper-surveillance element in this adaptation does make a noise as our point of view shifts to that of the security camera zooming in. That's when he realizes it's a set-up and gets angry at Ophelia, shouts at the air to make sure he's heard/recorded, etc. Ophelia is not thrown to the ground, she gets down on her knees to pray. Hamlet's violence is only verbal, though he does rip up the love letters as if they were "broken wedding vows", while she gestures ineffectually to try and save them. When he accuses women of nicknaming God's creatures, he holds up her Bible (which she was reading to color her loneliness). Given how quick she falls to praying, it makes sense this would be her book, but what does Hamlet's line mean? I've struggled with it. According to the Old Testament, Adam was given the task of naming all living things. Is Hamlet really condemning women for subverting God's wishes and in effect RE-naming the animals? It's an image of falsification (like the attack on cosmetics or love/sex games), and I now notice that it's something we get back to in Ophelia's madness scenes where different flowers are given different names and meanings (Gertrude does it too when talking about the suicide). If Shakespeare wasn't such a feminist in other plays, it would be easy to see a vicious misogynistic streak in this one. Women in Hamlet's world are not allowed to define or create their own world, and the naming of creatures and plants has a thematic relationship with Gertrude naming Claudius as her husband. Hamlet's revolt is against his world being shaken up by a woman.
After he leaves, Ophelia sobs through her entire speech and drops to the mirrored floor. As in other mirror-based stagings (like Branagh's), the things she sees and that haunts her is herself, that ugly thing she has become by participating in her father's schemes. In effect, she agrees with Hamlet's evaluation of himself as a monster created by women, and feels responsible for that transformation. However, he also told her not to believe a word he says. Was this a coded message she somehow missed? Part of the tragedy of these characters is that they do not understand one another. Ophelia should know Hamlet well enough to see through his act, read those coded warnings and heed his advice to leave Elsinore. She doesn't. This may be a problem with the Polonius family in general. Polonius certainly doesn't understand why Hamlet does what he does, and Laertes will allow himself to be convinced to work against Hamlet by the play's villain, and need to repent in his last moment.

Polonius, as usual uncomfortable with emotion, comes out of hiding and hands his daughter a handkerchief, and in embarrassment, stresses that he heard it all. That "all" seems to represent all manner of unpalatable things which he doesn't want to rehash, examine or understand. The structure of the play only now has Polonius board Hamlet as the prince runs back and Ophelia scurries away. It makes Polonius even thicker than normal, pursuing a line of inquiry Claudius has just rejected.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

The Nunnery Scene - Fodor (2007)

The scene comes on the heels of the conspirators discussing their plans to spy on Hamlet while Ophelia boards him, even as they watch him practice fencing from behind a two-way mirror. Hamlet reclines on the floor, and they send Ophelia to him. She kisses him to wake him, and never really seems hurt through the scene. This is an Ophelia that's controlled by her sister (Polonia) through drugs, and one that might well be just as manipulative as her sister. In no way does she appear to be as vulnerable as other Ophelias are, but her confidence may be bolstered by drug use. In any case, the accidental image created by her hair connecting her mind with Hamlet's (above) is merely illusion. There is no emotional understanding between them.
The two-way mirror device is well-used, allowing both Hamlet and Ophelia to look straight at Claudius and Polonia. The effect is different depending on the speaker. Hamlet's words are ironic because he doesn't know (at least initially) who he's really speaking to, while Ophelia can give meaningful looks to her co-conspirators. The image of that free-floating mirror creates an ironic wedding portrait. But while Ophelia remains rather cold, it's Polonia who reacts the most, giving weight to Hamlet's words. While Claudius shakes his head in disbelief, Polonia seems to feel the stings Ophelia does not. This is a new side to her character. Normally, she's basically psychotic, but do we glimpse here empathy for her sister? Or is she as selfish as ever and seeing the stepfather in the son? There's an obvious relationship between Claudius and Polonia in this film, but does he love her? And does she even care seeing as she's manipulating him anyway? It's an effect created by the mirror and the transgendering that we have two couple on each side of the glass. At least some of her reactions come down to embarrassment at being proven wrong about Hamlet's love-induced madness. Certainly, Claudius reacts quite strongly at having his time wasted by this exercise. Is that loss of power over him what she's really reacting to?

