History YMMV / Hamlet

12th Dec '17 1:18:28 AM JulianLapostat
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* EscapistCharacter: Amazingly for a tragedy, Hamlet proves to be this. The main reason is that Hamlet doesn't really have a TragicFlaw in the classical sense (the flaws that we now ascribe to him, indecision, over-introspection, oedipal hang-ups are modern). He's incredibly intelligent, has Ophelia deeply in love with him, has Horatio's support, incredibly witty, able to belt out long soliloquies while chatting up and bantering with his pals and the plebes (the theater company), he's devoted to his father and family, and is more or less an {{Ubermensch}} aristocratic Prince who dislikes war and fighting, but is quite charismatic and good with a sword. Throwaway comments even imply that he's popular among the people. Until the part in the end, where he and the rest of the cast die, Hamlet more or less comes up on top and wins every contest and situation he is in.
11th Dec '17 1:45:46 PM JulianLapostat
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* CounterpartComparison: Hamlet often reminds modern audiences of ''Franchise/{{Batman}}''. He's a spoiled rich kid burdened with a mission to avenge his father's death, he is extremely moody and introspective, incredibly well-educated even among the aristocrats and known for travelling around the world, and is also aces as a swordsman and fighter, and who worries friends, audiences, and others about his sanity. Batman's speech about why he wears a costume, "criminals are a superstitious cowardly lot" is not far from why Hamlet decides to stage the play within the play, which is analogous to Batman's embrace of theatrical tricks and gestures (as taught to him in ''Film/BatmanBegins'':

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* CounterpartComparison: Hamlet often reminds modern audiences of ''Franchise/{{Batman}}''. He's a spoiled rich kid burdened with a mission to avenge his father's death, he is extremely moody and introspective, incredibly well-educated even among the aristocrats and known for travelling around the world, and is also aces as a swordsman and fighter, and who worries friends, audiences, and others about his sanity. Batman's speech about why he wears a costume, "criminals are a superstitious cowardly lot" is not far from why Hamlet decides to stage the play within the play, which is analogous to Batman's embrace of theatrical tricks and gestures (as taught to him in ''Film/BatmanBegins'':''Film/BatmanBegins''):
11th Dec '17 1:44:48 PM JulianLapostat
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Added DiffLines:

* CounterpartComparison: Hamlet often reminds modern audiences of ''Franchise/{{Batman}}''. He's a spoiled rich kid burdened with a mission to avenge his father's death, he is extremely moody and introspective, incredibly well-educated even among the aristocrats and known for travelling around the world, and is also aces as a swordsman and fighter, and who worries friends, audiences, and others about his sanity. Batman's speech about why he wears a costume, "criminals are a superstitious cowardly lot" is not far from why Hamlet decides to stage the play within the play, which is analogous to Batman's embrace of theatrical tricks and gestures (as taught to him in ''Film/BatmanBegins'':
--> "...Hum, I have heard\\
That guilty creatures sitting at a play\\
Have, by the very cunning of the scene,\\
Been struck so to the soul that presently\\
They have proclaimed their malefactions.\\
For murder, though it have no tongue, will speak\\
With most miraculous organ..."
11th Dec '17 1:45:34 AM JulianLapostat
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* {{Padding}}: It ''is'' Shakespeare's longest play, and Hamlet has more lines than any other Shakespeare character, with his runner-up John Falstaff needing ''three whole plays'' [[CantCatchUp to even come second]]. The real problem for critics, audiences, theatre directors and actors, is how much this padding is a defect of the play, or the poor nature of the texts handed down to us, and how much it is an IntendedAudienceReaction. The basic plot, Hamlet gaining revenge on Claudius because YouKilledMyFather could ideally have been wrapped up [[WhyDontYouJustShootHim at most by Act 3]], but Hamlet keeps delaying the deed for reasons that are either because he has some serious philosophical qualms or because Shakespeare knows that if he did that the play would just end early and he needed to keep butts in the seat. Some of the plots and subplots (Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, Ophelia's suicide, Laertes' making a comeback and starting a rebellion and being acclaimed king by the populace, the Gravedigger) don't really have anything to do with the situation of the Old King's death and usurpation.
9th Dec '17 1:47:08 AM JulianLapostat
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* AlternativeCharacterInterpretation: The debates have been raging unabated for 400 years.

