In Act 3 Scene 1 of Shakespeare’s Hamlet, Hamlet’s soliloquy portrays Hamlet realizing there is no reason in staying alive, and that there is actually more burden in the process of living than the eternal dreamlike state that death presents to its beholder. Among the three videos, Alexander Fodor’s interpretation of Hamlet is the best played. Fodor portrays Hamlet’s soliloquy with a shocked expression that his wide-open still eyes show. Imagery of King Hamlet’s death, the color and brightness of the setting, and the still paralyzed looking face of Fodor all play part in Hamlet’s enlightenment inspire the true meaning behind Hamlet’s soliloquy.
The film’s first setting with people shown is the setting of King Hamlet’s death and funeral. His body lays on a table all covered by a white blanket up to his chest. The setting consists of a serene still aqua blue light that overlay the actors while all settled on a white background. As Hamlet says “Or to take arms against a sea of troubles, And by opposing, end them,” (line 58) the scene changes from the face of Hamlet to the dull sky-blue colored faces of the attendees of King Hamlet’s funeral. The bright light of the background shines upon the cast as though in a dream. Hamlet contemplates that death is a state of an eternal dream that is rewarded after humans have gone through “this mortal coil” (line 66), or life’s burden. Life has many tragedies that people have to live through. For Hamlet, the loss of his father, the rejection of Hamlet’s love from Ophelia, and the seeming betrayal from all dear to him are his life’s cheerful hindrances. The cast at King Hamlet’s funeral show no lively emotion, as if they lived through life’s burdens of a “thousand natural shocks//That flesh is heir to ;”( line 61).
Death, a dream, and the continuation of life are things that have no end. Life is a long recording of one’s own life. King Hamlet’s life was cut short at the moment of his death, similar to how a tape runs out of In fact, the first image actually seen in this film is a tape recorder. The circular shapes of the tape recorder remind the reader of the never ending cycle of death, and also the eternal dream offered by death, freeing the soul from the body and also freeing the person from “calamity of so long life” (line 82). To Hamlet, life is the process of suffering through the “whips and scorns of time” (line 69). He sees no beauty that life has to offer because all physical treasures disappear from possession at the time of death.
Hamlet’s eyes are focused on and are highly noticed as he stares straight ahead as if mesmerized by his own enlightened idea of a meaningless life of suffering that leads to the eternal dream state from an ever so sweet demise. The camera focuses in on Hamlet’s eyes as he speaks about the “dread of something after death, //The undiscover’d country, from whose bourn//No traveler returns, puzzles the will,” (lines 77-79). Death is not a mystery to anyone, but what is after death is what no one can ever answer. The dark shiny depths of Hamlet’s circular eyes represent the infinite mystery of the afterlife. Hamlet’s face shows the emotion of shock. Many fear the mystery after death because the after life is an uncharted territory that “No traveler returns” (line 79) from. This fear “puzzles the will” (line 79) and makes many mortals afraid of death.
The death of King Hamlet closely relates the idea that death is the link between an everlasting afterlife that is also an everlasting dreamland. Death is the solution and the resolution to the sufferings experienced through life. Though, when life ends for the dear dead King Hamlet, the new ‘recording’ of an eternal sleep known as death starts. The eyes of Hamlet represent the fears humanity has against death and its infinite unknowns. The circular shape of eyes and the tape on the tape recorder symbolize the never ending cycle that is death. Death is feared because it’s forever, something not understood by human.