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Sample Scene Chart

Sample Transcription with Notes on Staging Observed while Watching the Video
Focus = Mel Gibson (with hints on when we can see what "Ophelia" cannot)

[This scene appears on pages 258 - 260 of Stanford 4/e.]

Dialog for Hamlet 3.1.88-141

Mel's Acting

Z's Directing

Hamlet:  Nymph, in thy orisons
    Be all my sins rememb'red.

Ophelia:                                 Good my lord,        90
    How does your honor for this many a day?

Hamlet:  I humbly thank you; well, well, well.

Ophelia:  My lord, I have remembrances of yours,
     That I have longed long to re-deliver.
     I pray you, now receive them.      (Offers tokens.)

Hamlet:                                       No, not I,          95
     I never gave you aught.

Ophelia:  My honor'd lord, you know right well you did,
     And with them words of so sweet breath compos'd
     As made these things more rich.  Their perfume lost,
     Take these again, [for to the noble mind           100
     Rich gifts wax poor when givers prove unkind.
     There, my lord.]                           (Gives tokens.)

Hamlet: Ha, ha!  Are you honest?

Ophelia:  My lord?

Hamlet:  Are you fair?                                          105

Ophelia:  What means your lordship?

Hamlet:  That if you be honest and fair, your honesty should admit no discourse to your beauty.

Ophelia:  Could beauty, my lord, have better commerce than with honesty?

Hamlet:  Ay, truly; for the power of beauty will sooner transform honesty from what it is to a bawd than   110
the force of honesty can translate beauty into his likeness.  [This was sometime a paradox, but now the time gives it proof.]  I did love you once.

Ophelia:  Indeed, my lord, you made me believe so.

Hamlet:  You should not have believed me [, for     115
virtue cannot so inoculate our old stock but we shall relish of it.]  I lov'd you not.

Ophelia:  I was the more deceiv'd.

Hamlet:  Get thee to a nunn'ry.  Why wouldst thou be a breeder of sinners?  [I am myself indifferent honest, but yet] I could accuse me of such things that it were better my mother had not borne me: [I am proud,             120
revengeful, ambitious, with more offenses at my beck  than I have thoughts to put them in, imagination to give them shape, or time to act them in.  What should such fellows as I do crawling between earth and heaven?]  We are arrant knaves, all; believe none of us.  Go thy ways to a nunn'ry.  Where's your father?                 125

Ophelia: At home, my lord.

Hamlet: Let the doors be shut upon him, that he may play the fool nowhere but in 's own house. [Farewell.]

[Ophelia: O, help him, you sweet heavens!]

Hamlet:  If thou dost marry, I'll give thee this         130
plague for thy dowry: be thou as chaste as ice, as pure as snow, thou shalt not escape calumny.  [Get thee to a nunn'ry, farewell.]  Or, if thou wilt needs marry, marry a fool, for wise men know well enough what monsters you make of them.  [To a nunn'ry, go, and quickly, too.  Farewell.]

[Ophelia: Heavenly powers, restore him!]              135

Hamlet:  I have heard of your paintings too, well enough.  God hath given you one face, and you make yourselves another.  You jig, and amble, and you lisp, you nickname God's creatures, and make your wantonness your ignorance.  Go to, I'll no more on 't; it hath made me mad.  I say, we will have no more marriage.  Those that are married already--all but   140
one--shall live.  The rest shall keep as they are.  To a nunn'ry go.                                                     (Exit.)

Mel approaches while scanning the rafters.  Hamlet knows he that there are eavesdroppers around, having seen from an alcove above that Claudius and Polonius have placed Ophelia in position to intercept him.

Why deny the gifts? Because he wants her to have them. (Mel conveys surprise and concern?)



Mel acts shocked but looks to the rafters again.



Gibson tries to convey the sexual innuendo of "the world's oldest business" with a snide tone of voice.



Soft; sincere.





Is he angry at his girl or at his mother?



He knows where Polonius is, but he isn't sure whose side Ophelia is on.

Mel winces (we see) and plays to the rafters, seeing Ophelia is on the side of murderous Claudius.

Does Hamlet believe his mother was sleeping with Claudius before the assassination, therefore cuckolding his father?

Mel grabs Helena's face to heighten his disrespect and sarcasm.

Mel shoves Helena into the wall.

Mel vaults up the stairs, shouting to the rafters, throwing back the chain (he still wants Ophelia to have it).


The gray hall where they meet has a cobblestone floor, indirect lighting from the wall Mel enters from and seems enclosed, not outdoors.


The camera switches back and forth at eye level as Mel and Helena trade short lines.


Camera shots alternate with the speakers or include both.











Lovers standing opposite each other.





Intermittently, the camera picks up the shadows of Polonius and Claudius, reminding us that Hamlet knows he is being observed so he can play "mad."

Helena puts the Bible or prayer book to her lips to cover her lie.

Mel struts toward the light source (now that he sees which side Ophelia is on?)



These are the lines they built the scaffolding for.

The more physical their break-up is, the more likely it is to contribute to Ophelia's later insanity.

Violins, a long downward shot (from Mel's last position), and Ophelia crouching to pick up the little chain as the gargoyle faces laugh above her head all make us feel her vulnerability.  The chain makes a feeble, hollow echoing sound as it splats on the cobblestones.

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