“Look here upon this picture and on this . . .” Hamlet, 3:4.
When you read Hamlet do you see the title character as a noble philosopher or as a clueless college student? Are Romeo and Juliet elevated figures of romance or victims of their own hormones? Is Richard III a fascist? Is Twelfth Night a simple comedy about mistaken identity or a complex meditation on gender? Every filmmaker who approaches a Shakespearean play interprets the text differently - and film provides a wide range of strategies and techniques to express that specific vision. This course looks at some of the ways that film versions of Shakespeare’s work have approached the task of uncovering different levels of meaning within the plays. Beginning with a careful reading of Hamlet, Twelfth Night, Richard III and Romeo and Juliet, we’ll go on to consider how adaptation to film can add nuance, depth, and significance to the original texts.