The aspects of Hamlet’s character that Mel Gibson “played up”, in the movie production in which Gibson was acting in, were the characteristics of Hamlet’s strong affections for his mother, Gertrude, along with his subsequent hatred and deep resentment of his step-father, Claudius.
Also, his fear and subservient reverence for the ghost of his late father, his scholarly, perceptive, sometimes introspective mind, and his charisma, to the extent of the Castle Ellsinore, for the people’s love for him is mentioned in a few instances, but there is not much advancement on this apparent love, or what Hamlet himself did to be awarded it, save a few laughs at jokes he makes.
Gibson plays the Hamlet afflicted with the oedipal complex quite blatantly. This passionate affection is displayed in many of the scenes between Hamlet and his mother, as they are very physical with each other, more so than in a normal mother-and-son relationship, with a lot of touching faces with their hands, and full-lip kissing. In the ‘pictures’ scene (III. 4) Hamlet becomes very indecently physical with his mother, almost as if he is raping her.
To Be Or Not To Be Mel Gibson
I personally felt that the oedipal aspect had been taken a bit too far at that point, but those actions did serve to illustrate that Hamlet may indeed have been confused in the context of sexuality, or it may have helped to emphasize the fact that Hamlet is indeed mad, if you chose to take that stance towards his character. This oedipal aspect of Hamlet’s character was probably derived from the text, by Gibson, the many references to Claudius and Gertrude in bed and the many sexual allusions he makes when he thinks or talks about them.
Why, she would hang on him as if increase of appetite had grown on what it fed on. O, most wicked speed, to post with such dexterity to incestuous sheets! At the same time that Hamlet is talking about his mother, he makes many hateful references to Claudius, and this aspect was much emphasized by Gibson throughout the movie, but a memorable moment was directly after the players had enacted the scene where the player king was killed in exactly the same way as Claudius had done to old Hamlet, and Claudius becomes frantic and starts calling for lights.
We see Hamlet running and jumping about, singing ecstatically and almost reveling in the fact that his uncle had given himself away by his actions. In other scenes, especially in ones where Hamlet is talking face to face with Claudius, he doesn’t make any effort to conceal his feelings about his uncle, as he is either sarcastic or seething through his teeth. I thought that these methods of expressing his anger, and also the outburst of happiness and delight in his uncle’s suffering were appropriate, as sarcasm would serve to emphasize not only his hatred, but also his wit and cunning with words.
Excellent, i’faith; of the chameleon’s dish. I eat the air, promise-crammed. You cannot feed capons so. In the act three, scene four, I felt that Hamlet’s outburst of happiness was appropriate, because his hatred for the uncle that had murdered his father had been so great that he became absolutely ecstatic when his uncle became subjected to torment of guilt, and this action was a kind of revenge. Hamlet’s monologue scenes are well done in the movie. The setting of an actual castle gives the audience a more realistic and cold, hard setting, and helps to emphasize the mood of his speeches.
For example, in the “To be or not to be” monologue, a suicidal and deathly mood or air was emphasized by Hamlet staring into the eye sockets of a skull, surrounded by more skulls and more symbols of death such as tombs and even the cold, dark, stone walls. Hamlet’s speech at the end of act three, scene three is also greatly emphasized by the dark and gloomy night, with the castle towering in the background. These scenes could, of course, be done just as well on stage, but the authentic setting of a real castle adds an extra layer of realism and atmosphere to Mel Gibson’s carrying of the monologue that would be hard to replicate on a stage.