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* AlternativeCharacterInterpretation: The debates have been raging unabated for 400 years. years:



* DesignatedHero: After learning from the ghost of his father that his father was murdered by Claudius, Hamlet spends the next Act or so mocking and taunting Polonius, Rosencrantz, and Guildenstern, while also verbally abusing and SlutShaming Ophelia. What do all 4 of these characters have in common? All 4 of them had absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with the murder of Hamlet's father. When Hamlet finally does something, he murders Polonius because he heard a voice behind some curtains and jumps to the conclusion that it must be Claudius. He then hides the body and jokes that everybody'll smell him soon enough. This murder drives Ophelia to insanity and her death (she may even have been DrivenToSuicide). Hamlet then deliberately brings about the deaths of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern [[DesignatedVillain despite little to no evidence that they actually did anything wrong.]] He finally gets around to the one person he was supposed to be killing, Claudius, only after the latter has poisoned Gertrude and gotten Laertes to poison Hamlet who then gets accidentally poisoned by Hamlet. So it could be argued that every death that occurs from the start of the play onward is all Hamlet's fault.

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* DesignatedHero: After learning from the ghost of his father that his father was murdered by Claudius, Hamlet spends the next Act or so mocking and taunting Polonius, Rosencrantz, and Guildenstern, while also verbally abusing and SlutShaming Ophelia. What do all 4 of these characters have in common? All 4 of them had absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with the murder of Hamlet's father. When Hamlet finally does something, he murders Polonius because he heard a voice behind some curtains and jumps to the conclusion that it must be Claudius. He then hides the body and jokes that everybody'll smell him soon enough. This murder leads Laertes to mount a popular rebellion against Claudius, and righteously demand vengeance for his father's death, a.k.a. the very crime [[HeWhoFightsMonsters which Hamlet wants to avenge]] but has now in turn committed. This murder drives Ophelia to insanity and her death (she may even have been DrivenToSuicide). Hamlet then deliberately brings about the deaths of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern [[DesignatedVillain despite little to no evidence that they actually did anything wrong.]] He finally gets around to the one person he was supposed to be killing, Claudius, only after the latter has poisoned Gertrude and gotten Laertes to poison Hamlet who then gets accidentally poisoned by Hamlet. So it could be argued that every death that occurs from the start of the play onward is all Hamlet's fault. The final exchanges between Horatio and Fortinbras about how Hamlet would have made a good king is a major InformedAttribute because it's pretty obvious that a guy as self-absorbed and irresponsible as Hamlet would have made a terrible king.



* DracoInLeatherPants: Hamlet is often idealized by many fans, and even scholars, because they project themselves onto him. Thus, his negative qualities are often downplayed or just ignored altogether.

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* DracoInLeatherPants: Hamlet is often idealized by many fans, and even scholars, because they project themselves onto him. Mostly because he's a character who is an intellectual and waxes eloquent philosophical views about existence and death, making him appealing to scholars and intellectuals. Thus, his negative qualities are often downplayed or just ignored altogether.-- his misogyny, his snobbism[[note]]"The age is grown so picked that the toe of the peasant comes so near the heel of the courtier" (ACT V, SCENE 1, "the Gravedigger scene")[[/note]], and his hypocritical idea of violence, i.e. he hates war, but dismisses the crime of killing Polonius -- makes him out to be very bad news indeed.



** Ophelia is this for artists, judging by the number of painting depicting her compare to any other characters except for Hamlet himself despite the fact that her role in the plot is much smaller than Claudius or even Gertrude.

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** Ophelia is this for artists, judging by the number of painting depicting her compare to any other characters except for Hamlet himself despite the fact that her role in the plot is much smaller than Claudius or even Gertrude. She is more or less the emotional heart of the play, being that her death and funeral scene between Laertes, Gertrude, and Hamlet is one of the few openly emotional moments in an otherwise quite intellectual play.



