HAMLET: Analysis of Act III, Scene iv ENG 112 Midterm Presentation Jacqueline Kopp
Thesis ► In Act III, scene iv of the 1996 Film adaptation of Hamlet, the use of costume, blocking and camera movement convey the transformation of each character in this pivotal scene which places each character on a course of events from which there is no escape.
“The Closet Scene” ► Location: Gertrude’s chamber ► Characters: Polonius, Gertrude, Hamlet and the King’s ghost. ► Summary: After the “play within a play”, Gertrude confronts Hamlet while Polonius hides to uncover the reason for his recent bizarre behavior. Hamlet kills Polonius thinking him to be Claudius and confronts his mother about her sinful behavior.
Costumes ► The use of particular costumes in this scene helps to show the viewer the mindset of each character.
Hamlet ► Hamlet is dressed in mourning black ► Continuing sorrow
Gertrude ► Metallic and low-cut ► Indicative of her lustful nature
Polonius ► Polonius wears his official uniform ► Indicates a dedication and obsession with duty
King Hamlet’s Ghost ► Now dressed in cloak ► Presents a gentler figure ► Implores Hamlet to stay on task
Hurling Accusations ► The actors square off as the accusations fly.
Contrast and Compare ► Hamlets charges his mother to compare the merits of her two husbands.
“This Visitation” ► Use of scene cuts and angles communicate visually the presence of the ghost to Hamlet but not to Gertrude.
Calm & Exhaustion ► Gertrude slumped ► Hamlet sitting
Camera Work ► Camera movements communicate emotion ► Camera angles communicate power
Confrontation ► Circling camera viewpoint adds to sense of confusion
Awareness ► Gertrude’s dawning awareness of her sins causes camera to stop spinning
Unseen Forces ► Forces outside the character’s view and control lead to unimagined outcomes.
Quick Cuts ► Quick cuts between Hamlet and his father add to depth of emotional impact of King’s death and charge for revenge.
Reconciliation ► Extreme close ups at the conclusion of the scene reinforce the pact made between Hamlet and Gertrude.
What cost revenge? ► Queen looks small, lost and unsure ► Polonius’ dead body front and center
Summary ► King Hamlet’s Ghost Costuming: Appears gentler, more sympathetic Blocking: Cannot be seen by Gertrude Camera Work: Scene with Hamlet emotionally riveting.
► Gertrude Costume: Betrays her lustful nature Blocking: Begins aggressive – ends repentant Camera Work: Her dawning awareness of her transgressions and remorse is well communicated through the use of close ups.
► Polonius Costume: In uniform, obsessed with duty Blocking: Hidden from view, unseen forces end his life Camera Work: Close-up of his dead body at end of scene highlights the beginning of the carnage.
► Hamlet Costume: Forever in mourning, unable to escape melancholy and fate Blocking: Quickly takes the upper hand and power during exchange with Gertrude Camera Work: Deep love for father is well executed through quick cuts and close ups.