Seeing a film of a play can distort the imagination of the viewer by doing all of the imaging. In a movie, not much is left for the viewer to create in his or her mind. The director creates all of the scenery and visuals instead. One scene effected by the director’s decision is scene four of act three. In this scene Hamlet is striking at his mother for marrying his uncle.
This scene is acted in Gertrude’s chamber. Hamlet has been called to his mother due to his behavior during the play. Polunius stands behind a curtain, listening to the conversation between Gertrude and Hamlet. Hamlet at first responds his mother with answers that reverse the question. Then he hears someone behind the curtain, and impulsively stabs Polonius. Then he confronts Gertrude with her offenses against the honor of his father.
For the most part, Franco Zeffirelli interpretation of the scene was commendable. The set was according to the play. Hamlet is shown walking into the room in a crazed manner. He questions his mother in a sarcastic tone. He then attempts to go at his mother and Polonius shuffles. Hamlet strikes at the curtain only once and kills Polunius without seeing him. By only using one strike to kill Polonius, Zeffirelli is presenting Hamlet’s determination in revenge for his father. He then chases his mother around the room before grabbing her down onto the bed. There he forces her to listen about the offenses she has created against the old Hamlet. Before he leaves the room, he wipes off the blood from his sword with Polonius’ shirt. He has no shame in what he has done to Polonius. Then Zeffirelli shows Hamlet dragging Polonius around the castle, having difficulties.
Zeffirelli, took an interesting turn with the “Look here, upon this picture” speech. Hamlet and Gertrude are Gertrude’s bed. In many of the scenes, Hamlet is at a higher level than that of the other characters who are corrupted. Here, Hamlet is on top of Gertrude, forcing her to realize the offense she has done. It was almost like he was forcing his mother to have sex with him. As Gertrude was telling him to stop, he kept on pushing and yelling about adultery and murder. It was as if Hamlet was taking his turn in corrupting his mother. The scene also goes along with Hamlet’s sexual references in his speech.
A lot of focus was on the actors in this scene. There were many close ups to the characters. The close ups help express the emotion expelling from the characters. In particular, Glenn Close’s close ups during Hamlet’s rage showed her innocence from the murder of her husband. Mel Gibson’s use of expression brings about the rage stuck inside of Hamlet.