The video that portrays the best interpretation of Hamlets soliloquy is the video under the direction of Laurence Olivier’s. Laurence best achieves the meaning of the soliloquy in the play through the use of sound, the tone of the actor and the background at which he chooses to set the moment in. Each of these provides the viewer with a better sense of what Shakespeare intended to do with Hamlet’s soliloquy. In Hamlet’s Soliloquy, Hamlet contemplates suicide and the director achieves this through this first video of the bog.
The video begins with a view of the ocean and its waves. This choice of scenery provides an in depth look at Hamlet’s mind. In the video Olivier portrays this by placing the actor in front of the ocean with his head turned back. Then the camera slowly approaches the back of Hamlets head symbolizing his stream of consciousness which is his soliloquy. Then the waves are featured as blurry and set right behind the image of the waves, Olivier chooses to place Hamlets forehead. As was mentioned in a previous scene of the play the waves symbolize Hamlets mind. Just like waves, hamlet’s mind moves in an up down motion. This motion reflects Hamlet’s personality and how it fluxuates depending on his state of mind. In the soliloquy Hamlet mentions the water by saying “…or by opposing arms against the sea of troubles, and by opposing, end them” (p.81 58-59). Finally the director took it upon his time to make the ocean and its waves a very important figure of Hamlets mind. Making the ocean the background for the soliloquy best portrays the state that Hamlet is in. It is almost as if the director is trying to pale the soliloquy as just another one of Hamlet’s motion of personality.
The music in the video also sets the mood of almost each line in Hamlet’s soliloquy. The music was fast, slow or suspenseful depending on which part of the soliloquy was acted. For example when the video first started out the music was very loud and had moments of high notes. Once Hamlet appeared the music became very eerie and almost provides a sense of fear. The music also provided the audience with mystery and suspense. The overall analysis of the Soliloquy is Hamlet’s contemplation of death as is stated in line 55when he says “To be, or not to be, that is the question”. In the whole passage Hamlet seems to be toying with the idea of suicide. Olivier puts this emotion in the video. This is done by first beginning the video with him overlooking the water, as if to show the chance of Hamlet jumping and purposely ending his life. Then the music becomes higher once again when Hamlet takes out his knife. As Hamlet is saying the lines “And by opposing, end them” the knife that he is holding is slowly approaching Hamlet’s body as if motioning the idea of killing himself. The music towards this scene is not only becoming louder and faster but it leaves the audience with the idea of will he or won’t he kill himself. In lines 59-64, the actor says in his mind portraying that the contemplation Hamlet has over ending his life. Finally the music at the end of the video provides the audience with a sense of sadness and desperation, as Hamlet slowly walks away from the edge of the cliff.
The tone that the actor chooses to portray the different parts is also equally important. The actors tone varies at almost every line of the soliloquy. At the moment when Hamlet takes out his knife his tone seems unsure. As the camera approaches Hamlet’s mind it seems as if the tone of the actor becomes weaker and also seems distant. After the camera pulls away from Hamlet’s face, his tone elevates to a scared and apprehensive one. This is done for effect to show that Hamlet is afraid to kill himself as he pulls the knife away and brings it toward his lower body. Overall the tone of Hamlet throughout the whole soliloquy in this video is calm until the moment when the knife is pulled out. The whole feel of the video as well as the actor’s tone has evolved.
In conclusion the video under Laurence Olivier’s direction portrays the best interpretation of Hamlet’s soliloquy in Act 3 Scene 1. The director and the actor focus on Hamlet’s emotions through the use of music, tone, and scenery. The first video is an absolute accurate portrayal of Hamlet’s soliloquy.