** The sheer number of lines in the play that have become established expressions in English can make it seem like all Shakespeare has done is just string a bunch of clichés together.
** Most people have heard ''Hamlet'' praised as "the crowning achievement of Elizabethan drama" so often that it's easy to forget just how revolutionary its approach to drama was in its day. In the late 16th century, it was a pretty big deal for a play to consciously slide that far to the "Character" side of the SlidingScaleOfPlotVersusCharacters, and it required breaking the rules of drama set up by Creator/{{Aristotle}}'s ''Literature/{{Poetics}}'' nearly two millennia earlier. Today, we tend to take it for granted that plays are even ''allowed'' to spend this much time psychologically examining their characters, and that characters ''can'' be analyzed as much as we've analyzed Hamlet.

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** The sheer number of lines in the play that have become established expressions in English can make it seem like all Shakespeare has done is just string a bunch of clichés together.
together. Indeed, the overexposure of this play has often made it difficult, in the views of dramatists, to properly stage it, since the Hamlet of the text is not the same as the Hamlet that the audience wants.
** Most people have heard ''Hamlet'' praised as "the crowning achievement of Elizabethan drama" so often that it's easy to forget just how revolutionary its approach to drama was in its day. In the late 16th century, that it was a pretty big deal for a once seen, especially in the 18th century as an avant-garde play. While popular among the public, critics didn't like the play for its violation of Creator/{{Aristotle}}'s ''Literature/{{Poetics}}'', and the fact that the play very self-consciously delays its obvious conclusion (Hamlet killing Claudius) for reasons entirely due to the hero's character. Later generations saw Hamlet as a groundbreaking play for consciously slide sliding that far to the "Character" side of the SlidingScaleOfPlotVersusCharacters, which led to so many more radical tweaks and it required breaking the rules of drama set up by Creator/{{Aristotle}}'s ''Literature/{{Poetics}}'' nearly two millennia earlier. Today, we tend to take it for granted changes, that plays are even ''allowed'' to spend this much time psychologically examining their characters, today, Hamlet is proverbial for its baroque revenge plot and that characters ''can'' be analyzed as much as we've analyzed Hamlet.machinations, when in fact it's a highly character-driven work.



* ValuesDissonance: Claudius and Gertrude's relationship is a minor example--most modern viewers probably don't consider marrying your brother-in-law to be incest. At the time the play was written, however, it was viewed on the same level as marrying your biological brother, hence Hamlet continually calling the marriage incestuous.
22nd Apr '17 12:29:08 PM Springheeled_Jack
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** Laertes mentions how we feed the masses like a pelican with his blood. At the time pelicans were though to feed their young with their own blood. One wonders if they'd ever actually seen a pelican.

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** Laertes mentions how we feed the masses like a pelican with his blood. At the time pelicans were though thought to feed their young with their own blood. One wonders if they'd ever actually seen a pelican.
22nd Apr '17 12:28:32 PM Springheeled_Jack
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* ScienceMarchesOn: Multiple examples given how old the play is.
** Laertes mentions how we feed the masses like a pelican with his blood. At the time pelicans were though to feed their young with their own blood. One wonders if they'd ever actually seen a pelican.
** A chameleon is mentioned for its diet of nothing but air. Yes they really thought that.
25th Feb '17 12:27:10 PM Anddrix
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* HellIsThatNoise: The Cameri Theatre production (in Tel-Aviv) ended with the sound of ominous playing trumpets growing louder and louder, winding up deafeningly loud.
22nd Feb '17 5:52:27 AM DoktorvonEurotrash
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* NightmareFuel: In the Branagh version, the courtier Osric (who has until then been a prissy ComicRelief character) [[DrivenToSuicide stabs himself]] in the final scene before announcing that Fortinbras has taken the kingdom, and we see a pretty graphic close-up of his bloodied hand from holding the wound shut. In fact, the whole of Fortinbras' entry into the palace is played more as the chilling arrival of a military dictator and less as the restoration of order that critics have often considered it to be.
7th Feb '17 7:55:36 PM ImperialMajestyXO
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*** While there's no doubt whatsoever that he's a villain (he ''admits'' in prayer to murdering his own brother), some think that he still was a pretty good ruler, and that Hamlet's revenge on him just made things worse for Denmark.

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*** While there's no doubt whatsoever that he's a villain (he ''admits'' in prayer to murdering his own brother), some think that he still was a pretty good ruler, and that Hamlet's revenge on him [[NiceJobBreakingItHero just made things worse for Denmark.Denmark]].
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