Quick Index Board Index Home FAQ Site Map
|GR: Judi Dench & Derek Jacobi...
Written by Kristen G.
(5/29/2003 12:40 a.m.)
Derek Jacobi on Claudius:
"Claudius is the arch-politician, a smiling, plausible villain. I think that he is much younger than his brother - hence Gertrude's interest in him. Perhaps he is not much older than Hamlet - a factor which sharpens the sense of rivalry between them. The only description we have of him is given by Hamlet - a far from unbiased observer - but there's no doubt that he has great charm. Everybody seems to like him and so for most of the play, until the Players' scene, the audience should be in two minds whether to believe Hamlet or not.
"Claudius is a ruthless achiever, and he assumes that he has escaped scot free with the murder until Hamlet as good as accuses him during the Players' scene. He is astounded that Hamlet has somehow found out the truth and then he is seized with panic that he might be discovered. In terror he goes to pray, seeking forgiveness, but there's no sign of any regret: he is genuinely scared for his soul.
"Oddly enough, for all the times I've worked on Hamlet as actor or director, I have never seen myself as Claudius.....He's often played as a physically large, almost Falstaffian figure but I prefer to see him as a suave diplomat, even something of a playboy, who genuinely loves Gertrude and who wants everybody to have a good time."
Judi Dench on Gertrude:
"Hamlet has never been a problem to Gertrude, but since the death of the old King and her marriage to Claudius, Hamlet has been moping around in black for months. In that first scene, she finally looses patience with him and there is a terrible anger against him and his behaviour.
"I don't think she married in haste. She's quite a weak person and she badly needs somebody to support her. She's also quite selfish - a little naive, perhaps, and she very much acts on impulse. The love she feels for Claudius is genuine and very physical. She has been drawn to marry him without fully thinking through the implications for Hamlet. His father has obviously adored her but in a very cerebral way and so this is the first time in her married life that she's been having fun - Claudius has been splashing out on new dresses for her and there has been much carousing. I don't think she has any idea of what Claudius has done to gain her and the crown, nor do I believe there has been any collusion between them. If she were guilty, she might have had a few more lines."
Hamlet Group Read is maintained by Laraine with WebBBS 3.21.