I came across this the video the other day: https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=MrMoWcHyw9c
It is Jonathan Pryce, a very talented actor, playing the role of Hamlet. As you hear at the start of the video, the desire is to have Hamlet possessed (literally) by his father’s spirit. I think this is a truly interesting concept. Having the ghost physically present was a sure way to have a hit in c. 1601, and we are fairly certain that the Ghost was originally played by Shakespeare himself. But in a more existentialist/modern world dominated by Freudian inspired psychology, having the Ghost as an internal presence is a great choice. But making the leap to Jonathan Pyrce talking to himself, and with that terrible “scary voice” does not seem to work so well in my opinion. Watch the video and judge for yourself.
On the other hand, the scene between Gertrude and Hamlet becomes far more intensified if the Ghost possesses Hamlet.
In the end, the Ghost is one of Shakespeare’s greatest mysteries. Is he real? Is he good or evil? Does he curse Hamlet by burdening him? Why can Horatio et al. see him in Act I, scene i, but Gertrude cannot see him in Act III, scene iv? All these questions leaves Hamlet scholars with plenty to ponder – but in the end, we can sit back, forget about logic and indulge in a murder most foul – “as in the best it is.”
So what do you think of Pryce’s version? or of the Ghost in general? Leave comments below, or Tweet us at @ShakesInAction !
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