In order to reduce the length of Shakespeare's Hamlet, what scenes could be cut and what themes or issues might be affected in the play?

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Much of the power of Shakespeare's plays derives, perhaps paradoxically, from their extended length, from the elaborate way his characters speak, and even from the incidental scenes that have no specific bearing on the plot. It's nevertheless usually necessary to make cuts in Hamlet, as most filmmakers have done (apart from Branagh, in his 1996 version). In Laurence Olivier's 1948 film, the play is sharply cut, and the dialogue is altered at points to make it more understandable. I believe that Hamlet, as most Shakespeare lovers would probably agree, should be performed with as few changes as possible. But if necessary, I would suggest the following:

1) In act 1, scene 5, the speech of the Ghost might be more effective if shortened.

2) The exchanges between Hamlet, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are very extended as Shakespeare wrote them and could be shortened without harm to the plot or the effectiveness of the drama.

3) In act 5, scene 1, the dialogue between Hamlet and the Gravedigger has little...

(The entire section contains 2 answers and 726 words.)

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