CR Episode 197: Hamlet, Act V

Hamlet (1996), starring Kenneth Branagh, Derek Jacobi, and Julie Christie
Hamlet (1996), starring Kenneth Branagh, Derek Jacobi, and Julie Christie

Download Link: Released on 16 October 2023

The panel discusses the two scenes of the final act of Hamlet, with attention to the text’s focus on death, the mirroring of Hamlet with Fortinbras and Laertes, Horatio’s constant companionship, Ophelia’s burial, and the ultimate defeat of Claudius.

One comment

  1. I cannot resist asking about Klingon Hamlet. In the movie “The Undiscovered Country”, The Klingon Chancellor Gorkon makes a toast to “The Undiscovered Country – the future”. Spock immediately recognizes this as “Hamlet, Act 3, Scene 1”. Gorkon then replies “You have not experienced Shakespeare until you have read him in the original Klingon.” General Chang quotes “To be or not to be” in Klingon, and all the Klingon’s laugh.

    Klingon Hamlet was published in 2000, and you can see a very serious rendition of “tah pagh taHbe’ ” on YouTube.

    However, I cannot see Hamlet as a hero to Klingons. He is indecisive, he never has a clear plan for revenge, and he barely manages to kill Claudius before dying himself. In addition, he dishonors his father’s memory by handing over Denmark to his enemy. The final scene of Kenneth Branagh’s Hamlet shows Norwegian soldiers toppling a statue of King Hamlet and crushing the head.

    Alternatively, Hamlet might work as a Klingon comedy. Hamlet could be a hilarious example of everything a Klingon hero should not be.

    Is this another example of Shakespeare’s brilliance by having his plays resonate with different people (or species) in different ways? For example, I find the “comedy” the Merchant of Venice quite tragic and sad.

    Speculate, please!

    O< O< O<


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