As the sound design becomes more and more bizarre - strange, anxious birds, and finally funereal bells - Hamlet seems to realize they might be watched. Having grown up in this house, he probably knows it's a two-way mirror. Ophelia doesn't answer him when he asks where her sister is, either because it would be absurd (the house is everyone's "home") or as a continuation of her passive, numb attitude. He leaves and she's left standing there, with no real reaction, and certainly no speech. On the other side of the mirror, Claudius also leaves, disagreeing with Polonia's take though not resolving to send Hamlet to England. We're left with two sisters, left by their lovers, staring at each other.

Monday, December 12, 2011

III.i. The Nunnery Scene - Hamlet 2000

In this version, Ophelia is wired by her father and heads for Hamlet's apartment. The transition to that scene is a wall of water (a fountain in Elsinore), water being Ophelia's totem element. She's brought Hamlet a somewhat psychedelic box filled to the brim with letters and other mementos (like a rubber ducky - again an image of water). The whole scene feels particularly modern and, in a sense, mundane. We recognize the (ex) boyfriend-girlfriend dynamic here, playing out an argument as old as time. She's reproachful of his attitude, and he plays the cold bastard with her. Cutting the lines about the paradox makes the dialog more of this time as well. Hamlet's more ambiguous explanation of "are you honest/fair?" is the simpler "I did love you, once", reducing, perhaps, the emotional equation to there being no beauty without honesty. Alternatively, he may be telling Ophelia he loved only her falsified image, and that he does not love the person she actually is under the surface.

The scene really hinges on the line "I loved you not", after which Ophelia for the first time seems to feel emotion (her usual attitude could be described as "numb", or at least, "guarded"). After these wounding words, we cut to a shot of a jet, overhead, an image of something departing, or just a way to underscore a silent beat? And yet, Hamlet isn't without kindness. He seems comforting as he moves to her and rubs her shoulders, and his speech sounds like someone saying "it's for the best" and justifying why the two of them shouldn't marry lest they revisit the sins of their parents on their partners and children. It's one of the play's themes, isn't it? Hamlet's struggle is that having found his parents lacking, he fights not to become like them. One might even find enough evidence here to show that Claudius is Hamlet's biological father, as the latter resists the former's romantic and murderous aspirations. At least this Hamlet tries to leave Ophelia with some measure of kindness. Overwhelmed by emotion, she kisses him out of desperation, perhaps only now understanding that it's over between them. When he tells us to "believe none of us", it may be a warning to keep her safe from the plots that are about to unfold - his madness, yes, but also the courtly schemes, her father's most of all.

And as the scene gets hotter and heavier sexually, he suddenly finds the wire under her blouse. He's been trying to warn her about the conspirators in their midst only to find she's one of them. "Where is thy father?" is spoken with a hand over the microphone, but even under that muffled safety, she doesn't answer (because OF COURSE he would be at home, this is a remote "arras"). Hamlet shouts some of the next lines right into the wire, leaving no doubt that he's discovered it. Ophelia, caught, embarrassed and upset, puts all her things in the box, rips off the wire and packs it too, leaves in a rush. Most of the time, we don't even see Hamlet in frame. This is her scene, her point of view, her pain.
After a bike ride home, we see her burn Polaroids of Hamlet. Why, when the rest of the scene seems to tell us she's still in love with him? She probably thinks it's all her fault if it's over. Things were looking as if they might get back together for a moment there, and then the wire was discovered. Foolish girl, allowing your father to use you against the man you love like that. Because Ophelia's story ends in a suicide, we know her to be self-destructive, and here she destroys the better part of herself, so to speak, as her answering machine picks up Hamlet's curses and nunnery talk. It makes "no more marriages" something more intimate, something only she hears since Claudius and Polonius cannot possibly overhear it. From kindness, Hamlet has moved to cruelty. There can be no ulterior motive to yelling this part of the speech at Ophelia (though one may easily presume Polonius taps her phone).

And as she breaks down, we cut to Hamlet renting videos. He's moving on. From the relationship, and to a more active role in the play itself.

