Transformations are as revealing to the original text as they are to the new, taking ideas, values and meaning from their own context and each resonating with the other for deeper meaning. The transformation between Shakespeare’s orignial play Hamlet a the modern day film version, directed by Michael Almereyda as well as Kenneth Branagh’s interpretation both provide rich insights into the values that relfect the time in which each was written causing the director to portray Hamlet’s main ideas in a way that allows the viewers to get a better understanding of the way in which the original was written.
Shakespeare’s Hamlet relfects values and beliefs of the 16th century Elizabethan England, an era characterised by its rigid adherence to structure and is based upon the ordered stations of life which governs their chain of being. The theatre was a means of exploration of the current ills of society. “What a piece of work is man… What is this quintessence of dust? Man delights not me.” Act II. Scene II. While the two adaptations being analysed was the late 20th century and even made in the 21st century. With this knowledge making a Shakespeare film assessible to its new age viewers as well as keep Hamlet’s textual integrity is a difficult task. Each director has brought a new interpretation of the play Hamlet drawing on different themes or ideas, in all creating a different feel but still representing Shakespeare’s Hamlet.
Almereyda seems to understand that Shakespeare and his works are a cultural icon and of the play’s history of criticism yet still seems to create an entirely new film version. Therefore, he chooses to acknowledge the achievements of his predecessors and does not only refer to Shakespeare’s original Hamlet on stage and screen but also uses a variety of other cultural influences from ancient sculpture and classical painting to popular cinema and high technology. Almereyda seems to attempt to update the play for modern times and take an indivdual...