Hamlet A05 – Reading

Gregory Doran, Is Shakespeare Chinese? How do you fresh-mint some of those famous lines?
Gregory Doran, Is Shakespeare Chinese? Some recoiled, some were drawn towards it in grim fascination….Many were disturbed by such a vivid memento mori.
Gregory Doran, Is Shakespeare Chinese? Whatever the reaction, that line, “Alas, poor Yorick,”never languished into cliche in our production. The skull never became just another stage prop.
Gregory, Doran, Is Shakespeare Chinese? When David Tennant peered at the skull, stared into those hollow eye sockets, he saw his own mortality staring straight back at him.
Jonny Patrick, The English Review In this play in which things tend to happen twice (two men called Hamlet, two called Fortinbras, two marriages for Gertrude, two performances by the Players) the one off nature of this scene makes it stand out
Voltaire, 1748 A vulgar and barbarous drama, which would not be tolerated by the vilest populace of France, a grave is dug on the stage, and the grave-diggers talk quodlibets worthy of themselves, while holding skulls in their hands; Hamlet responds to their nasty vulgarities in silliness no less disgusting
Jonny Patrick, The English Review The comic relief argument is a decent explanation for the presencce of gravedigger scene as far as it goes, but it hardly explains its particular power.
Jonny Patrick, The English Review Born on the day that the grave digger began his occupation, Hamlet has lived all his life under death’s shadow, and in the skulls the grave-digger throws up he sees quite simply the common destiny of men. It is a destiny he appears now to accept.
Jonny Patrick, The English Review It is essential that the gravedigger scene is not made to fit in that it reminds an interruption and irruption.
Jonny Patrick, The English Review Symbolically (and fatally) he has entered Claudius’ world and divorced himself from the populace whose support was temporarily expedient. The door is a vital symbol; it is the entrance to power, but also the literal entrance to the stage and to the play. The lower orders are allowed to the threshold of Hamlet but no further.
Jonny Patrick, The English Review Lower-class characters are heard at length for the first time in the play and literally and metaphorically ‘tunnel in’ into the play
Jonny Patrick, The English Review When the gravedigger and mate speak, they voice explicitly political criticism, denouncing the corruption and class privilege.
Jonny Patrick, The English Review Hamlet’s political metaphor continues when he cries ‘Here’s fine revolution’. Though revolution had yet to acquire its specific modern political meaning at this stage, and Hamlet is probably referring to the turning of the Wheel of Fortune, he may also see the gravediggers actions as an inversion of a political order that Hamlet sees as natural.
Jonny Patrick, The English Review The scene in the graveyard at leat allows us to hear, however briefly, the articulate, witty, wise voice of one member of the distracted multitude and to see him outwit a prince.
Benedict Cumberbatch ‘Naked in his intent. He’s coming to Claudius like a direct arrow
Benedict Cumberbatch This is incredibly modern. It’s a network of kings palming off another’
Benedict Cumberbatch ‘He has seen part of death himself and that shifts him into being someone who can take charge of his fate’
Benedict Cumberbatch When he really wants to have words weighted, they are often shorter
Benedict Cumberbatch That’s a moment of self-laceration. It’s the last soliloquy… It’s about determining his own trajectory at that point.
Benedict Cumberbatch He submits to it because he feels that whatever happens was always going to happen.
Benedict Cumberbatch He knows he is on the last few words. The most important thing is for him to tell the truth of what has happened in this court. Or else anyone could put their spin on it.
Liz Lewis [Shakespeare} created women characters which in their richness, transcend the limitations of time.
Liz Lewis Ophelia is certainly a victim figure
Liz Lewis In his treatment of Ophelia, Hamlet oscillates between protests of undying love and cruelty such as his cold and accusing speech in ‘the nunnery scene’
Liz Lewis Gertrude’s behaviour has instigated Hamlet’s unforgivable treatment of Ophelia…This provides Hamlet with a model of women’s inconstancy.
Liz Lewis Polonius’ conviction…. stems rom a mercenary desire to marry his daughter off to such an eligible husband as the prince of Denmark
Liz Lewis Ophelia enters a double realm of guilt, believing herself to be to blame for both Hamlet’s madness and her bather’s death.
Charney Maurice madwomen were ‘more strongly defined than madmen’
Charney Maurice Women’s madness was ‘interpreted as something specifically feminine’
Liz Lewis Through depictions of madness dramatists were able to give women a chance to express their selfhood – ‘make a forceful assertion of their being’ – in a way which patriarchal conventions which would otherwise have been prevented.
Liz Lewis Although a potential self-will shines through at the beginning of the play, when we learn that Ophelia has entertained Hamlet unchaperoned or without paternal consent, this stifled very quickly by Polonisu and Laertes, the double choice of the patriarchy.
Linda Baber Baber claims that they ‘psychologically neutral characters who take on the colouration of the plays’ mood’s. Thus their personalities are not fully developed.
James Hill Of the heroines of the tragedies we are not shown ‘their inner lives’ or their ‘inner conflicts’.
Linda Barber The conception of woman’s inferiority to man in these tragedies is undercut by Shakespeare….in Hamlet too, Ophelias’ death can perhaps be seen as an act of assertion and escape from the confining patriarchal world.
David Tennant To allow any eccentricity to be written off as madness
David Tennant You could certainly frame a very convincing argument that in the closet scene, the ghost is Hamlet’s head.
Gregory Doran Ecstacy, which in Shakespeare’s day meant madness
Pennie Downie I belive Shakespeare demonstrates real madness in Ophelia, rather than Hamlet’s feigned madness
Gregory Doran I think that she goes made in the play
Gregory Doran She’s deprived of that grieving, which I think pushes her over the edge
Mariah Gale I see a person reacting to a set of circumstances that are completely extreme and shocking.
Gregory Doran I know you think I’m mad so I’ll be mad
Gregory Doran I don’t think we should ever tell the people in the scene what you’re going to do (to the rest of the cast)….
Patrick Stewart Her mad scene was always a little bit frightening…that was never the same in any performance
Showalter The romantic Ophelia is a girl who feels too much, who drowns in feeling

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