She was also the narrator of The Great War and Shaping of the 20th Century, the acclaimed eight hour mini-series. For the past six years she has been a visiting Associate Professor at U. At NJ Rep, Ms. Jens played the role of Sarah Bernhardt in their critically acclaimed production of Memoir.
Claudius hastily married King Hamlet's widow, GertrudeHamlet's mother, and took the throne for himself. Denmark has a long-standing feud with neighbouring Norway, in which King Hamlet slew King Fortinbras of Norway in a battle some years ago. Although Denmark defeated Norway, and the Norwegian throne fell to King Fortinbras's infirm brother, Denmark fears that an invasion led by the dead Norwegian king's son, Prince Fortinbrasis imminent.
On a cold night on the ramparts of Elsinorethe Danish royal castle, the sentries Bernardo and Marcellus discuss a ghost resembling the late King Hamlet which they have recently seen, and bring Prince Hamlet's friend Horatio as a witness. After the ghost appears again, the three vow to tell Prince Hamlet what they have witnessed.
As the court gathers the next day, while King Claudius and Queen Gertrude discuss affairs of state with their elderly adviser PoloniusHamlet looks on glumly. During the court, Claudius grants permission for Polonius's son Laertes to return to school in France, and sends envoys to inform the King of Norway about Fortinbras.
Claudius also scolds Hamlet for continuing to grieve over his father, and forbids him to return to his schooling in Wittenberg. After the court exits, Hamlet despairs of his father's death and his mother's hasty remarriage.
Learning of the ghost from Horatio, Hamlet resolves to see it himself. Horatio, Hamlet, and the ghost Artist: Henry Fuseli As Polonius's son Laertes prepares to depart for a visit to France, Polonius gives him contradictory advice that culminates in the ironic maxim "to thine own self be true.
That night on the rampart, the ghost appears to Hamlet, telling the prince that he was murdered by Claudius and demanding that Hamlet avenge him. Hamlet agrees and the ghost vanishes. The prince confides to Horatio and the sentries that from now on he plans to "put an antic disposition on", or act as though he has gone mad, and forces them to swear to keep his plans for revenge secret.
Privately, however, he remains uncertain of the ghost's reliability. Act II[ edit ] Soon thereafter, Ophelia rushes to her father, telling him that Hamlet arrived at her door the prior night half-undressed and behaving erratically.
Polonius blames love for Hamlet's madness and resolves to inform Claudius and Gertrude. As he enters to do so, the king and queen finish welcoming Rosencrantz and Guildensterntwo student acquaintances of Hamlet, to Elsinore. The royal couple has requested that the students investigate the cause of Hamlet's mood and behaviour.
Additional news requires that Polonius wait to be heard: The forces that Fortinbras had conscripted to march against Denmark will instead be sent against Poland, though they will pass through Danish territory to get there.
Polonius tells Claudius and Gertrude his theory regarding Hamlet's behaviour, and speaks to Hamlet in a hall of the castle to try to uncover more information.
Hamlet feigns madness but subtly insults Polonius all the while. When Rosencrantz and Guildenstern arrive, Hamlet greets his "friends" warmly, but quickly discerns that they are spies. Hamlet becomes bitter, admitting that he is upset at his situation but refusing to give the true reason why, instead commenting on " what a piece of work " humanity is.
Rosencrantz and Guildenstern tell Hamlet that they have brought along a troupe of actors that they met while traveling to Elsinore. Hamlet, after welcoming the actors and dismissing his friends-turned-spies, asks them to deliver a soliloquy about the death of King Priam and Queen Hecuba at the climax of the Trojan War.
Impressed by their delivery of the speech, he plots to stage The Murder of Gonzago, a play featuring a death in the style of his father's murder, and to determine the truth of the ghost's story, as well as Claudius's guilt or innocence, by studying Claudius's reaction.
Act III[ edit ] Polonius forces Ophelia to return Hamlet's love letters and tokens of affection to the prince while he and Claudius watch from afar to evaluate Hamlet's reaction.
Hamlet is walking alone in the hall as the King and Polonius await Ophelia's entrance, musing whether " to be or not to be ". When Ophelia enters and tries to return Hamlet's things, Hamlet accuses her of immodesty and cries "get thee to a nunnery", though it is unclear whether this, too, is a show of madness or genuine distress.
His reaction convinces Claudius that Hamlet is not mad for love. Shortly thereafter, the court assembles to watch the play Hamlet has commissioned. After seeing the Player King murdered by his rival pouring poison in his ear, Claudius abruptly rises and runs from the room: Hamlet mistakenly stabs Polonius Artist: Coke Smyth, 19th century.
Gertrude summons Hamlet to her room to demand an explanation. Meanwhile, Claudius talks to himself about the impossibility of repenting, since he still has possession of his ill-gotten goods: He sinks to his knees.LETTER I.
By your permission I lay before you, in a series of letters, the results of my researches upon beauty and art.
I am keenly sensible of the importance as well as of the charm and dignity of this undertaking.
Working on this play -- and this blog -- has been a life-changing experience for me. As I wrote in my post "Why direct 'Hamlet'?, I expected it to be "just another Shakespeare play," but it turned out to be my chance to swim with a masterpiece.
Salome Jens Salome Jens has appeared in lead roles on Broadway in Far Country, Night Life, The Disenchanted, Patriot For Me, A Lie of the Mind. Hamlet spends most of the play thinking and over-thinking. His success with the Mousetrap may even lure him into believing that plotting is a good way to get what he wants.
Well, he wouldn't be the only character in the play who believed that. Hamlet himself is the most consciously theatrical character and is the most affected by the forceful metatheatricality of the play.
Hamlet spends the entire play struggling between the ambiguities of the numerous connotations of the word “to act”; “to do something” and “to pretend or perform as an actor”.
Hamlet is arguably the greatest dramatic character ever created. From the moment we meet the crestfallen prince we are enraptured by his elegant intensity. Shrouded in his inky cloak, Hamlet is a man of radical contradictions -- he is reckless yet cautious, courteous yet uncivil, tender yet ferocious.