Michael Almereyda Hamlet Comparison Essay

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How do the plays of Shakespeare change when they are adapted for screen?

Michael Almereyda’s adaptation of William Shakespeare’s Hamlet transposes one of Shakespeare’s most notable tragedy in modern day Manhattan, setting the framework for a modern retelling of the story. The use of “ complex array of media technologies, genres and practices” introduces the over arching theme of entrapment and imprisonment in the capitalist society thatHamlet resides in, immersing the narrative in a world of brand names, video technology and cameras. As such, Michael Almereyda updates the play for modern society, the era of media technology and digital communication. Here, Denmark is a corporation, Hamlet a film student observing the world through his camera lenses and Claudius is not the new king but now the CEO of Denmark Corporations. Though
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In this essay, I will discuss how Almereyda shows Hamlet in a more scrutinising light, using Hamlet’s video diaries and his room as a means of bringing Hamlet’s character closer to the audience.

Other directors have previously have made choices to explore various other aspects on the original narrative of Shakespeare. In Franco Zeffrelli’s 1990 rendition it was Gertrude and Hamlet’s mother/son relationship and the family context that was the focus of the plot, the opening scene showing the film’s interpretive angle and the focus of the film. The added funeral establishes the family relationship and the emotional state of Gertrude, Claudius and Hamlet.
In Kenneth Branagh’s film it was the dynamics of the tragedies at Elsinore and the various dimensions of the narrative, ranging from the political and military elements of the plot to the familial aspects.
Almereyda’s film, on the other hand, focus primarily on Hamlet and it is this that differentiates the adaptation from earlier

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