Hamlet, a play by William Shakespeare, explores the themes fate and revenge. The play also describes the difficulties Hamlet faces to seek revenge on his father’s death. It was written during Elizabethan times, reflecting the social norms of that era. Michael Almereyda’s 2000 Hamlet has drastic changes. This is in an effort to appeal more to modern audiences, but still maintain the storyline. Almereyda tries to incorporate Elizabethan English into the 21st-century script, despite obvious differences between them. The modern Hamlet story is told in New York City. This allows the audience to better understand Shakespeare’s original play.
Elizabethan times saw women as inferior and allowed men to control their lives. William depicts Gertrude as weak and Ophelia in the play to show their roles in society at that time. We expected them to follow the opposite gender. There are similarities between the two characters, but the film shows that Ophelia did not follow Laertes and Polonius’ orders to stop watching Hamlet. Additionally, Polonius attempts surveillance on Hamlet through Ophelia. Ophelia is wired in but he doesn’t stop her crying. This shows that women have more control and don’t need the blessing of their parents, but it also highlights the fact that she doesn’t have complete control. Equal rights are still being fought for by women today. To properly illustrate Shakespeare’s story, the director selects her resistance to be one of the reasons she dies. Gertrude plays Claudius’ “perfect” wife. The film portrays Gertrude as an intelligent and powerful woman, which is not the typical description of Elizabethan women. She begins to drink after Polonius’s passing, which reveals a new side to her. This could be an indication of the pressure women feel to play to be “strong” in order to not view them as weak and emotional. Gertrude could not hold this image. Almereyda’s portrayal Gertrude, Ophelia and the other women makes it easy for female audiences to relate to them. However, this may change how they perceive Hamlet. Hamlet is portrayed as mad in Shakespeare’s play. But, his lacklustre attitude towards revenge in the movie makes him seem more depressed. Hamlet is known to isolate himself and turn to his video diary in order to reflect and stay sane. Although this shows that Hamlet is able to find comfort in his videos, the film also raises doubts about his commitment to his plans. The film shows how technology can make it difficult to connect with others. This appeals to an even wider audience. Hamlet would prefer to contact the person he doesn’t trust by email or face-toface than confronting them. Because they can’t see Hamlet’s determination and how hurtful he is, I think this allows them to empathize with him. This allows Hamlet to show the audience how technology affects us. Hamlet is an aspirant filmmaker in the film. Ophelia, he and Ophelia share a love for photography. However, they lack communication which creates obstacles in their relationship. Hamlet would rather look at Ophelia’s videos before meeting up in person. This is a clear example of how social skills have been lost in our modern world. Michael was able connect to the audience because he used technology to address these obstacles.
Michael Almereyda film Hamlet’s well-known, “to have, or to not be?” That is the question in a Blockbuster’s late-night soliloquy. After considering many factors, Hamlet’s audience gained sympathy because they could see his desperate state. We see Hamlet, a lost man wandering through the aisles looking for answers. His state of mind is reflected in his awkwardly-dressed suit and beanie. This scene is relatable because it shows how helpless people can feel and then wander off to find answers. The director shared a glimpse of The Crow City of Angels from Blockbuster. At the time, this movie was well-known and featured a character who resurrects to seek revenge for his crime. The brief scene of Hamlet being shot off his motorbike and killed hints at Michael’s ending. This modification to William Shakespeare’s famous soliloquy allows the audience to easily understand the themes of fate or revenge.
Although Michael Almereyda’s 2000 Hamlet is different than the original play, it still reflects the modern world and allows for a better understanding of Shakespeare’s work. The audience is enriched by the inclusion of stronger female roles and technology that reflects modern life.
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