Hamlet Annotated Bibliography Cook, Patrick J. Cinematic Essay

Length: 3 pages Sources: 6 Subject: Literature Type: Essay Paper: #92739423 Related Topics: Hamlet, Hamlet Laertes, Glass Menagerie, Annotated Bibliography
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Hamlet Annotated Bibliography

Cook, Patrick J. Cinematic Hamlet: the Films of Olivier, Zeffirelli, Branagh, and Almereyda.

Athens, Ohio: Ohio UP. 2011. Print. This book focuses on the many versions of Hamlet that have been made for the silver screen. The play by William Shakespeare is one of the most frequently filmed works and each version of the story has a unique perspective. Director, screenwriter, and of course actor each influence the overall position of the film. Each chooses which elements of the story to emphasize and which to underplay. Even films that use the complete text of Shakespeare's work still alter the original by the act of interpretation. By examining each version, focusing on the three four major ones, the author helps explain what was important to the artists and by extension to the audience who would have seen the film.

In the context of a paper, each film would be watched and particular attention paid to the actor's depiction of Hamlet and his psychological issues. A major question of the play is whether or not Hamlet has truly gone insane or if it is all an act. Shakespeare himself never makes this clear. The film's artistic contributors make the determination in their given media. Some, like the Zeffirelli film have Hamlet's pretense of insanity more strong, indicating that he is not crazy. Others, like Branaugh's version make the likelihood of insanity far greater.

Eliot, T.S. "Hamlet and His Problems." The Sacred Wood. 1921. Print. Author T.S. Eliot wrote a rather fascinating critique of Hamlet in 1921. He states that the play is not the masterpiece that many have hailed it as. Several key...

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He tells the audience that he will pretend to go crazy in order to find the evidence he needs of his uncle's guilt in the death of his father. However, his actions later on in the play, such as stabbing the curtain where Polonius is hiding in the misguided belief that it is his uncle, do not appear to be the actions of a rational being. The audience must then determine if he is still pretending to be crazy or if he has descended into true madness.

It is not easy to find articles which in any way disagree with the quality of Hamlet. To find one from an author who is distinguished in his own right is doubly rare. It is hard to disagree with Eliot's assessment. There is definitely something to Hamlet's state of mind that is not altogether sane. Shakespeare tells us that Hamlet is only pretending to be crazy, but his actions belie this. At what point does he stop pretending to be crazy and begin to descend into true madness, if that is indeed what is going on?

Greenblatt, Stephen. "The Death of Hamnet and the Making of Hamlet." The New York Review

of Books. 2004. Print. Greenblatt states that the story of Hamlet was not one originally created by Shakespeare. Like many of his plays, Hamlet was based on the works of other writers. However, in none of the earlier versions of the play does the ghost of Hamlet's father appear. Greenblatt argues that in the play, death is the central theme and this is a reflection on Shakespeare's feelings following the death of his only son. Throughout the piece, Hamlet acts out of mourning. Similarly when Ophelia dies, her brother's rash actions are caused by his mourning of his sister. Funerals and ceremonies that honor the dead are more to allow the living to grieve than to celebrate the departed, Greenblatt says.

His argument is that Shakespeare dwells…

Sources Used in Documents:

Wood, William Dyson. Hamlet: From a Psychological Point-of-View. London, England:

Longmans. 1870. Print. This text was written nearly 150 years ago at the beginning stages of psychiatric and psychological medicines. Yet even from that early time period, psychologists and literary scholars alike were able to view the correlation between the characters in Hamlet and some severe psychological disorders. The author points to several of Hamlet's soliloquies, particularly the famous "To be or not to be" speech wherein Hamlet asks a myriad of hypothetical questions. These questions, Wood argues are actually the basis of all human thought. Everyone, he argues, questions the world and their place in it at some time.

Many critics have questioned Hamlet's mental state, as well as the mentalities of those around him. Of those critics, many have Hamlet not of sound mind. This does not seem to be the case in Wood's piece. Rather, he believes that Hamlet's actions are valid based upon the psychological medicine of the day.


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