Sunday, March 22, 2015

V.ii. Duel and Deaths - A Midwinter's Tale

The play as seen in montage in A Midwinter's Tale's climax only features two key moments, but they're edited in such a way, they speak to each other. The first is just a sword fight, with none of the poisoning machinations, just a violent enthusiastic duel. It goes all around the church that serves as a stage, while the patrons are, as if part of the story, on their feet cheering the duelists on. In an actual staging of the play, I suppose one could encourage the audience to take such an active part (that of the courtiers), but it's really a pure movie moment here.
From the loudness of the fight, we cut directly to Hamet's line, "The rest is silence". This is a great play on the editing, but also a fine end to a montage that's meant to give us a Hamlet in 2 minutes. Horatio and Fortinbras do get a line in each before the lights dim and the characters are once again lost in fog, but it does bear asking just what all the characters are talking for after Hamlet's final pronouncement. It's a great irony that after Hamlet comes, not silence, but a multitude of voices who need to analyze, dissect and discuss the play. The final word on Drama only spawns more and more words, only the tiniest fraction of which have been contributed by this series of articles. It's like we've all been trying to prove Hamlet wrong all this time, and indeed, his meditation on mortality has only made him, in the end, immortal.

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