English 11 Forum

To Be or Not To Be

Please respond here with your choice for the best version of the soliloquy. You must include specific reasons (reasons that show analysis) for your choice, and you must make specific mention of at least three of the choices. Your response should be a minimum of three paragraphs.

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  • I believe the Tennent one was the best version, for many reasons. It was a very simple and to the point. Vs the Hawke and Olivier one where there was a lot of other things going on. In the Hawke one it was in a movie store. It flashed to the tv's a lot and I get that it was trying to show images for his words. I still thought it was distracting and beside the point. The point is to interpret the words how you see them not have images cast up to help show those words. Then in the Olivier one he fiddled with his knife a lot. The actor was also very dramatic and rolled around a lot. In the Gibson one though it was directly focused on his face and his emotions. I thought that having it on him the whole time made it better.

    In the Tennent video, it just felt very real and serious. There were no other shots of anything but him and it kept me focused. Also he annunciated his words not to slow but not to fast. Just slow enough to make the viewer think but fast enough where the viewer doesn't get bored and over think. In the Hawke one, due to the fact I knew that actor and how modern the scene was, it just seemed like a big joke. Also all the random images on the tv made it very non serious. Then with the Olivier video, its hard to take a black and white film seriously. For one the actor was being way overdramatic and it ruined the whole scene. Basically he was just saying the words and rolling around. While in the Tennent video the point was definitely there.

    Another point in the Tennent video it had the most realistic scene. It was set in a dark dreary shot and you got the feeling of sadness. Yet the castle was right behind him. In the Hawke video, it was shot in a movie store. The most unrealistic place to shoot Hamlet. Then in the Olivier video it was shot what looks to be on the top of rock. Out in the middle of nowhere. I don't see why he would be out there. Anyway with the seriousness, the location, and the to the point of the Tennant video it is the best soliloquy.
  • I feel that Kenneth Branagh seemed to to do the best. I feel that him toying around with the concept of suicide while holding what could kill him in his hand is very empowering. Though he was creepy, it still displayed how Hamlet did feel. Hamlet always has this creepy eerie personality that usually scared people. His personality is what Claudius and Hamlet's mother were worried about. The creepiness also kept me interested. The other ones bored me, and were too monotone. They didn't stand out as much.

    The fact that he was not only being watched by other people, but by himself seemed to be appropriate. He was watching as he holding the knife by his face. It gave a sense of anger and hatred towards himself. He didn't move around as much, which gave a sense of focus and a more direct connection with the audience.

    Its weird to think that the exact same lines in a play can be taken and translated into completely different topics and acts. I did like David Tennant's, because the camera angles and things like that were spot on. They gave a sense of seriousness and intensity. The other ones lacked people spying on him. Branagh's was the only one who actually had people spying and watching him. They also added to the seriousness of the act by hesitating like Hamlet does all throughout the play.
  • The best 'To Be or Not To Be' speech from my perspective, would have to be Olivier's. First reason being, he has two ways of ending his own life right there while giving the speech. He could either cut himself or jump off the cliff into the water below. Olivier gives the speech with such ease. He doesn't look scared, just calm. It is almost like death has already overcame him and he is just a corpse giving this speech. Olivier also gives his speech with his eyes closed most of the time, which shows how much in depth he is thinking about death.

    The second best one would have to be Tennant. Tennant's is laid-back. He is almost convinced that death is the best option for his problems. Tennant also has his eyes closed, which shows he is really thinking in depth of how death would really be. Again, Tennant almost looks like he is dead while giving his speech. He is pale, eyes are closed, and it looks as if he is barely alive. I don't think this is the best soliloquy because he doesn't have means of killing himself right then and there. He just gives his soliloquy to show his thinking of suicide.

    The absolute worst one is Hawke's version. Hawke wasn't talking out loud, which to me a soliloquy is someone giving a verbal speech. He reminds me of some deadbeat looking around for some movie to watch while he smokes his week and drinks his alcohol. When he starts to make facial expressions while giving the soliloquy, it shows he doesn't honestly care about this – mocking it. I agree with Macie. The modern twist on this is awful.
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