Which scenes would you cut from Hamlet, and why?

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Which scenes would you cut from Hamlet, and why?

Category: Research Paper

Subcategory: Classic English Literature

Level: College

Pages: 3

Words: 825

Which scenes would you cut from Hamlet, and why?
What can we say about Hamlet that has not being said before? Almost nothing and we do not consider ourselves worthy of even commenting on such an incredible play. What we can say for sure is that its tragic tones still serve as a referent for the modern theater. The play has approximately 4,000 lines, and since the story is tightly knit, it is hard to choose parts to cull, as it has to be done carefully in order to the play keep its original meaning. In the same way, it will depend on which format we are planning on presenting the play, if it will be presented at a theater, we might keep closer to the original. On the other hand, if the cuts would have to be done for a movie, we would have to cull it severely, so it fits the timeframe.
In the same way, the cuts do not always obey to theatrical reasons. Sometimes, cuts in a play obey to reasons regarding the stage capacity, or your budget. In the essay, we will choose our cuts based on the play only, as we consider it an interesting exercise that will surely help us understanding the play. We decided to read the play a couple of times, highlighting the elements we could cut, and after thinking carefully, these are the parts we would cut. We intended to keep it short, as not to alter the meaning of the play, or hinder any part of the plot, we focused on trimming parts that would not necessarily add up to the plot, but instead, are there to show the human parts of the play, these parts are important in their own right, of course, but in our cut, we focused on the plot, excuse us beforehand if we are too severe, and cut some parts we should have not.
PARTS TO CUT
Act 1, Scene 1: Marcellus and Horatio references to the cock and the crow. We have decided to trim this part, as the references regarding the cock and the crow religious meanings have nothing to do the play. In this sense, the references are made to introduce a contrast on a divided Hamlet, but if we trim the the psychological nature of our protagonist will show on its own account.
Act 1, Scene 2: Claudius retort after Gertrude advices Hamlet on stop mourning his dead father. After asking Hamlet why he was still gloomy, Gertrude gives him a rather dull advice about how everybody dies. Then Claudius gives a soliloquy, on how every father has lost a father, and such. We consider this exchange can be shortened. We could have culled it, but it seems to develop Claudius character and helps explaining why he is afraid of Hamlet and his desire for the throne.
Act 2, Scene 2: Entrance of the theater company. Perhaps to the English audiences of the 1600, the references the actors make regarding the state of the theaters and the hardships many actors face, would have been valid. Nevertheless, to modern audiences these references might seem a little odd and out of place. For instance, to think of all-male actors’ companies, and the fact that no women could take part in the play, sounds odd to us.
Act 2 Scene 2: First Player’s Speech. We decided to cut this speech as well, as it might not suit modern sensibilities. It is rather long and it does not convey any meaning to the play itself. It is a small part, but there are not small parts in a play like Hamlet. In this case, viewers not aware of the mythological parallelisms in the story, might get lost in this part. That is why we decided to trim it.
Act 4, Scene Four: Hamlet’s Dialogue with the captain. We decided to trim this part since it shows us something we already know. The play has told us that Fortinbras is advancing to the kingdom. This way, the whole exchange with the captain seems a little unnecessary
Act 5, Scene 2: Hamlet’s Adventures at the Sea. In this scene, Hamlet offers Horatio an account of his adventures on the sea between England and Denmark. We prefer keeping the story to only a plot outline that would keep the play flowing and would eventually prepare to Osric’s entrance, a part that is also culled.
Act 5, Scene 2: Hamlet’s Dialogue with Osric. We decided to cut this part of the play as it is only there in order to show the interaction with Horatio. In the same way, Osric is just a courtier, whose role in the story can be bypassed. In our mind, he only serves to deliver the Laertes’ duel challenge. Osric is a character invented by Shakespeare to fit his needs, notwithstanding, he developed him so it would not only serve that purpose, but in a way so he became a kind of comic relief, not a mere factotum. That is why, we decided to cull that part to a bare minimum, only keeping the duel invitation, and perhaps one or two exchanges between hamlet and him to keep the play flowing.