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Hamlet – setting – Elsinore

“this bodes some strange disaster to a state”

A war is also an aberration of a peacetime, as well as the ghost.

“an unnatural murder” – it is how ghost refers to his death.

Hamlet as the only person unhappy about the hasty marriage.

Inside is stated that everything is common. Hamlet is the only one that is behaving unnaturally.

Old Hamlet is a warrior king, Claudius is a diplomat and a wise ruler.

A parallel

Old Hamlet

Old Fortinbras

Hamlet – his uncle too

Fortinbras – his uncle has the throne

He is a scholar

Ghost “Revenge me!” – he has

(No) choice

he is a warrior – he wants to gain the throne, fame and experience

Decision between Denmark and Poland

Everything is common inside Elsinore, and everything outside is unnatural. Gertrude had to marry quickly to ensure the stability of the state. Hamlet strongly disapproves of his mother’s remarrying, basically because he lost the throne (at least temporarily).

For him it diminishes his chance of becoming a king.

Does the audience have any reason to believe the Ghost? The audience will not believe in what Ghost says until Hamlet does. Hamlet has some doubts.

Hamlet is troubled by the fact that it is true, he has to revenge it.

Old King asks Hamlet to commit the same atrocity – to kill the king.

Hamlet may not believe in the ghost, but believing in Ghost will bring him close to the throne.

Why does not Hamlet immediately kill Claudius? He needs to make his cause legitimate.

“Tom Stoppard” – Shakespeare in Love. As well as “Rosen. And Gild. Are dead”

Hamlet is unhappy about it, he has his doubts, but agrees to avenge his father. He quite quickly decides to do this. He not only makes his decision, but also sets about to find a proof.

Not only he agrees, but he will do it by the means that he has chosen, he will put “an antique disposition on”. He will pretend to be mad to expose Claudius.

Fortinbras acts by fighting, Hamlet acts by acting. And that’s action.

The plot axis of the play is based on the confrontation between Hamlet and Claudius.

There is quite a number of some theatre vocabulary. Power and acting, a play about acting. Both Claudius and Hamlet act.

Po co prostytutka używa makijażu? Why does a prostitute wear makeup?

Is this covering or exposing who we are?

Is playing, acting – exposing or hiding oneself?

Revenge tragedy – it is a tragedy about revenge. Lots of blood, mutilation, corpses, carnage. It is why it was so popular back then. There are two ongoing revenges in the tragedy, Hamlet’s and Laertes’.

There are certain things that will always appear in a revenge tragedy.

“The Spanish Tragedy” – a classical revenge tragedy.

The revenge is often prompted by the ghost of a murdered person.

Some scenes of real or pretended insanity. Ofelia – Hamlet.

Play within play scenery.

Scenes that take places in graveyards.

The plot is a confrontation between Hamlet and Claudius. It is the main theme.

In the very first act, Hamlet accepts the revenge. He decides to act by acting. He will act to unveil Claudius. Another thing – he pretends to be insane.

Then Claudius wants to investigate the cause of that insanity. He can feel unsecure, because he might consider it plausible that Hamlet is also acting.

That is why Gildenstern and Rosencrantz are asked to act friends in order to learn if Hamlet is truly mad.

Claudius is not convinced, he stages another mini play in which Ofelia performs the role of an actress. Claudius and Polonius assume the role of audience. So he tries to see if Hamlet is acting.

When Hamlet begins to act, Claudius immediately starts an investigation. Hamlet needs a ghost to start acting. So Claudius is a better actor.

Hamlet fails to prove Claudius guilty, so he sends for professional actors.

Claudius leaves the performance, but the audience does not react (within the play), for them there is no unveiling. The play itself is not a threat, because Claudius needs to act to maintain the illusion.

The professional play the dumb play, and then the real play. So, two performances within that play.

Claudius plays a good and worried king. And Hamlet plays the role of chorus.

“What do you call the play?” “The croaking raven doth bellow for revenge” – it is a threat to Claudius and he reacts to it.

Actor disappears in the role, merges with it. according to Hamlet, actors should give a faithful and alike representation of nature, but should not become what they enact themselves. Be credible, but do not overdue it. Just similarity. What is the distance

Enact a revenge

1. Action – it would be a failure of an actor, if it were to happen

2. Performance – Hamlet does not adhere to his rule of distance in his own acting

Hamlet enacts his revenge as an unwilling character in a play enacted by Claudius – so his revenge was not of his own directing. So he acted in someone else’s theatre, which saves his soul; he did not know that he was acting in the final scene, staged by Claudius, and kills him – being not much more than a tool.

Siatka – dziury połączone sznurkami.

When directly threatening Claudius, Hamlet fusions with the role. Why do not we feel comfortable naked? – because we feel exposed, vulnerable? When Hamlet threatens Claudius, he is undressing, exposing himself. Performance becomes action. Claudius decides immediately to execute Hamlet – so, in a way, Hamlet’s exposure is suicidal. Does Hamlet have to undress to expose Claudius? It is dangerous not to be a good player. Claudius is distanced from his playing/acting.

A theory of superior awareness and inferior awareness, and congruent awareness.

The audience knows that Claudius is guilty.

Here the version is that the make-up is to hide true self. So it is all about the discrepancy and ethical distance between who I am and who I play. Prostitute is a woman who hides herself and becomes a whore.

Another question: the connection between acting and madness? Does madness reveal one’s true self?

When the audience looks at Hamlet, he is instructing actors how to play.

When Ofelia is mad, the true audience sees an actor acting someone mad. But when the audience sees an actor acting an actor, the second level, is this meta-theatre or what?

Fortinbras is morally superior to others, because he did not play, he is off-stage and it is the main reason why he gets the throne.

Małgorzata Grzegorzewska, “Scena we krwii”.

Hamartia, the tragic flaw. Vicious mole of nature.

Why did Hamlet have to fall? Tragic flaw – wina tragiczna, but it is not guilt, it is skaza. In Aristotle, hamartia is a tragic error, the error of judgement. But Shakespeare interprets it as an imperfection of character.

The ghost is more like a fate, because Hamlet cannot control it. Hamlet does not interpret the situation in a wrong way, but his action activates the “vicious mole of nature”. Some factors activate this flaw/imperfection.

Hamlet’s hubris – accepting the revenge, “Denmark is a prison – Your ambition makes it so”, Hamlet tries himself against LAertes, plays against a superior actor, Claudius, and – he instructs professional actors.

Maybe it is not a fault or sin to be an actor, but it must be a sin to be a playwright. Hamlet refuses to play in someone else’s scenario, he assumes that he has the power and right to judge and punish. Being self-sufficient in this is hubris.

“A vicious mole of nature” – a blind builder of underground corridors, a mole, and a flaw, barely visible, but important.

Performance dominates at the end. “To not to play in a world of players is also dangerous”.