Friday, December 9, 2011

III.i. The Nunnery Scene - Kline '90

Now let's see how the scene comes across with an older, wiser Ophelia. At least, that's how I read Diane Venora's performance (and she was 38 at the time). Her age makes her less fearful of Hamlet or her father, and perhaps takes part in the scheme willingly, for her own reasons. She makes herself available to Hamlet with a smile and tries to cheer him up, acting like nothing's wrong. The gifts she bears, some letters and a dried flower, could be meant to refresh his memory or focus his wits. When he doesn't accept them, she lays them on the stage, and you'll note that "their perfume lost" is cut. We must then believe her motivation to be elsewhere. She still loves him and giving him back these things is not meant as an affront, reproach, or sign that she doesn't love him anymore. Her bright spirits are nonetheless mitigated by the demons she sees in his eyes and speech, and she eventually backs away from him. But still, she seems hopeful that he can come back from this madness, so she is visibly hurt by his denial of their love. When she says she was "the more deceived", it's with a bitter, but honest laugh. An older woman mocking herself for having acted like a schoolgirl.

Kline does a good job with Hamlet as well. His version of "well, well, well" is robotic, a sample stuck on repeat as he ambles towards her, reaching for her hair. She stops his gesture and at the same time, his words. He peruses her face with his hands, gestures borrowed from the description of their first post-Ghost meeting, a smart use of the text in a different context. If these are Hamlet's mannerisms, why deny him those gestures in the rest of the play? And he eventually destroys the gifts, ripping up the letters, more of the erasure of the past he's been engaged in since he talked with his father's spirit. The nunnery speech is not unkind though. Hamlet has a thin smile, and advises more than accuses. She stops him with kisses, and this time, he's the one who pushes her away with a question about her father's whereabouts. He holds her tight during the next exchange, swinging her around in the parody of a newlywed dance. It gets more violent, he throws her down, hits her with a thrown book, tries to wipe away her make-up (her false face), moves her around as if she were a puppet (which she is - her father's)... Some of this is performance. He shouts at the air and looks around furtively. The kindnesses he does give Ophelia here are non-verbal and hidden in a flurry of strange, violent behavior.
After he leaves, Ophelia is left in the middle of a destroyed shared past, discarded like the trash around her. She grabs a piece of a poem, the "honey of his music vows", still clinging to past happiness, but her life is veritably in ruins. Is she picking up the pieces of her destroyed mind? Claudius seems more moved by these events than Polonius, her cold father who has his back to her and her distress. Ironically, he talks about neglected love as the cause of Hamlet's madness, not realizing he's neglecting his own (and soon to be mad) daughter. When she tries to speak, he stops her, refusing to empathize with her. Ophelia is often played as passive and listless in this moment, but Venora tries to actually say something. Who knows what that might be and what important piece of evidence or insight she might have imparted. She finally walks away, shell-shocked. Does her mind crack here? She'll be more keen in the next act, but it could be said that the first stone has been thrown at her fragile, glass-like mind.

Kline uses a title card here: END PART I. It's where the break would have been at the theater. Perhaps it's a good place to make some set changes, prepare for the play within a play, etc., but evidently Kline also sees this as the mid-point in the play. And it is. From this point on, Hamlet stops doubting himself and proceeds with his plans, while for Claudius, the investigation is over and he is resolved to exile Hamlet as soon as possible. The shift to action, rather than inaction, characterizes the next act.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

III.i. The Nunnery Scene - Zeffirelli '90

Zeffirelli splits the Nunnery scene in two, the first just after Ophelia is tasked but before To be or not to be, and the second inserted in the ribaldry preceding the Mouse-Trap, collapsing two of Ophelia's humiliations into the same moment. In the first section, Mel Gibson's Hamlet initially tries to ignore Ophelia, walking away from her at a brisk pace, but she catches him up with "remembrances" (some kind of necklace). That word is well chosen, isn't it? Though Hamlet refuses to take the gift back, it's his memories of a happier time that he can't prevent from returning. And those memories are, in essence, missing, because Hamlet denies their existence. Gibson plays the moment with some measure of dumbfoundedness and self-imposed amnesia.

