Next Mrs Smith continued class by showing a scene of the more traditional movie of Hamlet directed by Branagh. She showed the scene in Act 3 Scene 4 where Hamlet goes to Queen Gertrude's chamber, accidentally kills Polonius, and gets angry at his mother. After we watched the scene, Mrs Smith asked the class what we noticed about the scene and we concluded that:
-Hamlet was very aggressive
-Hamlet doesn't pay attention to his father's orders of leaving his mother alone by insulting her about her marriage with Claudius.
-Asks his mother to not sleep with Claudius and to not tell Claudius that Hamlet is faking his madness.
-Hamlet thinks his friends are snakes and can't be trusted
- Hamlet does and doesn't regret killing Polonius. Hamlet doesn't regret killing him because he calls Polonius a fool and says he deserves because of his actions. Hamlet does regret killing him because he regrets the consequences of the action with his beliefs.
Then Mrs. Smith played the scene of Act 3 Scene 4 of Hamlet from the Zeffirelli movie version. Before playing the scene, Mrs Smith explained that the director takes the incest aspect of the movie full force with something called oedipus complex. After watching the scene Mrs. Smith asked the class what we noticed and we concluded that:
-Hamlet is a lot more physical and rough in this version.
-The director creates a weird interpretation between the mother and the son as Hamlet kissed Queen Gertrude.
-King Hamlet's ghost appears right as the kiss happens, which emphasizes how wrong the action was.
Then Mrs Smith continued class by assigning roles of characters before we began reading Act 4 Scene 1. She asked us to take out our notes and write down these questions to look for while we were reading:
- Does the queen keep her promise?
- Hamlet’s treatment of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern?
- Denmark’s feelings regarding Hamlet
- Is Hamlet aware of the King’s plan? How has the King’s plan changed since Act 3?
- Comparison of Hamlet and Fortinbras? Man of action v. inaction?
- What role does madness or genius play in action v. inaction?
- Role of Honor?
As we were reading Act 4 we discussed:
- "O, come away! My soul is full of discord and dismay." p. 189. - Queen Getrude doesn't keep her promise as she leaves with King Claudius as he says he is confused and in despair.
- "The sun no sooner shall the mountains touch but we will ship him hence; and this vile deed we must with all our majesty and skill both countenance and excuse." p. 189 - King Claudius states that they will ship Hamlet off to England so that Hamlet doesn't get in trouble for killing Polonius, but really King Claudius is worried about getting caught for his murder.
- "Ay, sir, that soaks up the King's countenance, his rewards, his authorities." p. 191 - Hamlet states to Rosencrantz and Guildenstern that he isn't afraid to call them out for spying on him for Claudius.
- "How dangerous is it that this man goes loose! Yet must not we put the strong law on him. He's loved of the distracted multitude, who like not in their judgement, but their eyes." p. 193 - King Claudius explains that they can't punish Hamlet harshly for his murder because the citizens love Hamlet because he has the appearance of a true Dane. He states that they won't care about his offense no matter what he commits.
- "A man may fish with the worm that hath eat of a king and eat of the fish that hath fed of that worm." p. 195 - Hamlet is explaining to king Claudius that everyone including royalty are buried in the ground in dirt. Worms eat dirt so what Hamlet is saying is that a man can fish with a worm that has eaten a king buried in the ground and then eat the fish he catches with that worm. He is trying to say that we are all at the same level through death.
- "Which we do tender, as we dearly grieve for that which thou hast done must send thee hence with fiery quickness. Therefore prepare thyself. The bark is ready, and the wind at help, th' associates tend, and everything is bent for England." p.197 - King Claudius explains to Hamlet that the reason why he is going to England is for Hamlet's safety. Once again Claudius is trying to hide his own act of murder.
- "And England, if my love though hold'st at aught - as my great power thereof may give thee sense, since yet thy cicatrice looks raw and red after the Danish sword, and thy free awe pays homage to us, thou mayst not coldly set our sovereign process, which imports at full by letters congruting to that effect, the present death of Hamlet." p. 199 - King Claudius says to himself that since Denmark and England are allies, England should follow King Claudius's request to kill Hamlet.
- "Two thousand souls and twenty thousand ducats will not debate the question of this straw. This is th' impostume of much wealth and peace, that inward breaks and shows no cause without why the man dies" p. 201 - Hamlet is astonished as he thinks about how people act violently for so little to gain.
- "Sith I have cause and will and strenth and means to do't. Examples gross as earth exhort me. Rightly to be great is not to stir without great argument, but greatly to find quarrel in a straw when honor's at the stake." p. 203 - Hamlet believes that he has a great deal to gain by getting revenge on Claudius, but he is disgusted with himself for failing to do anything about it.
We finished reading for the day at the end of scene 4.