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Tear Jerker: Hamlet

  • The ending of Hamlet.
    Hamlet: The rest is silence.
  • This troper recently saw a version that incorporated American Sign Language into the production. It worked amazingly well, surprisingly. As Hamlet is dying, he speaks most of the above line in a voice so faltering that it was almost inaudible, then, apparently unable to speak another word, signs "silence" and dies. Since the sign for "silence" is a sweeping gesture with both hands from the mouth away, it felt like a visual representation of his soul leaving his body. This troper always cries at the end of Hamlet, and this production had her in absolute floods of tears.
  • Hamlet's opening monolouge, especially the last line - "break, my heart, for I must hold my tongue"
  • The real context of the "what a piece of work is man" line - What Hamlet's really saying is that he's so depressed, no matter how lovely the world is, he cannot appreciate it.
  • The particular version I saw played Hamlet as The Stoic around all others; even the scene with Gertrude was done in an almost blank, totally unnerving near-monotone. Then when Horatio goes for the goblet, Hamlet gets hold of it and says "As thou'rt a man, give me the cup." Horatio does not. Hamlet's control wavers as he demands "Let go!" and yet Horatio fights for the poisoned chalice. The next sentence is startlingly anguished, so much so that Horatio releases the cup on reflex and Hamlet flings it away, proceeding to give his last sets of lines with an overwhelming emotion that seems to have been bottled up throughout the entire play. It could easily have gone over-the-top, but somehow it worked.
  • The scene when Insane!Ophelia comes wandering onstage, right as the newly-returned Laertes is flipping out at Claudius about his father Polonius' death. So his father's been murdered, and now his sister has lost it. A couple scenes later, he learns that she's drowned.
    • Seconded. The Ophelia in the production I saw had a heartbreakingly plaintive voice—and there was an extra dimension added to the scene by the fact that the guy who played Laertes was really her brother.
    • This Troper saw a production where they played Ophelia's death for absolutely deadly irony by having her drown on stage as a Meaningful Background Event to Claudius and Laertes discussing how to blame Hamlet for Polonius' death. All the two men have to do is look up from their self-righteous plotting, and they'd have been able to rescue her. They don't.
    • In the Kenneth Branagh version, if your heart hasn't already been broken after Ophelia's finished singing her little song, it's going to shatter when you see her calmly get up and walk back into her padded cell and just stand there, staring at the wall.
  • This troper's (different troper) favorite Hamlet played the title character as highly emotional, almost Hot-Blooded, and Horatio as, essentially, his Morality Chain about one step away from Cooldown Hugs. So watching Horatio completely lose it at Hamlet's death and desperately try to drink from the goblet was heartwrenching.
  • The 2008 RSC version is even worse about this— rather than an epic, tragic moment, the end is filmed very intimately between Hamlet and Horatio. After Hamlet's death, Horatio, in tears, delivers his famous line, kisses him on the forehead, and gently rocks his body. And that's where they end it.
    • Also in that version, the mad Ophelia just looks so pathetic, all bloody and dirty, in only a slip, dwarfed by armfuls of plants- and then you realize she isn't even holding the herbs she's talking about. Not only is she insane enough to be handing out herbs, she's insane enough to pretend that random bulrushes are different herbs.
  • In one version this troper saw, they had Ophelia in her insane scene sing and had a duet between her and Hamlet (it took place in her head) then the two of them finished the song in the soliloquy light before Hamlet steps out of it to the line "I'll follow you into the dark"
  • The closet scene with Gertrude, especially when Hamlet presents her with the pictures of his dead father and his uncle and shouts at her for breaking her vows to his father.
  • Depending on your interpretation of Hamlet's character, the famed "Alas, poor Yorick" speech can be greatly moving. If you subscribe to the belief that Hamlet, in his heart of hearts, never truly wanted to kill for his father, then this scene shows the artistic, intelligent Hamlet shining through. His father wasn't necessarily close to him, we learn he wasn't event there at his birth, and Hamlet has done quite a bit to avoid committing revenge for his father. Right before the end, we get this glimpse into his mind, where he sees the skull of a man who truly was close to him, that treated him like a son, and who quite importantly never came back to haunt him with demands. The play riddled with deception, this moment can be seen as one last look at the true Hamlet before he goes through with revenge against his better judgment. When performed with that honesty and raw pain, this speech never fails to bring this troper to tears.
  • Another interpretation-based tearjerker moment: If it is true that Hamlet purposefully pushes Ophelia away to protect her from the madness he intends to create, then one can only imagine the hell he puts himself through when he rages against her.
    • Taken further after when she commits suicide, and he realizes he has failed. The resulting anger against Laertes, as well as his attitude throughout the remainder of the play, shows just how important Ophelia was to him.
    • Fridge Brilliance: In Shakespeare's time, as well as in many other modern religions, suicide resulted in a seat in Hell. So did Murder. Perhaps Ophelia's suicide was all Hamlet needed to finally go through with his revenge, as it would allow him to be with his beloved despite the fact that the two would end up in Hell.
    • Let's not forget that Ophelia is the one character in the play who is 100% innocent, yet she is manipulated by Claudius and her own father, shoved away and persecuted by her supposed beloved, and abandoned by her brother (though not by his own intentions), not to mention having her father murdered by her beloved, all in the midst of an impending attack by the nation's enemy. For all her resolve, she eventually cracks. Her final scene is a complete heartbreaker, seeing her regress to an innocent, child-like demeanor rather than turn into a manipulative jerk or blind-rage asshole (or both,in Hamlet's case), like most other characters in the play aside from Horatio and Fortinbras, and maybe Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, depending on whether or not you believe in Tom Stoppard's follow-up play (there is some speculation that even Gertrude is manipulating emotions, though it is probably more out of guilt than greed).

WickedTearJerker/TheaterHenry IV Part 1

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