Helena Bonham Carter's Ophelia is more aggressive than most, which is an interesting choice. She's the jilted one here and she won't take his bull. Does she suspect he's only feigning madness? The visual creates irony - the tiniest of girls vs. the action hero - that also exists in the power levels of the characters, both in the court and in the play. "You know right well you did" becomes an accusation. Hamlet laughs at her gesture... did he perchance see the shadows of the spies playing on the wall? Ambiguous. He only goes off shouting at the room and at her after her lie (that her father is home). The camera, trapped in Ophelia's point of view, spins round and round as Hamlet turns the tables and becomes the aggressor. At the end of his rant - which doesn't include the nunnery lines, notably - he runs up the stairs and throws down the just-regifted necklace. She timidly picks it up again in the background - the only reaction left from the text's short speech - as Claudius and Polonius come out of the woodwork to discuss what just happened. Hamlet stands in a doorway, hidden. This is how he knows about the trip to England, and of course, it's a confirmation of the the plot against him.
Nunnery-related lines are inserted during the play-within-a-play's preliminaries, in a more private moment after the more public humiliations of both Ophelia and Gertrude (after "half a year"). Almost swooning, he starts with "Get thee to a nunnery", which he finds strange and upsetting, and leaves off after "Believe none of us" as the play starts. The intimate nature of the sequence takes away any ribald meaning from the word "nunnery", and it becomes an imploration to save herself from both this tragedy and any future tragedy (which comes with child-bearing). She has no answer to give.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

III.i. The Nunnery Scene - BBC '80

As usual, Derek Jacobi is full of surprises in this scene. When his Hamlet sees Lalla Ward's Ophelia, he first puts his finger on his lips, as if to indicate that she shouldn't speak because he knows they're being spied on. It's not clear. He then grabs her book and reveals she was "reading" it upside down. She winces, her ploy half-discovered, and while we smile, Hamlet becomes hurtful, sarcastic, mocking. It is not without some kind of reproach in his voice that he says his sins are remembered in her orisons. And is there not a mirror of falsification here? She is pretending to read, to be lonely, etc. as much as he is feigning madness, that is, consciously false, and yet working from a kernel of truth. Jacobi's reading turns the line into an accusation or revelation that she is false. When she finally speaks, he treats it as a performance, laughs, mockingly applauds.

I've never found Lalla Ward a very effective Ophelia. Though she sobs through the whole sequence, never are there any tears. This obvious actor's artifice takes some of the punch away from Hamlet's mocking of those sobs, they're more like an actor mocking another. The redelivered gifts are often papers, presumably Hamlet's poetry, but here they go another way with a long green scarf. Hamlet grabs it from Ophelia's hands and uses it to snag her neck, though further violence of that kind does not ensue. He does admit he loved her once, but by this point she's scared. He refutes it almost immediately, of course, and when she says she was the more deceived, Hamlet reacts with a noncommittal gesture. Oh well, that's your problem, isn't it?

Things take a turn when he underlines his line about being a breeder of sinners by making a gesture towards her crotch. The embarrassment makes her look towards the arras, and though Hamlet makes no visible realization, just an odd look, he soon starts shouting his litany of sins at the wall and starts opening secret doors. It seems he didn't know all along, but he is not surprised. Obviously, Ophelia was playing some kind of game, but perhaps he didn't know the spies were so close. His breakdown comes unannounced after the lie about her father and he cries through the next lines. He throws her to the ground, leaves and comes back again a number of times, slaps at the empty air in front of her, shakes her violently, and finally, embraces her.
"It hath made mad" is here an epiphany, a sudden evaluation of his actions and emotions. His tone is unusually apologetic when he says there will be no more marriages, his rage completely drained, even though there is the promise of revenge in his words.

Patrick Stewart's Claudius is equally interesting in the aftermath. Instead of the usual anger, we get fear and foreboding. The quiet tone allows some of the lines to come across differently. For example, the line about sending Hamlet on a sea voyage to change his "settled heart" is better revealed as an image of moving the body to move the mind. Perhaps by uprooting Hamlet from his madness, Claudius can move him away from whatever action he is planning. Ironically, what Claudius does not realize is that Hamlet's madness, in effect, is inaction, not action. By uprooting him from it, he insures Hamlet will return moved to action. The Hamlet who returns from abroad is, indeed, determined, and part of the reason for it is the voyage (specifically, his meeting with Fortinbras' troops on the way).
Instead of ignoring Ophelia completely, as many Claudiuses do, this one is not so cold and says the last line to her directly. That final rhyme is now meant to reassure her (to perhaps cement her loyalty) that what they are doing is for Hamlet's own good. They must watch him to help him. This may in part explain why Ophelia never tells Hamlet that there are plans to spy on him in his mother's closet and so on, though Hamlet's erratic actions have as much to do with it.