While Olivier plays Hamlet as a man who cannot make up his mind, how does Mel Gibson play Hamlet?How does this affect the scenes between Hamlet and Gertrude? Be specific and describe one scene.

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lmetcalf eNotes educator| Certified Educator

For me, one of the most striking things about Gibson's portrayal of Hamlet is how angry this Hamlet is.  In the end of the ghost scene, Olivier is left nearly paralzyed -- actually laying out on the ground and it takes several lines of speech before he even gets up to his knees, much less stand.  On the contrary, Gibson, while shocked at all he has heard, is up and about pretty quickly and in one of my favorite details of the movie is peering over the edge of the castle, into the scene of revelry below.  He is so angry with Claudius that he starts swinging his sword and scratching into the stone with so much force that there are sparks flying, all while using a most surly tone of voice to utter the lines, " O most pernicious woman! / O villian, villian, smiling, damned villian! . . . Meet it is I set it down / That one may smile, and smile, and be a villian."  I am right with Gibson -- he has so much anger and energy that it seems sure that he will take care of this right here and now.  But we know that doesn't happen.

The anger and disgust over his mother's behavior is most clearly shown in the closet scene, Act 3 scene 4.  This protrayal of their relationship takes the closeness of their relationship to an extreme.  The action and passion seem very sexual -- to the point that Gertrude even shuts him up by kissing him.  His anger gives way to empassioned pleading for her to give up her relationship with Claudius.  The tension of the scene is very much in keeping with the angry Hamlet we see in other places in the film.

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