Hamlet (1996 Film)

Whether Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Deserve Sympathy: Hamlet and Its Film Adaptations 12th Grade

To some extent, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are two figures who are manipulated unfairly by both Claudius in the scheming, and Hamlet in his tricks, and one can therefore see them sympathetically as victims to more powerful people; nonetheless, the way in which they duplicitously spy on Hamlet and lie to him makes them unsympathetic as friends, and rather villainous sycophants in the court. These two men are victims in the way that they are employed by Claudius, and manipulated to spy on Hamlet, as film adaptations from Kenneth Branagh and David Tennant make clear.

Claudius’ command “gather so much as from occasion you may glean” epitomises the way in which he draws them into his scheming and deceitful plans: one could therefore see Claudius as the source of corruption and evil in the play, and Rosencrantz and Guildenstern as mere victims of his dishonesty. Indeed, Gertrude has to correct Claudius in “gentle Rosencrantz” when he calls them by the wrong names. In the David Tennant production and the Branagh production, Claudius obviously misnames them, and this decision is taken in order to paint the two men as tools with which Claudius can spy, rather than being of personal interest in Claudius himself. This description of...

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