Quick Index Board Index Home FAQ Site Map
|GR: Acting clues in the text
Written by Jezkalyn
(6/13/2003 10:27 a.m.)
in consequence of the missive, GR: My "overheard dialog" theory, penned by Laraine
] The reading of the famous soliloquy scene as outlined also removes the problem of the violent shift in emotion that otherwise occurs in the subsequent dialogue with Ophelia. The text of the soliloquy blends into the dialogue with Ophelia without a line break or a stage direction separating them. And directors, critics, and actors quite often concede that this part of the scene contains references to the overheard nature of the dialogue. Hamlet here sends the direct threat to Claudius that he is dangerous, that he is focused on revenge, and even that he has his eye on the crown.
I would just like to add this on the side. Took a Master Class some years ago with touring RSC actors who opened my eyes to something I have found very useful over the years as an actor and a reader of Shakespeare: Pay attention to the text, the hints are there. Shakespeare was notoriously bad at giving stage direction short of exeunt or enter. Many directors and actors of Shakespeare think that he had a tendency to give little hints in the text. Breaks in the iambic pentameter are hints as to delivery and a change from verse to prose can indicate emotional changes. Fer instance:
Good my lord,
(O. finishes his sentance in a way. Be all my sins remembered/Good my lord make up one line in iambic pentameter.)
I humbly thank you; well, well, well.
My lord, I have remembrances of yours,
No, not I;
My honour'd lord, you know right well you did;
Ha, ha! are you honest?
Are you fair?
What means your lordship?
That if you be honest and fair, your honesty should
At this point he forces the conversation into prose, perhaps indicating a change in emotional content or intent. Prose is generally more familiar than verse. Dovetailing into Laraine's point that Hamlet knows he is being watched and works it for all he is worth.
Hamlet Group Read is maintained by Laraine with WebBBS 3.21.