Wednesday, April 2, 2008

To Be, or Not To Be

Alexander Fodor - Hamlet's Soliloquy

In one of Hamlet’s famous soliloquy played by Alexander Fodor, different elements are added in order to interpret this speech such as technology, death, music, and light. This is quite different from the other videos because this has a more tragic feel to the speech and with the added elements, it makes a perfect interpretation. Although there are different versions of this particular soliloquy, this rendition has a different feel because of the bright colors along with the music included, something the other two are either missing. Not only that, but the other videos are also missing out on specific people. Even though this is a soliloquy where the actor talks only to himself or let the audience knows his thoughts, this version of Hamlet’s soliloquy shows what his specific thoughts are.

When the video begins, a voice recorder is first shown in a room that is bright. First, the voice recorder is used to make an allusion that the speaker, Hamlet is shown talking to himself, the thought of talking through a voice recorder then listening to it may allow one to speak to oneself in that sort of way. Then the brightness of the room may be symbolizing that this is his inner thoughts, it symbolizes Hamlet’s bright mind. Before the speech even begins, Hamlet is shown waiting in order to kiss a man who is either dead or just lying down. After the kiss, the camera focuses on Hamlet, at first his face is shown with an unusual bright surrounding then he is shown sitting, preparing the voice recorder. This unusual brightness surrounding only the head may symbolize that Hamlet is in deep thinking before he makes his speech. After he prepares the voice recorder, he picks up the microphone and begins the speech, but no sound of the words are coming out when he is actually talking. In fact, the viewers have to wait for the voice recorder in order to listen to the speech instead.

The soliloquy begins, “To be, or not to be, that is the question” (55), this line seems to be the main focus throughout the speech, and in this version of the soliloquy it interprets it the best. Hamlet is saying “to be or not to be,” when he is actually talking to himself. Like the voice recorder, Hamlet is talking but is he really talking, indicating that the voice recorder is talking for him revealing that he is “not to be.” The speech continues with “Whether ‘tis nobler in the mind to suffer/ The slings of arrows of outrageous fortune, / Or to take arms against a sea of troubles, / And, by opposing, end them?” (56-58), as these words come out the voice recorder, the camera flashes the speaker and two other females. These two females may be representing Fortune and Queen Gertrude, alluding that they are in his minds and thoughts as well as in this soliloquy. Fortune is referenced here because, Fortune may be giving the man the kiss of death since it is that misfortune that lead to King Hamlet’s death. Then it goes on, “To die, to sleep--/ No more, and by a sleep to say we end” (58-59), when Hamlet begins saying these lines, the camera begins focusing on the man that appears to be dead. This is interesting because the man may be or may not be dead, he may also be sleeping as Hamlet indicates, that death and sleep are similar where one is at rest in both terms. Hamlet then begins repentance by saying, “To die, to sleep --/ To sleep, perchance to dream – ay, there’s the rub/ For in that sleep of death what dreams may come” (63-66), although now he adds dream. While finishing this line the camera focuses on the man who appears dead again, with the females bending over to kiss him. This interprets literally, that sleep and death are similar but are there dreams during or after death?

The camera focuses on the speaker’s half of the face during the rest of the speech, though as he speaks it zooms into the eye. Finally at the last seven seconds of the speech, the camera focuses back onto the dead man, this time there are different people in different clothing. The men then switches place from the old man to Hamlet, Alexander Fodor lying down. This may foreshadow Hamlet’s death in the book.

1 comment:

Son N6 said...

I chose this assignment specifically because it is one of the latest great work I've done for this class. It is also what got me into Hamlet much deeper. Hamlet's soliloquy, the quote that I've heard since I was a child, "To be, or not to be..." gives me nostalgic feelings. I never knew where this quote came from before I came into high school but I've heard it countless times. So to finally hear the whole solilquy out from Hamlet was definitely a treat that I enjoyed. Within this quote, the allusions and imagery gave me many meanings towards life that I believe will stick with me until the end of my life.